Recruitment drive for China expansion

by Carmen To

Lilian Leong, vice president, human resources, Mansfield Manufacturing Company Limited

Business model provides dual advantages

As a specialist in metal stamping and metal die fabrication, Mansfield Manufacturing Co Ltd has a business model which resembles hundreds of other Hong Kong enterprises.

The company has over 150 employees in its Hong Kong headquarters handling various management and administrative functions, and around 6,000 staff in seven factories located in different parts of the mainland, which handle the vast majority of production.

According to Lilian Leong, the company's vice president of human resources, Hong Kong must now focus on its role as a middleman and liaise with customers around the world. "We understand management, logistics, trading practices and Chinese culture," she says. "That means we can offer a complete service with quality products for overseas customers looking to develop their supply chains in the mainland."

Sophisticated systems

Mansfield's core values include efficiency, safety and social responsibility, and production is supported by advanced technology and sophisticated IT systems. Most of the company's plants now have ISO accreditation as well as top of the range hardware.

For example, the Tangxia Lincun Sun plant operates more than 400 presses with volume production by single hit, progressive and transfer dies. It can also handle value-added processes such as riveting, robotic and spot welding, and surface and heat treatment. This enables the company to serve customers involved in everything from office automation and home appliances to audio/video and automotives.

Technical skills

In the meantime, there are still numerous opportunities to build a career in the sector. People with professional experience and technical skills in overseeing production flow, automated machinery and IT systems are in demand. There are also openings for general managers with a proven track record of meeting deadlines and achieving results.

"We need product designers, engineers, technicians and draftsmen as we gear up for new products and the next phase of expansion," Ms Leong says. "They should have a broad vision and be fast learners." Recent graduates and diploma holders are always welcome to apply and will stand a better chance of success if they have good language abilities and are prepared to work their way up through the company. This allows them to learn how the business works and to pick up the necessary experience.

Ms Leong emphasises that it is important for young graduates to have realistic expectations and to take continuing education courses in order to keep pace with changes in the general business environment. Currently, starting salaries for graduate trainees are in the range of HK$6,000 to HK$9,000.

Qualified engineers, in particular, are expected to have good long-term opportunities if they acquire practical experience from working in the mainland. "If they combine that with knowledge of international standards and business practices, they will have a very sound future in the industry," Ms Leong says.

She adds that Mansfield will continue to expand in China and has an ongoing recruitment campaign. The twin challenges in the next two years will be to develop the business successfully and to ensure that product and technology copyrights are adequately protected.

Making a mark

  • Company specialises in metal stamping and metal die fabrication overseeing mainland production from headquarters in Hong Kong
  • Manufacturing processes involve advanced technology and sophisticated IT systems
  • Engineers and management staff required for next phase of corporate expansion
  • Graduate trainees should have good language skills and be prepared to work their way up
  • Knowledge of mainland production and international business practice is the key to career advancement
  • Upcoming challenge include business development and product and technology copyrights protection

Taken from Career Times 21 July 2006
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