Visiting our Far East suppliers

Three images. On the left, a far east warehouse where a coffin is in the very early stages of being made. The middle image shows a white building on the edge of a river surrounded by a forest of green trees. The right image shows a man making the finishing touches to a woven coffin.

Gavin Wood, our Purchasing Director, recently returned from a visit to our Far East suppliers to check on our supply chains and explore new product concepts. He has shared his key takeaways from the trip.

What did you learn?

This was my first trip to see our suppliers since the pandemic. It was amazing to catch up with trusted contacts who I’ve only been able to communicate with via video calls for a few years. It really brought home the importance of nurturing good relationships with our suppliers – in person as well as remotely. We’ve worked with some of these teams since the 90s! It was also interesting to see the advanced manufacturing process – it helps counter the misconceptions that some people have about foreign production and gives us the confidence to report back to our customers about why we enjoy working with our teams in the Far East. As always there are so many nuances – and enormous differences across provinces and general scale – from our traditional artisanal producers in rural locations to larger factories in the bigger cities. But it’s great to see our key values remain throughout our supply chain  –respect for strong business relationships and an emphasis on trust.

What’s on the horizon?

There was plenty of opportunity to talk about some new product ideas – for the moment these are in the planning stages, but our commitment to innovation means there’s plenty to look forward to, so watch this space! As well as new product development we also discussed some refinements to our existing products, which we’ll be bringing out over the next year.

Are any key changes being made following this trip?

Given China’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2060, we’re expecting to see a real push for more eco-friendly materials across the entire manufacturing sector. This fits closely with our own work and the goals of our Environmental Task Force. We’re looking forward to flowing this focus throughout our supply chain and are already working on minimising waste in our packaging and cartons.

I also held some exciting meetings with a handful of new coffin suppliers who we expect to bring into our network once the usual due diligence checks have been made.

And I’m already looking forward to my next trip back to the Far East this year – just not during typhoon season this time!


Suggested reading

From field to funeral – creating woven coffins 
Developing Close Supplier Relationships 

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