My name is Christopher Oliva and I have been working in chinese manufacturing , sourcing, procurement, and engineering environment since 2008 after having put my first step in this fascinating country in 2007 as an electronic engineer. I am a full time resident in China since 2008 and I am staying in Shenzhen, but I frequently travel in south east asian countries when i am appointed for some missions.
Since I am 5 years old , I have always being passionated about creating new products, inventing, particularly in the electronics field. When I was kid, my parents were buying some electronics toys such as RC car or electonic robots to me for christmas, I almost always ended up by opening those toys by removing all the screws from their thread, just to pick motor, LEDs, switch and other components and to rebuild something else with it behind.
So, regarding school, after first and second year of a two-year science course preparing for entrance to the Grandes Écoles (comonly called Math Sup/ Math Spe in France), I have concluded a Msc Engineering a Master in Business Administration and spent a year in the USA during an exchange program.
I have a wonderfull chance: I have made some general engineering studies (which you will not find the same program anywhere else in the world than in France) who gave me a very large view of several science area.
Indeed, the training we call “two-year science course preparing for entrance to the Grandes Écoles” is specifically designed to cover a very wide and general range of science domain and to create versatile and generalist engineers: high level maths, mechanic, fluid mechanic, electronic, thermodynamic, optic, radiowave, electrotechnic, electromagnetic, chemistry, industrial engineering, etc… This training gave me a very specifical approach of technical area allowing me to be very confortable in a high number of situation.
I am not proud of the paper I got at the end of the training, but I am proud those training taught me something very usefull: being able to understand quickly and easily a large number of technical issue, being able to find solution and to implement them efficiently.
Since 2008, I have worked and being involved with quality inspection companies, sourcing companies, buying office, manufacturers and now engineering. You will probably find my references in several companies as I work for several in the same time either as senior consultant, board member or project manager.
I have worked on a wide range of different product and project: from the most simple consummer item till the most technical one (for example, I currently work for a multinational involved in nuclear industry…). I have audited and inspected more than 300 factories in Asia and structured for millions usd sourcing, procurement and manufacturing projects in Asia.
Final clients are both top Fortune 500 multinational and small companies.
I speak english, french, chinese, a bit of german and I am currently learning spanish.
My hobby are innovation, entrepreneurship, manufacturing optimization and quality management.
I open this blog today because I wanted to share with other about my passion and experience related to China, manufacturing, procurement, product development, engineering and quality. Why all those aspect all together ? Well, read below and you will understand, as all of them are simply linked all together in the end.
When I was young I wanted to be an inventor, but everybody told me this is not a job ! So, by subsitution I decided to be an engineer (my school background). I took a few experience as engineer working at Philips and in a company specialized in telecom named Conexant. But I wanted also to be a manager and not just an engineer so I made a master in business administration and spent a few month working at Ernst & Young in their business advisory business unit. It was interesting but I missed some adventure, so I decide to go back to China just after being graduated.
My path in China.
At the beginning when i started my career in China, I was working in Shenzhen for a quality inspection company who was specialized in product inspection, factory audit, and lab testing. I was badly paid, had too few visibility about the future, but I learnt a lot about manufacturing and I enjoyed this time because as an engineer I was not supposed to put my feet in the industry of the import export. I visited quite a lot of factory as being an inspector and an auditor
(By this blog, I thanks the people who put my feet in the industry because without them I would not be here).
After 1 year, I had turned around the QC and QA industry enough, and I left the company and grabed an opportunity to work in Shanghai for a SMI who wanted to set up an assembly line to distribute some complex ultra accurate mechanical instrument for oil and gas industry. I learnt distribution in China, modality about how to set up a manufacturing and a trading entity in China as foreign owned one, and also that I was not a big fan of Shanghai… It was very interesting because I was meeting with the high top level of Sinopec and CNPC, was discovering and understanding the way distribution and sales are done in China, and I was keep working in manufacturing environment because the SMI I was working for was a manufacturer based in France with 100 people in their plant. So I had frequent training at their place and was capable to compare chinese manufacturing and western one.
At the end of my contract I returned to Shenzhen to work on my own as a consulant for several companies: procurement and sourcing companies, quality control and inspection company for high level and complex product, product development and engineering.
Today I mainly work in product development, manufacturing and procurement and I find it fascinating and very challenging because not only it is related to birth of a new product but also because it has to consider manufacturing aspect. Manufacturing = mass production in china = quality issue easily… so the quality control is also present.
A big thank you to one of my friend who pushed me to open this blog and who supported me with valuable advice in business and in life since now almost a year we know each other. I am sure he will recognize himself.
Thank you all for reading.