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Extraordinary Performance of an Ordinary Person

Date:2007-11-16 Source:Sinochem Group

 

A story of Role Model Liang Bin, Deputy GM, Shipping, Logistics Business Center, Sinochem International Corp.

In 1991, graduated from Shanghai Maritime University and joined Sinochem, 23-year-old Liang Bin started his maritime career. For 16 years, Liang has grown together with the Sinochem. He determined to follow Sinochem International Corp. to Shanghai and continued his career on the side of Huangpu River in 2001.

Liang’s career is ordinary. The Shipping Dept. he works for was in charge of execution after the transportation contract signed, as well as risk management, business clearing and insurance claim. The nature of his job prevents him from traveling to various ports all over the world like a captain or from bringing millions of revenue to the company upon signing of a contract like a salesman.

Liang’s career is detail-oriented. Year in, year out, he routinely deals with customs claim, B/L issuance, shipment arrangement.

However, Liang’s career is excellent. In 2006, he headed Shipping Dept. achieving the results of zero bad debt and zero B/L accident claim for 487 voyages and surprised everyone—“He built up a firewall against the business risks in the Shipping Dept.” commented by his colleague.

The Good Book of Shipping Dept.

In the office of Shipping Dept., there is a Manual for Shipping Staff on everyone’s desk. Obscure as it looks, it was called the “Good Book”—a Bible, according to Si Liang, Assistant to General Manager, Logistics Business Center.

The manual includes detailed description of various processes of the shipping business, the steps to complete every procedure, the attention needed to every step, the countermeasures against the problems, English contact templates of the international shipping, grammar, and even the tone… It is no exaggeration that as long as a layman closely follows the manual, he will be good at execution within two or three months.

And the author of the Good Book is Liang Bin.

In 2003,the Logistics Business Center of Sinochem International Corp. was restructured and the Shipping Department was set up. Heading this new department, Liang felt the pressure. On the one hand, the shipping had been growing rapidly from three ships of less than 150,000-ton capacity to 23 ships of over 120,000 capacities, which make the largest domestic liquid chemicals fleet; as a result, it poses a huge challenge to the operators. On the other hand, execution is the last but not the least key step for the success of a business.

At the moment, the situation facing Liang was inexperience of the operators and susceptibility to risks. In 2004, the logistics business of Sinochem International was extensively expanded to the domestic maritime market, which, compared to the traditional international trade market, was more exposed to risks. Liang Bin headed his operators doing the researches of the procedures on the nearly 30 domestic harbors and compiled into a manual on the standard process of the domestic trade.

This industry leading manual laid a solid systematic foundation for the development of the shipping business in Sinochem International Corp. in the recent years.

The “Old Cat” in the Shipping Department

One may wonder why gentle-looking Liang has a nickname, “Old Cat”. “One reason is Mr. Liang has a round face, as cute as a cat; but the other more explicit reason is he is very strict with work and would not let go any insignificant risk.” Explained one of his colleagues.

Shipping operation is an exhausting job, requiring 24/7 standby. Moreover, one is supposed to handle various unexpected issues arising during execution of the ship leasing contract. Bearing his responsibilities in mind, Liang has never compromised on the discipline and principle, always following and supervising in person the points with huge potential risks. Once a ship leasing manager called Mr. Liang and asked to sign a B/L one day earlier than the actual (if disputes arise in this case, the ship owner is not protected by law) for a client who has good credit record. No matter how hard the manager tried to promise to Liang that would incur no risk, Mr. Liang simply but firmly answered, “No!” So pissed off that the manager threw his cell phone out of the car. When asked about this anecdote, the manager laughed and said, “Liang is a person adhered to his principle. Seriously, we need people like him as the last control of the risks.

Indeed, Liang is well-known for his precision at work. And his attitude affected the colleagues around him as well. Under his leadership, the Shipping Dept. safely parked in over 700 harbors in the first half of 2007 and never incurred a single case of freight loss or B/L risk claim. This is almost a miracle in the history of maritime.

The “Teacher” in the Shipping Department

In the Shipping Dept., Liang is called by many as “Teacher”, which refers to his efforts on the staff training.

Between the end of 2003 and 2004, the number of the ships was increased to 10. However, there were only 4 operators then, and the one who worked longest was here  no more than six months. In order to help the new staff to hit the ground running soon, Liang taught them the contract templates and analyzed point by point the practices in the past. He took notes the errors of every employee in their work and made precise analyses in the weekly meeting.

Once, Gao Haiming, a new employee who joined the Shipping Dept. merely 20 days came across a problem—the signature of the Bill of Lading different from that of the original copy. Mr. Liang decided to solve the problem together with Gao and explained every detail of the solution patiently to the latter. It was a story long ago, but Gao remained impressed.

Liang passed on to his staff the experience and an attitude. With his help, the new staff have soon adapted to the new roles. Some even make backbones of the Shipping Department.

Liang always says, “Zero accident today does not guarantee zero accident tomorrow. We must keep on high alert all the time.” His biggest wish is to further grow the Logistics Business Center of Sinochem International Corp. Although the road ahead is not as flat as one wishes, Liang and his colleagues are full of confidence.