Everyone at Sino is committed to making things better for you. To help you get to know the team better, we caught up with our Technical Director, John Hemming, who is based at our factory in Shenzhen. Read on to discover how long John’s background, experience, and what a typical day looks like.
How long have you been in the industry?
I’ve been in the plastics and Diecast industry for 39 years. I started a five-year Toolmaking apprenticeship as soon as I left school at the age of 16.
What inspired you to take this career path?
As a child, I always liked taking things apart and seeing if I could put them back together. I succeeded many times, but failed a fair few times, to the dismay of my father. Then at school, I found I had an aptitude for visualising mechanical products as well as technical drawing. These subjects, partnered with mathematics, seem to be the easier subjects for me academically, and I feel this is why I pursued a career in Engineering.
What personal qualities have been instrumental in your success?
I’m a very self-driven person and have never been afraid of working hard. Over the years, I have continued to learn, to keep myself up to date with the changing technologies within the industry. I believe that I possess good people skills, which have enabled me to communicate effectively with my colleagues both in the UK and in China. I’ve also been fortunate to work for and with great toolmakers and engineers, many of whom have helped to give me the opportunities to get to where I am today.
When did you move to China?
I made the leap to move to China in 2017 after working at Sino for two years while travelling back and forth between China and the UK five to six times a year. Rob Harris and Li Xie approached me and my wife Sam and asked if we wanted to move to China on a permanent basis. I was already comfortable being in China and used to the cuisine and cultural differences and I had already started to learn Mandarin.
However, Sam had never been to China, so to start with we moved here for an initial six-month trial period. Present day, we‘ve never looked back. Sam has settled into life in China very well. She is a Birmingham University English Graduate and has worked in education for many years. After moving to China, Sam started teaching our management team English during their lunch break. Her students love her dearly and she will never be forgotten by anyone she has taught.
What do you enjoy about your role?
I’m still a toolmaker at heart and, even though I’m no longer hands-on, I do enjoy problem-solving; It keeps the grey matter ticking over. It’s probably a good thing that I enjoy this part of the job, as the industry would have turned me into a quivering wreck a long time ago!
What is your expertise?
My expertise is the manufacturing of high-precision plastic injection mould tools. However, since working for Sino, I have had to take on new challenges. One of the biggest is managing people from another culture who have different training and different mindsets to the people I was used to working with in the UK. It’s a challenge I’ve embraced, and I feel I’ve made a big difference and also have made lifelong friends from the shop floor all the way to the management team. It’s a journey I will never forget.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I rise at 6am to have breakfast. It’s very important in China to have breakfast as I will be asked several times “Ni Chi Fan Le Ma?”, which means “Have you eaten?”. If I haven’t, I must explain why and have a good reason as my colleagues will not be happy.
Sino have customers globally so I will start to look at emails I’ve had during the night and then start work at 8am. As usual in manufacturing, there will be meetings and issues to resolve in design and manufacturing. By 3-4pm (China time) the UK will start work and then I will have a new wave of emails to go through to make sure the team understand what’s required by the customers. We have customers in Mexico and the USA, so it’s not unusual to get up in the middle of the night for meetings.
We have a great team at Sino, and everyone works very hard, but we do have some activities we all enjoy. On a Tuesday evening, we play badminton, which is great fun and a good way to wind down, we often have barbecues and some of my colleagues play basketball (I’m too old for this, LOL).
What makes Sino different?
Sino will always go above and beyond to meet our customers’ expectations, and this is why Sino has a long-lasting loyal customer base. I always get good feedback from our customers which tells me that we are doing everything right to grow Sino as a world-class manufacturing company.
Describe Sino in 3 words.
Committed. Professional. Friendly.