Meet Ming Wu – Professional’s plant manager in Shanghai
Her career spans 24 years in numerous positions for both Electrolux and Electrolux Professional – a long-stay that she herself admits is unusual in China.
Still, those years have been packed with variety – new roles, challenges and career moves – even including a 12-month stint in Adelaide, Australia.
You joined Electrolux after graduating from university – what’s made you stay?
My ambition was to become an engineer and my studies specialized in cooling and air conditioning so my first job at the former Changsha factory was a good fit, as they produced fridges. Over time, my roles have included planning manager, supply chain manager and purchasing manager for the APAC region and I also worked at the Hangzhou cooking factory. Given the strong economic situation in China, changing companies is very common so staying at the same one for so many years is strange – but I am proud of it. There’s been many opportunities for me to challenge myself, improve my leadership and management skills and even experience working life abroad.
Yep, you spent a year working in Adelaide, Australia. How was that?
It was a rewarding experience that took me out of my comfort zone and taught me a lot about respect and understanding for different cultures and values. Adapting to new ways, different processes and living in another country is a huge learning experience for anyone and something I would encourage people to try if they get the chance.
Personally, I’m a keen traveller and believe visiting new places expand your horizons and perspectives. Some of my highlights include, US, Germany, UK, Turkey, Japan, New Zealand, Thailand and Tibet. When travel becomes easier again, I’d love to go to Italy to experience the ancient Roman culture, see the Northern Lights in Scandinavia and Brazil is also on my wish-list of places to visit.
In 2018, you got the call to join Electrolux Professional in Shanghai – why make that move?
I simply saw it as a new challenge – in my role as Senior Supply Chain Manager my mission was to improve the supply chain process.
Professional products require more customization with more components and, by that time, I had gained a lot of experience in the supply chain and purchasing function so I wanted to give it a try.
What gives you energy and keeps you passionate in your work?
I love a challenge and taking on new tasks to ensure I keep learning and progressing. When I was growing up my parents told me to tell myself ‘I can’ – never say ‘you can’t’. It’s something that I’ve always kept with me during my career.
You became plant manager at Professional’s dishwashing factory in Shanghai in February – a time when the corona pandemic was hitting China hard – that must have been a huge challenge?
Absolutely. Across manufacturing, production, quality and supply chain there are around 100 people working at the site and ensuring their safety was my first priority so it was an unusual start to the job.
We had to implement many activities quickly – set up a crisis management team, secure masks, gloves and disinfectants as well as organize multiple small group briefings – sharing best practices to stay healthy. The goal was to ensure that when employees returned to work we could keep them safe and through these actions, I am proud to say we won in that respect.
It has certainly been a difficult and challenging time but from another perspective it’s also been an opportunity. Like so many companies, business was affected so we took the chance to improve our efficiency, quality, cost, safety and time for employees to improve their skills.