A warm welcome to all our new subscribers! Through more than a dozen events since mid-October, a great number of you have asked me to subscribe you to TECHMANAGE either through a sign-up sheet or by handing me your business card, for which I am deeply gratified. If I have inadvertently subscribed you in error, please let me know and I will attend to unsubscribing you immediately.
This is a special time of year, starting with the U.S. celebration of Thanksgiving in late November, followed by the holy days of Chanukah and Christmas, celebrated throughout the world by people of faith. These holidays are a wonderful reminder for all of us to give thanks to God for our blessings as we prepare to enter a brand new year.
This issue, as last month's, focuses on international business, Japan specifically. I'll be reporting on some of the events surrounding the two international business conventions hosted annually by the Osaka Chamber of Commerce, Global Business Opportunity Convention (G-BOC) and Global Venture Forum (GVF), held this year October 19-23.
In this issue:
Indeed it is. But we do want to convince you that you need to be aware of the entire global marketplace, and plan to be involved in it if you're not already.
Globalization is not too different from the Y2K issue: plenty of scary tales have been told about the Asian, Mexican, South American, Eastern European (you name it) economic scenes. You have two basic choices: bury your head in the sand, playing ostrich and hoping the world passes you by (it will!) or "make hay while the sun shines" by selecting and capturing opportunities and dodging new rivals that are streaming by just outside your doorstep.
Rather than me jabbering on in the abstract, let's take a virtual walk through some of the exhibits at the 13th annual Global Business Opportunities Convention (G-BOC). It is sponsored chiefly by the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) and the Osaka Prefectural and Municipal Governments and held the third week in October. We'll also make a quick tour of the sixth annual Overseas Investment Promotion Fair and the International Investment Promotion Plaza happening at the same time. Whew! Glad it's virtual this time around. And for those of you who attended, this will be a kind of "stroll down memory lane."
More than 600 G-BOC exhibitors are present from 29 countries outside Japan. Making our way through the Phillippines, we come upon a wide range of industries, from apparel to structural steel fabrication. Just around the corner is the City of Melbourne (of which I'm very proud to have been made an "honorary" member), and the beginning of things Australian, the likes of which have yet to debut in the U.S., including a select brand of exquisite aromatherapy oils, various snack items, designer-quality foldable furniture and parquet flooring, and motorcycle racing tire warmers (seems we're finding them a way to write "now used by U.S. racers" in their future advertising).
Passing through a half-dozen European countries, we discover foodstuffs and flowers tucked in among the industrial hard goods. We come upon Iran extending an invitation to invest in its free trade zones, South Africa displaying a rainbow of products from various regions, and a host of Turkish representatives eager to promote their country's automotive, electrical, machinery and other industries. All this before we come to North America...and this is only the first of two floors of G-BOC98.
Let's pause for a moment to consider what's going on. We've seen public and private enterprise organizations, all having to cross an ocean or two, some requiring as much as 20 hours travel time and several thousands of dollars out-of-pocket expenses per person (exhibitor fees are very modest, by the way)...many returning again and again over the years...for the opportunity to present their consumer and industrial product (and service) offers to prospective buyers and investors, mostly Japanese companies. What's the value proposition here? It's Value Creation: speeding by bullet train rather than covered wagon to get to new customers. And you get pre-arranged business introductions and meetings set up besides! But I digress for now. Time to get back to our tour.
North America: Canada, Mexico and the U.S. A potpourri of products and services...video magnifier; a bottled water producer and a restaurant-brewery (both from Hawaii); Consulate Generals, State offices and the City of Chicago; emergency survival kits...a hint at the kaleidoscope on the middle of the event's three levels.
Now let's take the escalator to the ground level, where distant locales and political circumstances await us.
With 123 representatives from several ministries, 10 provinces and 5 cities, China surpasses all the other countries in terms of participants. Want food? Jade? Machinery? High tech? Little wonder, since Japan is a shorter hop across the "pond" from the industrialized eastern provinces than the Continent is from the U.K.
More than 30 participants from Bangladesh promote their textile, printing, foodstuffs and other industries, while a large group from Myanmar offer a look at their medical, forestry, construction, jewelry and many other goods. Vietnam, Indonesia, Russia, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Nepal and Thailand are also represented.
Before taking the long escalator up to the International Investment Promotion Plaza on the third floor, we'll peek in briefly at the National and Regional Promotion and other seminars that were presented to foster communication and a greater understanding of the economic climate for foreign investment in Japan and 15 other countries.
These begin immediately after G-BOC's opening ceremony, and continue over the three-day event. The first day we learn about Japan's economy and M&A (merger and acquisition) activity as a practical management strategy; later that afternoon, China's Ministry of Foreign Trade presents an introduction to foreign capital investment in that country.
Over the next two days, an impressive roster of ambassadors, embassies, economic development agencies, and state and regional governments from North America, Europe, the Middle East, South Africa and Asia offer practical advice and valuable contacts for doing business in their respective countries.
And now, on to the International Investment Promotion Plaza. Sponsored by JETRO (Japan Exteral Trade Organization),this is its sixth event. Just under 100 government organizations from 52 countries are represented here, all offering information on doing business in their country. When you hear "we're from the government and we're here to help you" in this setting, you can believe it. Every representative is deeply knowledgeable about markets, regulations, special and eager to guide their visitors through the unique requirements for conducting business successfully in their respective countries.
In the interest of space, we'll cover just briefly the events surrounding the 2-day Global Venture Forum 98, which followed the 3-day G-BOC. Information on GVF99 (scheduled for October 21-22) will be appearing shortly on our Web site.
Just as with G-BOC, business introductions and meetings are pre-arranged for business plan presenters through the Osaka Chamber. This allows prospective business partners greater time to explore specific issues, since preliminary information has already been exchanged between the individual parties.
Of 121applicants, 34 companies from 8 countries have been selected for presentation this year. More than 400 people representing about 200 companies listen to 25-minute business plan presentations (simultaneous English/Japanese interpretation through earphones) in four basic technology areas:
A broad range of partnerships are being sought by the presenters:
If you have a technology in any of the four areas listed above, it's not too early to start thinking about making application for GVF99. For more information, please go to the GVF Website at:
or send e-mail to: email@example.com
or to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's just call it serendipity. About a dozen of us Confab folks were waiting at the gate to catch a flight to Denver out of Reno for connections to various points east. I was thinking about which book to review for this newsletter and there was Gary, "The Scientist-Marketer" with the second edition of this book. "An end to frustration in Marketing" proclaims the subtitle, and the cover goes on to pronounce "Eight Mental Barriers That Kill Both Business and Businesses."
This is the kind of book I normally flip through and toss aside, looking for something "meatier." I didn't this time, though, because Scientist-Marketer had a familiar ring to it (it should, although I hung up my lab coat 25 years ago).
Background pedigree aside, this book demands your attention because it highlights the engineer in ALL of us. Look at your latest marketing/sales brochure. What does it talk about up front? Product features, no doubt, even if your product is a service such as research and consulting. "We conduct market research... we gather customer satisfaction data...we are the HR experts...we can network your office." Product features. An engineering (product) and ego-driven mentality. NOT the mindset shift to a "truly strategic, value-driven, customer-centered, systems-oriented" approach to your business.
Are you frustrated with your marketing efforts? Go to: http://www.market-engineering.com/
or e-mail Gary Lundquist at: email@example.com
to purchase this book.
They, along with other "household name" Japanese and American companies, have participated in the Manufacturing Technology Fellowship Program (MTF). MTF began in 1993 through the combined efforts of the U.S. Department of Commerce and Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry (recruiting for U.S. participants and Japanese language training in the U.S. is currently handled by Vanderbilt University for the Department of Commerce).
Designed to produce a bottom-line, win-win payoff for both sides, the MTF program has already hosted 70 American Fellows, who have spent up to a year in Japan working side by side with their Japanese counterparts, and success stories abound. That was the focus of a briefing on MTF I was invited to a few days ago in the Chicago area. Sponsored by the Chicago office of JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization), this briefing on the program was so compelling I wanted to let you know about it right away, especially since application deadline for the program is toward the end of February.
The Director of Vanderbilt's Center for United States-Japan Studies and Cooperation and the MTF Program Director, Dr. James E. Auer provided the historical framework of the program and Vanderbilt's role, including the very intensive up-front language and cultural training (lest you think otherwise, this is not a program for the faint of heart or a vacation for someone seeking a cushy sabbatical). A former career naval officer and having served as Special Assistant for Japan in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Dr. Auer brings a world-class dimension and perspective to what might otherwise be viewed as an academics-focused program.
Two engineers who had just completed their fellowships gave us a glimpse of their experiences. While the foundation of learning kaizen and other lean production methods first-hand by working side by side with Japanese manufacturing engineers was true to the program's mission, their experiences were unique and tailored to their "home" company's (and their own personal) objectives.
And indeed, the "win" was a two-way street. The Motorola engineer brought back valuable time-to-market practices and expressed delight in being so accepted by his Japanese counterparts that they felt free to grouse about their jobs to him. The Boeing tooling engineer saw waste elimination with a new set of eyes and she learned what it's like to educate a six-year old in Japan. They both brought a host of valuable American perspectives to their Japanese host companies (who may never be quite the same again!).
If your company is looking for a solid, hands-on manufacturing technology program that offers an unparalleled opportunity for strengthening your U.S.-Japan joint venture, customer, or supplier relationships, go immediately to:
and check out the details.
[Side note: this site does a remarkable job of communicating in just the way Dr. Gary Lundquist (above) suggests...a marketing lesson in itself.]
You may also contact Mr. Ralph Inforzato of JETRO of Chicago for more information at: Tel: 312-832-6000 fax: 312-832-6066 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's how to play: copy and paste the question below into a new message; type in your answer with your name, title, company name and type of company (or work you do if independent) and send it to me at:
Question: how many U.S. state and other regional offices are there in Japan? Type in number here: _____
All who reply with a number between 1 and 100 will receive a list of those contacts with fax and e-mail addresses.
Last issue's quiz, we asked: At the beginning of 1998, what was the percentage (round numbers are fine) of the total number of people using the Internet in the following countries? (Must add up to 100%)
Extra credit: Approximately how many millions of U.S. users were there? 54.6 million.
These figures are from the January 19, 1998 issue of Information Week.
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