Attention To Detail
Whether it’s for the inner workings of an antique watch or as the import and compliance manager for Markham, Ontario distributor TPS Promotions & Incentives (UPIC: TPS), Jeffrey Ho has an eye for detail.
The Hong Kong native received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Northern Arizona, after which he returned home to work as a medical sales rep for global firm The UpJohn Company, selling medical devices and drugs to physicians and hospitals.
“I achieved good results, but I also possessed excellent communication, follow-up and consulting skills with doctors and professionals,” says Ho. “The most important thing I delivered to them was commitment.”
In addition to excelling at work, Ho was fortunate to meet and marry his wife, Joanna Cheung, with whom he moved to Vancouver in 1997. In 2001, they relocated to Toronto when a job in the import-export industry opened up for Ho, and last year he joined TPS, which handles promotions for big-name clients in the media, entertainment and consumer brand industries, among others. Joanna works as a legal secretary, and they have a nine-year-old son, Thomas, who loves hockey. “He is a big fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens,” says Ho.
In addition to helping his son pursue sports and other extracurriculars, Ho enjoys fussing over his antique watch collection; repairing collectible pieces requires attention, patience and observation, he says. “I do research and test different ways to solve problems” with the watches.
Read on to learn more about a typical workday for Ho.
His role at TPS
I have more than 15 years’ experience in supply chain management, with hands-on skills in global sourcing, purchasing, imports, inventory replenishment, distribution, production, quality assurance and logistics. And I also have strong customer service skills specific to solutions development and negotiations.
I speak English, Cantonese and Mandarin. I usually work with overseas suppliers and factories, and I perform troubleshooting in areas of sourcing, technical specifications, testing, packaging, quality control, social compliance and product life management. My goal is to make sure our on-time, high-quality deliveries meet safety and compliance requirements.
What he loves about his company
I enjoy working with the people here. They are passionate about the work and enjoy what they are doing. Teamwork is important, and I can see that we are all working as a team. To me, that is very important in and for a company. Our company culture is very open, our management listens to all suggestions (open-door policy) and we keep improving the environment to fit all of us. We all enjoy the environment of freedom and flexibility.
An inside look at the TPS culture
It is warm and helpful; we are all team players in this fast-paced environment. We have 35 full-time staff to provide promotional solutions for industry-leading, progressive, brand-oriented companies and marketing firms. We are also actively involved in the Heart & Stroke Foundation Big Bike fundraising event, and we provide donations for Alliance Church of Unionville.
A typical day for Ho
I look after all import-related issues, including global sourcing, price quotation, production run, product safety testing, factory audit compliance, QC inspection and logistics arrangements. My short-term projects include management and execution of our sourcing strategy according to cost, quality and innovation; identifying and resourcing production issues; and addressing lower inventory level, on-time delivery, shipping costs and lower turnaround time.
Long term, I manage relationships with vendors, merchants and our product development team to build a partnership environment. I also help increase the awareness of product safety and compliance. I provide training to the internal sales staff, particularly on the importance of knowing safety topics.
How he teams ups with co-workers
I mostly collaborate with the sales team for overseas sourcing, price quotation, product safety lab testing, factory audit, production, QC inspection and logistics arrangements. Meetings, essential communications and training sessions with co-workers are conducted to ensure our objectives are being met. We have a regular creative meeting each week with the sales team to share ideas, provide feedback and share updates on news on the market.
How the job challenges him
My job is not only about vetting suppliers, overseeing import-related issues, sourcing, product testing and handling logistics for customers’ orders, but it also involves facilitating our sales team to pass along the product safety information so that they can use it to stand apart from their competition; additionally, guiding the company’s compliance program and maintaining documents such as testing reports and compliance certificates, and maintaining on-time delivery coupled with scheduling production planning, product safety, quality inspection and freight arrangement.
What’s new on his company’s dashboard
Recent changes include improved sourcing channels and streamlining overseas suppliers with a scoring system; supplier evaluation; updating and revising our Quality Management Plan with a detailed procedure guideline for sourcing, ordering, production and shipping; and arranging audits at overseas manufacturing facilities.
We also conduct frequent product-safety testing to mitigate the significant legal and financial risks that can result from non-compliance and unsafe products. We have increased compliance to ensure safe products are delivered, and we have engaged a working relationship with leading global third-party independent testing and inspection agencies to monitor product safety, production, quality control and brand integrity, and to inspect overseas factories for working conditions and social compliance.
How TPS adds value to the industry
It’s because of our vision, our mission and our core values. Our vision is to be the most innovative, respected, client-driven promotional solutions provider for market leaders. Our mission is to deliver innovative promotional solutions and create value by driving measurable results. We foster a team environment that encourages employees to develop and excel. Our core values are accountability, respect, integrity, innovation, drive, teamwork and quality.