We sat down with James Murphy, the General Manager at HLH to ask a few questions about his thoughts on how 2016 was for HLH and where he saw 2017 headed for HLH.
Q. Another year has come and gone, what was the biggest change for HLH in 2016?
A. 2016 has been a big year for HLH, obviously the largest change has been the move to our new facility in Dongguan. Though we still have the head office in Shenzhen all of our manufacturing capacity has now moved over to the new factory. This has been a massive investment for us this year and will continue to be well into the future, we feel we have enough space to grow and deliver more and better solutions for our clients from this new location.
Q. Tell us what you liked about 2016 and what challenges you had for 2016.
A. 2016 has been a year of big changes globally, events like the Brexit vote and Trump getting elected have changed the dynamic in the regions where most of our customer base reside. Personal preferences aside this will create massive change and opportunity for many and diversely effect many others. Some of the emerging technologies like the Internet of Things and autonomous vehicles have also had a year in the limelight. This year has been a very interesting and exciting year for us and for the world; some are even calling it the year when the world actually saw some real radical change. Obviously with so much going on there have also been challenges, I think a lot of people have been holding back on R&D spending until all plays were known. As a result we have not seen the investment into design and development we might have if the environment had been a bit more stable.
Q. What services did your clients use most during 2016 and is this affecting your plans for 2017.
A. The biggest trend for us in the last few years has been towards, rapid tooling and low volume injection molding. We are in the midst of mass entrepreneurialism and services like Kickstarter and Indiegogo among others are making this an even more achievable prospect for many. So we are seeing ever more startups coming to us for prototyping and low cost, high speed tooling and injection molding. Obviously this has only solidified our belief in the viability of this and means we will continue adding skills, experience and equipment to our rapid tooling team.
Q. HLH was formed as a Rapid Prototyping company, is this still the bulk of work that HLH performs?
A. More and more of what we do is low to mid volume production work, especially with the wave of entrepreneurialism and the way even bigger companies are working now. So we have a lot of working coming on the back of the prototyping, lots of precision CNC machined parts and especially the rapid tooling services we provide, they offer a quick and inexpensive way to get a few hundred to a few thousands of parts in the market.
Q. Are there plans for growth in 2017?
A. We are still building and developing the new factory, so there will be lots of new equipment and goings on around that. The environment in China, is such and we are very much of the opinion if you stop you are dead, so we will be looking to keep developing our skills internally, adding experience to the team and expanding what we can do for our clients to make their manufacturing lives easier.
Q. Tell us about the HLH staff in 2016 and where you see them going in 2017?
A. The staff here are great, and we have a good cohort of new people coming on board as we speak. For me the people here make coming to work a great and rewarding experience, seeing them get involved in our clients projects and the dedication, passion and emotion they put in to what they do is really rewarding to see. We have plans to send staff overseas in Europe and USA during 2017 for training and development, as well as trying to visit some of our customers over there.
Q. Any plans for the holidays?
A. Work and after that I will be at home with my wife and children, pretty boring but I wouldn’t want to do anything else.
Q. Thanks for this James, what is your message to your customers for 2017, the year ahead?
A. Good luck, thanks for a great year, sorry we didn’t do better but we are improving every day and with your support making great leaps forward, enjoy the holidays and see you next year.
At HLH, we make things for you.