Michael Yao, CEO and Co-founder, Homa Appliances

MANUFACTURING is a subject we have seldom communicated about, if not on a one to one basis and for strictly technical reasons when discussing projects with partners and clients. It is certainly not something we have theorised about, either, yet manufacturing is really what we are into, since the beginning. We were born a small factory 20 years ago, and in less than a generation, we have become the world’s choice supplier of cooling products. In all these years, our production mindset, our perspective and philosophy about manufacturing have grown alongside the continuous development of our industrial footprint. Today, though with great humility, I am pleased to share our thoughts on the matter through the testimonies of Homa’s production and R&D people, compiled into a monograph dedicated to the various fascinating aspects of manufacturing, with the added, valuable contribution of international experts providing the latest insights on the discipline.

The aim of this publication is to offer a further view of our true self, of our inner workings and how Homa is not only moving with the times but is actually part of the mechanism that contributes to shaping the future of the industry through the continuous improvement of its manufacturing practices. In our first ten years production increased fivefold, by 2023 it will grow a further more than three times, reaching the sixteen million units per year mark. This could not be achieved without the profound and continuous transformation of our production organisation and a formidable, sustained effort in the building of our industrial capability.

Among the topics treated in this monograph, that of mass customisation is certainly one of the most current themes. It is particularly relevant for the OEM/ODM world, since the need to balance competitiveness and flexibility is vital. Being able to offer craft-like customisation, as opposed to standardisation, to clients in order to serve their own brand identities and quality requirements is only the first element of the equation as competitiveness, given by large scale production, remains an indispensable part of the proposition.

Also, Quality is carefully analysed under various perspectives, for end consumers nowadays will not settle for anything less than perfection, intended as the complete satisfaction of their expectations, and in most cases, aspirations. Objective quality versus perceived quality is the question standing at the centre of the quality debate. Today, the refrigerator has become one of the symbols of our social accomplishments and the emblem of your lifestyles, hence emotions, perceptions and feelings seem to have in some sort gate- crashed the otherwise very rational and material terrain of industrialisation and production logics.

People become therefore increasingly important in this new conception of production, not only in terms of strategic planning and engineering competencies, but also as the focus of the company’s attention to being true to the three pillars of its culture, care being one of them, in every aspect of its life. Talent attraction and retention, especially in the new-normal era, is a challenging task for HR functions across the globe. Many things have changed, and employees’ expectations and aspirations have considerably evolved.

Logistics and supply-chain dynamics are also included in this monograph as subjects of interest. Until very recently they were almost unknown to those not directly involved in them, but have dramatically come to the fore following recent events such as the global pandemics, the war in Ukraine, climate change and Brexit, to mention only a few. As far as climate change is concerned, there is the added element of sustainable production, on top of that of the products themselves, no longer considered an added value, but absolute must-haves.

Beyond the lucid, thorough analysis of the present state-of-the-art of production in its many aspects, this monograph also reflects on possible future scenarios and the potential impact of new, disruptive elements such as blockchain technology. Homa will embrace the future to come, and continue to supply the world with the best-in-class innovative, authentic food preservation products. It will do it with the same spirit of care and attention, while continuing to offer the most competitive proposition.

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