Members of a Chinese delegation visiting Geneva Steel this week say they are so impressed with Geneva's management style that they plan to export the business techniques to China.
"I think we have already learned valuable management practices," said Cai Zhe Shi, deputy director of the Liaoning Provincial Department of Metallurgical Industry."There are some steel factories in China whose production is not good," he said through an interpreter. "We are very interested in how to effectively manage factories. This has been a very valuable experience."
The delegation, made up of 43 steel industry and government officials from mainland China, are in Utah this week for management and operational training at Geneva Steel.
Utah is only the first stop for the delegation. The group plans to spend two months in the United States to take a closer look at steelmaking processes. Saturday they will fly to New York for the remainder of their trip.
According to Geneva President Joe Cannon, the group represents the producers of 50 to 60 percent of the steel made in China and a total of 500,000 workers producing 35 million tons of steel a year.
"They are a delightful people," he said. "It has been great having them here."
Barry Bartlett, administrative assistant at Geneva Steel, said the delegation came to Utah because "Geneva Steel has a unique distinction of being an older integrated steel mill that is continually upgraded with new technology. The Chinese have a similar situation with older steel plants and older manufacturing that they need to upgrade rather than replace. They came here because they are interested in learning how to stay competitive without investing in brand new technology."
Chen Shihuan, senior engineer and vice chief of the works at Chengdu Iron and Steel Works in Sichuan, China, agreed. "This situation is extremely similar to ours in China. We have learned more here about how to use modernization in the controls of a plant, which allows a plant that
s relatively old with out-of-date equipment to be very productive."
Chen operates a steel plant in the southwest region of China with 7,000 employees who produce 300,000 tons of steel a year. All steel plants in China are government-owned.
During their stay in Utah, delegates have not only toured Geneva facilities and attended management training but have also met with Gov. Norm Bangerter for lunch, toured the Brigham Young University campus and attended the BYU/USU football game. They will also take a trip to Temple Square and Park City before they leave.
"Utah and Salt Lake is very beautiful," Chen said. "There are extremely friendly people. We feel welcome here."
Novell Inc. executives will also meet with delegates sometime this week to give them exposure to other kinds of technology, Bartlett said. Delegates have already toured the Kennecott facility.
Having the delegation come to Geneva is a plus for the company because "they have fairly large shopping lists and equipment needs," Bartlett said. "They are looking for that equipment and for consulting assistance to put those in service inside China.
"Exporting to China is certainly another possible outcome in this interaction. In some regions there is a deficit of the steel industry."
China Hua-Yang Technology and Trade Corporation is the delegation's sponsoring agency host from China. China Hua-Yang is working in conjunction with Intrade Limited, a technology transfer company based in Salt Lake City for the delegation's itinerary while here in the United States.