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Zhang Chen: A CRBBGer on the Belt and Road
Source:CRBBG Date:2019年05月13日

Anthem of CREC—“Trailbreaker”

After graduating from university in July 2008, Zhang Chen went to work for China Railway Baoji Bridge Group Co., Ltd. (CRBBG), a subsidiary of CREC. Now he is Senior Director at the Overseas Department of the Marketing Center and engaged in overseas marketing.


Over the past 11 years as a member of the Communist Party, he is diligent, hard-working, careful and pragmatic. He always keeps moving forward to be an excellent CPC member, by constantly learning theoretical accomplishment and capability. He was awarded as Outstanding League Member of CRBBG in 2008, Outstanding League Cadre of CRBBG in 2009, Trade Union Activist of CRBBG in 2016 and 2018, and Outstanding Communist Party Member of CRBBG in 2018.


Over the past 11 years as an overseas marketer, he keeps learning to be more competent, presenting a vigorous, devoted, enterprising and hard-working image with actions. He was honored to be elected as 2015 Outstanding Young Post Expert in Baoji.


Over the past 11 years, whenever undertaking new projects, he attentively delves into expertise, analyzes the macro environment and relevant technical codes of the project location, and decomposes the characteristics of competitors, striving to make good use of the edges. Whenever meeting new clients, he adheres to the business philosophy of "client first, market first" by always keeping clients’ needs in mind, winning clients' recognition and trust in the company's products with integrity.


In 2011, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) decided to vigorously develop the railway infrastructure construction, with a number of new constructions and heavy repair for old lines. Immediately after learning the news, Zhang Chen applied to the company leadership for conducting market research in Thailand, studying the present railway situation in Thailand at railway site, communicating with SRT engineers and officials, and identifying major concerns of the clients.

After communication with the clients and site survey, he learned that Thailand long followed the European standards and used the turnouts manufactured in Europe. However, the turnouts are the following problems: long production period, poor after-sales service and unstable quality (since high manganese steel frog is manufactured in India).

 

Given this, Zhang specially made a PPT to introduce Thai officials the design, supply and service plan of CRBBG, attempting to win affirmation from SRT on the CRBBG’s products. However, Thai engineers remained wary of using Chinese products, due to railway safety concern. Zhang then provided business accomplishment data and technical specification for the turnouts exported to Indonesia, Malaysia (also following European standards) and other countries, contacted the Malaysian client to provide a Product Satisfaction Proof issued by Malaysia Railway Authority for CRBBG, and he obtained the embassy certification for the said commercial and technical information in the Chinese Embassy in Thailand to ensure the authenticity of all documents.

 

These efforts dispelled any doubts on CRBBG’s products and technical competence from Thai engineers. In order to make the client convinced of CRBBG’s production capacity, Zhang took the client to the company factory and consciously rode the Zhengzhou-Xi'an High-Speed Railway constructed by CRBBG.

 

The client was eventually assured and at once signed a contract with CRBBG for exporting 153 sets of turnouts to Thailand. After several years of development and maintenance, CRBBG keeps exporting turnouts to Thailand on an annual basis till 2019, totaling more than 1,500 sets and accounting for more than 70% of the turnout market in Thailand.


In early 2012, the Indonesian Railways Company called for a bid of 210 sets of turnouts. Zhang carefully read the bidding document, communicated with the client to figure out the important technical and commercial elements of bid evaluation, and carried out on-site investigation.

In the process of investigation, he found the following problems that point rail wound bounce when moving and the turnout connecting rod would resist with locomotive wheel, which would lead to reduced riding comfort of passengers and service life of turnouts. So when preparing the bid, he focused on the presentation and improvement of the two problems in his technical solutions.

The client finally chose CRBBG. With turnout provision completed, he led the after-sales department personnel to the Indonesian railway site, offering after-sales services for more than 20 days against high temperature of more than 40 degrees, till CRBBG’s products were installed in place.

The client was very satisfied with CRBBG’s turnouts and services, and issued a Product Satisfaction Certificate. This project becomes a record high of CRBBG in terms of single turnout export contract quantity.


In 2017, he developed a market in Mongolia. The first batch of turnouts was supplied in May 2018 and has been put into use already. Currently, the turnouts are running well. During the same period, he made a new breakthrough in the Australian market that has long been monopolized by Europe. After an enduring tracking and negotiation, he has secured cooperation agreements with Australian clients.


First-class products are important, first-class services are more important. In 2014, CRBBG supplied 81 sets of turnouts to a Thai contractor. After the products were sent to Thailand, the client claimed that the products were not qualified, the dimensions of installed turnouts were not qualified, and a large number of turnouts could not even be installed. Immediately after getting the news, Zhang Chen took the after-sales engineers to the site.


At the site, the client complained a lot about the products and even uttered some unkind words that they should choose Europe for Chinese products were not reliable. He patiently listened to the client’s complaints, and checked the turnouts together the after-sales engineers to spot the possible causes. Yet some adjustments still could not fit the dimension requirement.

At first he believed the turnouts were impossible to be unqualified as all of them were rigorously inspected. Later he came to realize the turnout ties produced by the client were possibly incompliant with CRBBG’s drawings. So he suggested the client to remove the turnouts and measure the turnout ties one by one. Yet the furious client was quite unwilling to do so. Then Zhang and the two engineers took three hours measuring the dimensions of all the turnout ties, under the high temperature of more than 40 degrees. The results showed that 90% of the turnout tie tack holes were out of tolerance, which led to the failure of normal turnout installation.

In the end, the client re-produced the turnout ties as required and CRBBG’s turnouts were properly installed. The client felt very satisfied with CRBBG’s products and services. Now, the contractor is a regular client of CRBBG and will unexceptionally designate CRBBG as its exclusive supplier for any contracted railway turnout project.


In recent years, with the unremitting efforts of Zhang Chen and his colleagues, CRBBG secures at least RMB 50 million railway turnout contracts in Africa, Southeast Asia and other traditional markets every year. They have contributed much for CRBBG to implement the Belt and Road initiative and achieve a sustainable and steady development.

 

 

 

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