To win the export game

Hardly a day goes by in which the general readers do not get disappointed by news of the paralyzed Korean economy and its bad export situation, which are enough to make sane men drink Soju if taken seriously. If Korea continues to play the international marketing game and survive the competition, something must be done.

I’ve had some experience of procuring very sophisticated machines from various suppliers. Machinists spend a lot of hours in pouring over blueprints, inspecting their cutting tools, carefully calibrating inspection equipment and cautiously loading parts onto and off of their machines. It is quite common to hold tolerances to as little as +/- 0.001. Proficient machinists continue to earn a living doing such, getting the good credits; bad ones end up being an incompetent machinist in the market.

In the world of manufacturing business, Japanese quality is still rarely questioned. I worked with many Japanese engineers. No one can help but notice that precision and pride of craftsmanship, which are the very essence of quality, are things which most Japanese do not make any concession on in nearly every aspect of their lives. Not only do machinists take care of every single piece of equipment in their factories, but even the high school students working at the franchise stores will take utmost care to handle your order perfectly. In Japan, it is actually possible to navigate Shinjuku and Shibuya stations, which are among the most crowed in the world, and not ever bump into a single person.

Anyone staying in Korea for more than a couple of days soon would experience a different environment. Walking down main streets and strolling subways of Korea give a clue. One quickly notices people impatiently rushing and pushing their way around, bus and truck drivers slamming and hooting cars in sight. Everyone is so busy and rushing. But for a country that still wants to be seriously considered as an advanced and sophisticated manufacturer of world-class products in the global market, the results, sometimes, can be catastrophic.

The same people that bump and push their way around their environment in a reckless way are the same people that are bumping and pushing themselves around factory floors, crashing machines, breaking cutting tools and dropping sensitive inspection equipment.

The same people that are obsessed with the thought that the things should be getting done in a rapid way to meet the targeted timeline are the same people that made the faulty Galaxy Note 7 smart phone.

As you know, already smarter consumers over the world are not easily fooled, nor are they forgiving If Korea still continues to take their share in the cutthroat global export market business, the Korean population need to get back to the basic thing- sense of putting quality ahead of anything and improve their personal quality standard in every aspect of their daily work. I believe that this will go a long way to reigniting the nation’s export business engine.

Hong Choong-bum is a resident of Seoul. Write to

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