Chapter 35 - No one wants to use their trademark
“Old Li, come have dinner.” Director Li’s wife said.
“You eat first. I got no appetite.” Factory Director Li replied.
“But you still got to eat. I know the factory is not doing well but your health is more important.” Director Li’s wife said.
“Not doing well? It is doing very bad. I am the deputy factory director in charge of production and sales. Now, most of the workshops in the factory are operating one day and resting for two days. The workers are being paid for half of their salaries for the past few months. If this carries on, Many families will be starved to death.” Director Li said.
Knock, knock, knock.
“Oh, is Old Zhao. Have you eaten? Come in and accompany old Li for a drink. He had not been sleeping well.” Director Li’s wife said when she opened the door.
“Sister-in-law, drinking can wait. I got something urgent for Director Li.” Director Zhao said.
“Old Zhao, what it is urgent? Did something happen at the factory?” Director Li stood up from the sofa. The factory is closed at night now. Could it be someone came and steal from the factory? There are still military products in the factory.
“Is good news. Director Li, today my nephew brought a big boss ...” Director Zhao said.
After listening to Director Zhao, Director Li is deep in thoughts. It is a good thing to have such a big order and the requirements are not high. Their factory is capable of producing the fans based on the requirements.
But Director Zhao’s worries is not unreasonable. Made of mostly plastic? Isn’t that an inferior product? Once dropped and the fan might be broken. It is not durable at all. It will destroy the reputation of their factory!
But now, the factory is facing many problems. There is no work for the workers and the factory is not making any money. The factory is not able to pay the workers salaries and even the medical expenses cannot be reimbursed.
Every day, there are workers asking for their salaries. This week, there have been three times workers coming up to his house to ask for their salaries. Director Li even have to lend his own savings to his workers every month.
Now there is an order coming in but he is not sure if he should accept it.
“Director Li, I think we can take on this job and we must take on this job. If we don’t have any orders this month, we can’t even pay our workers half of their salaries.” Director Zhao said.
“What about the reputation of our factory? We are a reputable old factory with many honors in the past. We cannot let people say that we are producing inferior products now.” Director Li said.
“We can talk to the boss to use their trademarks and we only produce the fans. There are many factories doing this in the south. Why can’t we do this too?” Direct Zhao said.
“You mean as an outsourced manufacturer?” Director Li sighed. Theirs is a state-owned factory. Now they have to lower themselves to being an outsource manufacturer for a private company.
“Director Li, there is no other way. We can’t be waiting for orders from the government forever. Last year, there is an order from the top to produce fans. But what happened in the end? We got to sell those fans off at a loss. This boss I spoke to seems to be quite agreeable. He didn’t ask anything about the prices and say he wanted 10,000 units. Even if it is 5 RMB a unit, that is also 50,000 RMB!” Director Zhao said.
“OK. Is the boss still at your house? I will go with you to meet him and get this order. There is still maintenance costs for the machines even when we are not using them. Might as well do something with it.” Directory Li said.
“Old Li, where are you going? You have not eaten your dinner yet.” Director Li's wife shouted.
“I am not eating. I am going over to Old Zhao’s house to discuss some work.” Director Li replied.
Feng Yu looked at the food on the table. He couldn’t believe this is the home of a workshop director. On the table, there are only three dishes. Two vegetable dishes and one scrambled eggs.
If the leaders of the factory are living like this, what about those normal workers?
“Aunt, you and Uncle are living like this now? There is no meat at all.” Wu Zhigang asked. He doesn’t have the appetite looking at these dishes. At Tai Hua Company, every meal has meat and he is used to it.
“It's good to have something to eat. You uncle, as one of the leaders in the factory, had lent all his money to the workers. Don’t say meat. We are lucky if we can afford to eat eggs once or twice a month.” Wu Zhigang’s aunt said.
Wu Zhigang did not know that the factory is so miserable now. Anyway, he sends 60 to 70 RMB home every month. His family should not be suffering like this.
Feng Yu and Wu Zhigang, both only ate a bowl of rice and put down their chopsticks. They did not touch the eggs. Anyway, they can always grab something to eat later on their way back.
There is the sound of the door unlocking and Director Zhao walked in with a stranger.
“Director Li is here, have you eaten yet?” Director Zhao’s wife hurriedly stands up to greet Director Li.
"Feng, this is our Factory Director Li. He decides all the major decisions at the factory. He is here to discuss with you. How much are you willing to pay for a unit?” Director Zhao said.
The factory director is retiring soon and does not care about the factory. Every day, he will be faking illness to stay in the hospital. Director Li, the first deputy director, is in fact, the person-in-charge of the whole factory.
Feng Yu shook hands with Director Li and said: “Hi Director Li. Let’s sit down and discuss.”
Director Zhao’s wife made a few cups of tea and Wu Zhigang stood behind Feng Yu like a bodyguard.
When Director Li saw Feng Yu, he got a shock. Director Zhao had told him that this Feng Yu is young but he never expects Feng Yu to be so young. If Director Li knows that Feng Yu have not even passed his 16th birthday, he would have fainted.
Fan with no cover and clip base
“Director Li. I believe Director Zhao had told you my requirements. Other than the motor, all other parts, if possible, should be plastic. The motor does not need to be big. The fan blades are al plastic so it is fine too for the power to be smaller. There is also no need for the protective covers for the fan blades.” Feng Yu said.
“What? You even want to drop the protective cover? People will get hurt if the blades fly off!” Director Li said angrily. This guy is really an unscrupulous merchant.
“How can it hurt anyone? Have Director Li ever seen a ceiling fan? Why does the ceiling fan have no protective cover over the fan blades? Besides, ours is plastic fan blade and the speed is lower. Even when the fan is running and you put your finger in, you will only feel a slight knock. This is my requirement!” Feng Yu replied.
“Stick your finger in? Then the speed will be too slow. How can there be wind?” Director Li asked.
“As long as the wind is stronger than those hand fans. Smaller power can also save electricity. Isn’t it better? This fan only needs one speed and don’t need to oscillate.” Feng Yu said.
“Also, the base can be smaller with a large clip. The fan should be able to stand on the floor or clip on to a table or the top of a wardrobe to become a top-down ceiling fan.” Feng Yu continued. This type of small fan is very popular in Feng Yu’s previous life.
Director Li and Director Zhao were stunned by Feng Yu's new design. They didn’t know that electric fan can also design this way. But from the looks of it, it should be quite promising.
“If we are able to manufacture the fans you wanted, how much are you paying us for one fan?” Director Li asked.
Electric fan with cover and clip base
“I had calculated. The cost should be around 10 RMB for one fan. I will give you 20 RMB. Those that can oscillate and with protective covers, the cost will be slightly higher. I will pay you 30 RMB for these types. If your factory can manufacture, I will order 10,000 units of each type now.” Feng Yu said.
Director Li and Director Zhao looked at each other and discussed. It can be done. Both types of fans if using plastic, the profit is around 8 RMB per unit. The profits for 20,000 units will be 160,000 RMB!
“Ok. But we have a request. This fan cannot be using our factory’s trademark. You need to register your own trademark!” Director Li said.
Feng Yu is shocked. He didn’t want to collect any design fees from them. He just wanted to help the local state-owned factory. But now, they don’t want to use their trademark? They have doubts about these fans? Feng Yu couldn’t be happier to use his own trademark.
“Fine. Then I will register a trademark and it will be named ... Wind and Rain!” Feng Yu said.
P.S. Feng Yu’s trademark is “Wind and Rain” (风雨) in Chinese. It sounds similar to his name Feng Yu.