China Sourcing: The Future of Communication Part Three
February 23, 2018
When we think of the future, there are some common ideas we all share – self-driving cars, telepathy, teleportation. These are the radical ideas that someday, someone will figure out and change the world as we know it today.
Looking back over the last 20 years, we never would have imagined the internet, or the smart phone, as we know it today. All of it would have seemed literally unbelievable. And this makes you wonder what the future holds. What will happen during the next 20 years that will change how we live our lives, that will change how we communicate?
For veteran importers, this has been a question that has dictated how they have run, improved, and adapted their sourcing program to an ever-changing-China. And some will argue that the only way to succeed in China is to continue to change all the time, change with the times, and even get ahead of the times. And changing is hard.
In this blog, we’ll be discussing the future of China sourcing and how it may bring change in the management of your China supply chain.
Lets be clear: we don’t know what the future will hold. We can see the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data, nano technologies etc. all of which will have a big impact on how we communicate in the future. And we also know that China is a quick adopter of new technologies, so changes may happen there even faster than here.
We believe the humble email will continue being a primary means of communication between importers and their suppliers for some time. However, with recent technological advances, we see that instant video communication will become more common as network connections and video quality increase, and costs decrease.
Importers will use different tools to communicate based on their needs and resources. Messaging tools like WeChat and Tencent’s QQ will continue to improve and add features, and video conferencing tools like Skype will be common.
As technology trends continue to accelerate, we could even see the resurgence of tools similar to Google Glasses, which would tap into databases and make long-distance on-site audits and inspections live and interactive. There will be less left to the unknown and more immediate communication in our quest to get more and faster controls over all details of the supply chain. Common risks and bad surprises, like discovering quality issues when the goods arrive, will be a thing of the past with tools like these.
There are already companies focused on the future of China sourcing, like Assembly, who offers real-time quality control and fraud prevention. With them, importers can watch their products being made and avoid more risk than was ever possible before.
A key element of communications is language, and hi-tech is already breaking down the language barriers. According to Glossynews.com, the first ever nano chip is moving out of the assembly line and into plastic-surgeons offices at record speed. These nano chips will make instant language translation possible, without having to go through the arduous process of learning a new language the old fashioned way.
The first nano-chips were programed with the Arabic alphabet and dictionary which would make 200,000 common phrases translatable within nanoseconds. This model is already being tested and used on the battlefield in the Middle East and a Mandarin-Chinese model is being developed and tested on businessmen in different industries requiring verbal communication in China.
With all these advances in technology, the length of visits and trips made to China for face-to-face communications will be reduced. Visits will be more effective and probably less frequent. Much will be done without leaving our home office.
The most unimaginable tools are being developed and will soon be available. Before we know it, these new tools and resources will become common, just like smart phones and Skype are common to us today. But one thing will remain: reliability and trust between humans, buyers and sellers, will continue to be the main factor in performance.
What tools do you currently use and believe will soon become obsolete? What methods of communication do you believe will work for you in the future? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
By Jocelyn Trigueros