First i want to report that the community team have been receiving a lot of LUG’s LEGO Ambassador Network Applications since Monday. So far it has been a pretty good start!
On Thursday (August 28th) I took a trip to Asia to join Tormod and Daiva to meet with local markets and discuss future opportunities to work with LUG’s and the regional LEGO Certified Professionals (LCP’s). We started in Hong Kong, a market which has been closely working with fans for a very long time. Being this market was at a much more advance level in terms of AFOL knowledge and experience the conversation was more about listening to their experience and seeing how we can align in the future.
Then on Sunday we drove across the border to a city in China call Shenzhen. We stopped at a mall to see a LEGO marketing activity. They had a traveling truck show which stopped at many locations in the region and setup a fun and engaging area for children to experience the LEGO Brand. It was an awesome experience and interesting to see the similarity and also some difference on how children perceive and play with the bricks.
On Monday we met with the China business unit in Shanghai. It is a fast growing business unit which has almost no experience with fans. So our meetings we very much focuses on AFOL awareness, what they can do, and the benefits to the markets. Also part of this conversation was about how to utilize the talents of the regional LCP’s. The China marketing team was very excited to plan some activities with us in 2015.
Finally on Tuesday we were given an exciting opportunity to travel to Jiaxing, which is about 1.5 hours north of shanghai, this is where the new LEGO Factory is under construction! We met with the leadership team there to hear about the progress of the factory but also to discuss AFOL activities with them. In the near future this factory will start to employ A LOT of people, this is a huge factory which requires the best and brightest technicians, quality staff and engineers. However the city is not very familiar with the LEGO Group so they are working hard to find way to show the local people that LEGO is a great company to work for. There is an engineering university in the city so they really want to find ways to make LEGO an attractive work place for both experienced and young engineers. The career opportunities at this factory will be exciting!
Of course being an engineer myself and I strongly believe LEGO’s manufacturing technology is some of the most advanced in the world, I became very excited to be engaged in such a brand awareness challenge. Because unlike TLG’s normal branding campaigns, in reaching out to parents and kids about play, this was reaching out the technical field and showing how amazing our manufacturing is and the incredible opportunities engineers get to experience at a factory. So personally that was a really fun meeting!
This picture is from the administration office which oversees the city.
Then we took a trip out to the construction site. There is not much there, a few steel frames but mostly still a lot of dirt. I was amazed about the massive size of the location, it will be LEGO’s largest site! But most importantly I am absolutely impressed with the work ethics, safety and operations of the teams there. I have had a few factory construction experiences in different parts of China with my previous employer, so I had certain level expectations about the challenges of a European company building factories to the expected standards, it is not easy. When I saw this site, and the amount of effort and success they put into every single aspect of the construction it was amazing! They set the quality and construction standards very high right from the beginning and ensured that site safety always came first! This quality and safety standards demonstrated to me that this site will be able to clearly meet TLG’s future manufacturing demands with the consistency of all our other manufacturing sites. This factory is going to be a great addition to TLG to ensure products are getting to local/regional markets much faster.
There is an observation tower at the corner of the site. In the observation tower sites a MOC for visitors to not just see the site but see how it should finally look (in LEGO of course) J The MOC was created by an AFOL by the name of Joseph Yuechen Zhou.
The entire trip was fantastic, I guess you can probably tell which part of the trip was the most fun for me, meeting a lot of new people and making new connections and opportunities for the team and the AFOL community!