Interview with Mr. Roger Lu, Delta Thailand MFG Operations General Manager
Text by David Nakayama, DET Corp Comms
Translation and Photos by Claire Hsiau, DET DSM
Samutprakarn, Thailand, January 12, 2021-The past year has seen unprecedented expansion in DET’s manufacturing scope and role within Delta Group as we step up our game to adapt to a changing global supply chain and satisfy increased customer demand during COVID-19.
In an exclusive interview with, Mr. Roger Lu, Delta Thailand MFG Operations General Manager, we get his insights from a lifetime career in Delta manufacturing and hear about DET’s competitive advantage and role in Delta global production, how to protect our people and what it takes to lead factory teams on the shop floor.
Can you share about your life and career before coming to Thailand, and the biggest differences between the working cultures in Delta China and Delta Thailand?
I joined Delta Taiwan in 1995 right after university, starting as an ADP buyer at our Taoyuan factory. For the past 26 years, I’ve served at only one company-Delta!
My first overseas assignment was the Delta Dongguan Plant in 1996. In 2001, I transferred to our Wujiang Plant before joining DET in 2020. I started in material management as MC/CPC/PC and became TPS factory manager in 2006. I’ve been in manufacturing management ever since then.
Coming to DET from Delta China was a big change. The biggest difference is the language. At first, it was difficult to switch from using Chinese to English and Thai to communicate, but now I enjoy my work and activities every day. I don’t think differences in work culture is an issue if we keep our focus on building trust between all our teams to keep our Delta mindset of excellence a top priority.
Why is Delta Thailand’s role in production important to Delta Group, and how do we add unique value?
The world’s political or social environment is always changing so we should be ready to nimbly fill our role in the organization as needed. For example, COVID-19 shifted the world economy towards more decentralized manufacturing models that are closer to the market which replaced traditional scaled and centralized manufacturing models.
For production safety and risk management, Delta Thailand mainly focuses on our networking and communications, data center and EV related products. This is on top of our current product mix. DET plays an important role in Delta’s global manufacturing by fulfilling existing market demand and expanding to catch growing market trends.
During our growth, our first priority is to do detailed reviews and analysis of our organization and human resources capabilities. We always focus on building the right production processes to fulfill different products and implementing intelligent manufacturing in our own smart factory that aligns with global industry standards.
You have taken over DET Production during a time of global supply shifts and COVID-19. How have you overcome and driven growth in DET production despite the challenges?
It’s been a very challenging year in 2020. The COVID-19 lockdown limited movement and made the supply chain very tight. Meanwhile, demand increased so we still need to do our best to achieve our production targets. I’d like to thank all our dedicated colleagues for your tireless effort and cooperation to make this happen.
Our Production teams take on the hard work of making the orders with each team member in day and night shift teams doing their best at their stations. We’re totally committed to on-time delivery and quality for every product we ship out, but our work isn’t possible without the support of all our other teams.
Sales teams handle our customers’ current and future requirements and help other teams make plans with enough buffer. Material teams manage our production capacity plan, track material delivery and manage warehouse kitting and goods shipment. Facility teams help protect everyone at Delta by controlling entry/exit, doing temperature checks and distributing masks.
HR teams help recruit operators needed to continue production. Import/Export teams work with vendors for shipment despite lockdowns and container shortage issues. And the list goes on of all the people who make production possible at Delta.
What are the most important ways to ensure a safe and healthy workplace on the production lines?
DET is lucky to have a great Facility and Safety team that helps us to implement excellent safety measures and build a healthy workplace. Of course, we always need the support of each Delta family member to strictly follow the policies that protect us all.
Besides health and safety, we also want to provide a happy and satisfying workplace where all our employees can enjoy working and grow together with DET.
As more manufacturers come to Southeast Asia, how can DET manufacturing continue to be competitive and satisfy our global customers?
Global manufacturing allocation doesn’t mean that one single site takes over the operations of another one. Instead, it’s about coordinating with each site to achieve a better delivery schedule with a good cost structure while doing risk management to serve our global customers.
We must speed up our smart manufacturing rollout to ramp up DET’s competitive strength in the global manufacturing supply chain. Our motto for competitive smart manufacturing is-Safe, Stable and Close to Market.
What do you enjoy most about Thailand and how do you stay healthy and happy here?
I love the delicious Thai food, clean ocean and blue sky most. But due to my hectic work life, I still haven’t got much chance to enjoy these amazing things. When I can take a break to unplug, I enjoy feeling relaxed and de-stressing.
How do you help your factory teams grow and find ways to succeed in their careers and lives at Delta?
Actually, our people have a lot of great innovation and ideas. So when I work with them, I don’t just assign everyone jobs. Instead, I try to give clear and certain directions to make sure they can explore all workable solutions.
This excites everyone to share their own thoughts and unlock their hidden potential. I encourage all my teams to work together and to face challenges directly and together as a team. Always remember, we are a team and we succeed together!
What are the most important qualities needed to lead a team of any size on the factory floor?
I think there are four key qualities that effective factory team leaders need:
- Consensus: Only when your team is of one mind and vision can you work effectively towards your common goal.
- Trust: Only when we trust each other fully can we get everyone involved and achieve our team goals quickly.
- Daring to commit and then making it happen: Daring to commit means you’re able to handle your tasks and commit to executing them.
- Reaching your mission: Achievement is the ultimate proof of a high capability leader and team.
Is there anything you would like to share with your Delta colleagues in Thailand and around the world?
I believe the most important thing I’ve learned at Delta is: Be Sincere. Even if we speak different languages or come from different cultures, a sincere heart is the same everywhere in the world.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in Delta Taiwan, China, India, Thailand or Australia. Just have an open mind and empathy for others. Your colleagues, suppliers and customers will appreciate it and you’ll earn their respect and friendship with time.
About the Author (Editorial Team)
If content is king, there must be a kingmaker. And the universal theme in my favorite stories is our innate human desire for freedom. I have a master’s degree in Chinese education and experience spanning industries and countries. As the Comms guy at DET, I’m obsessed with the stories behind our products and people. Share your stories with me @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/yushi-david-nakayama/