Thursday, March 7, 2013

Intern from Australia

Hi there!

My name’s Ryan and I’m an industrial designer from Sydney, Australia. I’ve recently started an internship at STAR PROTOTYPE to learn all about rapid tooling and manufacture.

I approached Gordon for this opportunity, not only because of STAR PROTOTYPE’S exceptional reputation, but also because I had previously had designs produced by the team at STAR. Every time I was impressed by the quality finish of each piece and the speed of production. Communicating with the project management team is always a pleasure and their advice on potential tooling methods and design improvements is fantastic.

I’m really looking forward to learning further from the great team here at STAR. With such a professionally managed factory, great tooling and material testing machinery as well as state of the art quality assurance equipment I can’t think of a better place to be!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The forefront of technological advances! Innovations from Gordon Styles

To succeed in the current business climate, it is more important than ever to be at the forefront of technological advances. The best prototyping service available is offered by Star-Prototype, a company that has a history of serving some of the world’s best companies in a timely and effective fashion.

The Star-Prototype factory is 100% owned & managed by British engineer Gordon Styles.

Read Peter Hourle’s interview with Gordon Styles:

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jerry On The English Beat

By Gordon Styles – CEO Founder Star-Prototype
One of the biggest concerns customers have when dealing with China is the ability to be understood by the sales people and engineers that deal with their projects. So, when I first came to China I was absolutely committed to offer a service that would put customers completely at ease – a full western style service with great English speakers.

We have always sought to hire the very best English speaking sales people and engineers, but this year we reached a size that allowed us to employ our own English Teacher. Under our new English-speaking program, we allow all 122 employees the opportunity to learn a language. Beginners go to a local college and are subsidized 66%, but the top 60 English speakers have the opportunity to have two free one-hour lessons per week with Jerry Grey. Jerry is a former London Policeman turned English Teacher. After first emigrating to Australia, Jerry moved to China and has taught at some of China’s top language schools in the last eight years.

After serving 10 years in the Metropolitan police Jerry lived 18 years in Australia where he had a successful career in the security industry, he was a General Manager of a division one of the world’s biggest security companies, Chubb. He left Chubb when the company was acquired by the American giant; United Technologies Corporation (UTC). So, rather than look for another “real job” Jerry decided to go back to school and study to be a language teacher. His first job after graduation turned out to be very real and an inspiring job with the University of New South Wales. Working on a special program based in China and designed to help Chinese kids prepare for a place in the Sydney based university. After fulfilling his contract there he decided going home wasn’t his preferred option so he went looking for a local job. Finding one in Zhongshan was his greatest achievement as he also met and married the manager of the language school.

He specializes in teaching young adults and is therefore perfectly suited to working here at Star Prototype with our enthusiastic, young and dynamic team.

STAR now has speakers of seven languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish, German, French, Cantonese and Mandarin and our hope is to continue to improve and expand our language capability for the future.

I, Gordon, personally am very committed to languages. I started to learn German in 1999 and spent over 500 hours one-on-one in a classroom on the Berlitz Total Immersion program; and when I came to China I did the same with over 700 hours with Berlitz learning Mandarin. There is nothing more fun than chatting with friends and doing business with customers in a foreign language.

Jerry in action.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

STAR Dormitories

Some customers were interested to know about our dormitories at Star Prototype, so here is a picture of one – we have twelve in total housing 55 of our 103 staff.  There are five people to a dorm; each dorm has a shower room and toilet.  Front and back doors are stainless steel security doors.  Each person has their own bunk bed set including table, chair and wardrobe.  We provide 3 meals per day 7 days per week; Internet access; uniforms; health checks and health insurance; and housing allowance (deposit for new house or pension).  The dorms and all benefits are provided free of charge.  If a person wants to live offsite we provide them with a rental allowance equivalent to the cost of providing onsite services.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Message from Our German Intern

Dear reader, 

I started an internship at Star Prototype right after my studies, which was about 3 weeks ago. Because of my German origin, it is my task to support Marcel Gundlach with client inquiries.

One of the first things I noticed when coming to STAR is the quality of the service and finished parts as well as our customers receive. The attention to detail and efficient execution is what makes Star Prototype unique. Not many companies in China succeed in producing the quality that Star Prototype delivers. 

Hence, in order to even further improve the overall customer experience, the company currently heavily invests in its employees and testing equipment. With a professionally managed factory, state of the art quality assurance equipment, a professional marketing strategy, and especially the implementation of the ISO 9001 certification; all of these commitments serve only one single purpose: To ensure fast service and that every single prototype meets or exceeds our client's expectations.

I am lucky. Gordon Style's focus is clearly on creating a sustainable business model which will continue to deliver high quality products to its customers. Needless to say that being a part of this process is very exciting. 

Currently, I have the chance to be involved in multiple projects, which reach far beyond handling our client's enquiries. The company and its top management provide me with tons of opportunities to bring in my ideas. I am given the opportunity to support the ISO 9001 certification process. On top of that, I am involved in marketing projects such as a facelift of Star Prototype's website. The freedom and flexibility that I am given as an intern are outstanding. In three weeks, I have already learned a lot. In the next five weeks, I do not expect that to be any different. It is something to look forward to. 

Greetings from Zhongshan, China

Patrick Neikes

Thursday, November 24, 2011

6000 Mile Job Interview

“You’re going to China?” This was the first thing my friends and family said to me when I told them I was visiting Star Prototype for an extended interview. They couldn’t understand why I would want to work for a company in a developing country as they put it.

Well, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Perhaps China is a developing country by Western standards but its developing fast!

I’m not a seasoned traveller, far from it in fact, the furthest I have been from my home town of Newcastle is to the Greek island of Zante. The prospect of flying thousands of miles, spending the better part of a day on an aircraft, was an exciting thought, yet having never travelled alone, a scary thought! The flight was uneventful and I landed safely in Hong Kong for my mad dash through the terminal to make my connecting ferry to Zhongshan. Having missed the ferry my excitement level was dialled up a notch as Gordon directed me on a high speed taxi ride through Hong Kong to the main ferry port to make the last connection.

The first thing I noticed in China was the climate, as it was November (or ‘Movember’ as top lips where beginning to bloom) it was starting to get cool, so I was told. Well, to me it was still as hot as the best a British summer has to offer, and mixed with my first ever case of jet lag, took some getting used to! The next big surprise for me was the food, REAL Chinese food, nothing close to your favourite local takeaway. Mammoth portions that just keep on coming, everything you can imagine, it was some of the nicest food I have ever eaten. Not being renowned for an adventurous palate there was a lot on offer that I turned down, “Chicken feet?” errm, no thanks! I’m sure that there have been many Chinese people who visit the UK and thought that some of our dishes are strange so I don’t feel bad about my lack of bravery!!

Zhongshan is a wonderful city that does an amazing job of balancing industry with large public parks, fantastic restaurants and a great nightlife! There is something for everyone here and Gordon couldn’t have picked a more perfect place for Star.

What I have seen has totally changed my view on how business is done in China. There are the ‘back street’ toolmakers, a small lock up with a couple of manual mills; these are dotted all over the city. Then there are small factories with 15-20 guys running machines. The further out of the city you venture, the larger the factories become. There are gigantic factories with over 200 people working in them making huge moulds, 6 feet high when stood on their side. I remember visiting one and being blown away by the sheer scale of the place and that was considered small to medium by Chinese standards!!

Gordon and his team at Star have put together an amazing manufacturing business in Zhongshan and offer a fully comprehensive range of services, where customer satisfaction is the number one priority. Star is a fantastic blend of technology, western quality systems and working practices, skill and dedication.

True to the company motto ‘The best of the West in China’ the QC department at Star would have many UK manufacturing business’s drooling at the level of technology on offer, this undoubtedly gives every customer the highest level of confidence especially those new to placing work in China. Technology is only as good as those who use it, and the staff are an amazing bunch, a very well educated and highly skilled workforce that is dedicated to the business and hungry to learn!

My time in China seemed to fly by, and I have to say a huge thank you to Gordon for giving me the opportunity and taking excellent care of me. Cheers Gordon!

Michael Hutchinson, CNC manager at STAR, who was kind enough to offer me his spare room for the duration of my stay, a fantastic host who kept me out of trouble. Cheers Mick!

And of course, thank you to all at Star who made me feel so welcome and despite their best English, putting up with my Geordie accent!!

I look forward to all the challenges working for Star puts my way and look forward to passing on my knowledge and that pride to the toolmakers at Star whenever I visit China.