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Supply Chain and Sourcing
Eyes On the Supply Chain. Quality Assurance and Procurement in Asia.

December 8, 2021
9:00 AM Pacific (12:00 PM Eastern)


In a new AES Audio Product Education Institute webinar, David Lindberg (DB Enterprises) and Mike Klasco (Menlo Scientific) will continue to address current challenges in the supply chain for the audio industry. Following a very well-attended and dynamic session on logistics challenges and supply disruptions, this time the two supply chain experts will address manufacturing challenges and more specifically, the need to keep an eye on the supply chain in China, and Asia in general.
For this new December 8 APEI session, the two Supply Chain & Sourcing pillar chairs invited Brad Poling (Jobra Enterprises) and Steve Howell (NM Tech), two experienced Quality Control Managers on the ground in China to discuss Quality Assurance and Procurement in Asia. The two consultants will explain how they work daily to elevate product quality, establish and maintain factory relationships, and reduce returns for audio manufacturers. Some of the topics debated will include how is it like working with factory partners to improve quality processes and testing expertise; how have audio products manufactured in China evolved into the premium manufacturing base that exists today; and how have companies dealt with the recent traveling restrictions to keep operation running.
These perspectives are more relevant than ever, with the ongoing global logistics logjam, a new wave of COVID-19 related lockdowns in Asia, a manufacturing stall in China due to energy shortages, complicated regional holiday calendars in different parts of the world, and increasing hurdles to maintain consistent factory visits and inspections. Audio brands are forced to postpone orders, unless they have direct local coordination in place with key suppliers.
With the double whammy of lockdowns in Southeast Asia and China’s manufacturing slowdown, manufacturers have been seeking alternative production capacities elsewhere and South Asia’s sourcing hubs have proven vital. But is there really a viable, immediate alternative to China when it comes to immediate production needs? Is the pressure of the peak holiday season and unprecedented supply chain chaos affecting quality compliance in factories?
All these factors only serve to emphasize the importance of quality control, reliable on-site services, industry expertise, and local knowledge and experience. Something that Brad Poling and Steve Howell are in a unique position to discuss, offering valuable first-hand perspectives of manufacturing facilities and suppliers practices.
Steve Howell

Owner, NM Tech,

A self-described American-based in China with extensive product sourcing and engineering experience for the A/V industry, Steve Howell has over 40 years of experience in the Electronics Industry with a strong focus on audio. Holding a BSEE in Electronic Engineering from the University of Washington, he has worked with audio manufacturers Sonance and Carver plus many other brands under his independent consulting firm NM Tech, founded in 2002. Steve Howell is versed in almost every aspect of product support and design. The last 17 years have been based in South China performing all aspects of production development and control, as well as Factory Audits and Inspections for various brands and product types.

Brad Poling

Product Development, Quality Assurance and Procurement in Asia, Shenzhen, Guangdong,

The founder of Jobra Enterprises Limited, based in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, Brad Poling is an experienced NPD, QA and Procurement professional in a wide range of industries, with vast experience in consumer electronics. For nearly 30 years he was involved in global product development and sourcing in the audio, medical equipment and power tool industries, having previously worked for world class organizations such as Polk Audio, Definitive Technology, Sound United, GE Medical and Stanley Black & Decker. Brad Poling held many positions including mechanical design, project management, director of product development and vice president, China operations. He currently resides in mainland China and his company, Jobra, partners with technology providers, sourcing teams and factories for product development, manufacturing, and international trade.
Mike Klasco

CEO, Menlo Scientific, Richmond, California,

Mike Klasco is the president of Menlo Scientific, an audio consulting firm for the loudspeaker industry, located in Richmond, CA. He is a graduate from New York University, with post graduate work in signal processing, and he holds multiple patents licensed or assigned. For the past 35 years, since founding Menlo Scientific, he has worked on product development, design and technical support, liaison between suppliers and manufacturing facilities, sourcing guidance, and certification for a large number of companies. Mike specializes in materials and fabrication techniques to enhance audio performance, has over 500 articles published in audio magazines and technical journals, and to this day continues to be a regular contributor for audioXpress and Voice Coil magazines. He presented papers at the Acoustical Society of America, held positions as Session Organizer for the Audio Engineering Society, Chairman of the Committee on Acoustics, and is an AES Life Member.

Dave Lindberg

CEO, DB Enterprises,
Hong Kong

Dave Lindberg is the CEO of DB Enterprises based in Hong Kong, and an experienced professional in business and project management, focused on linking brands to innovative technologies and suppliers in Asia. Dave is a factory savvy marketing professional with strengths in selling early stage innovative technologies for consumer electronic devices, medical, industrial and textiles. Based in Asia since 2008, Dave holds a unique perspective on supply chain, having sold technologies and solutions to factories in China and across Asia, connecting brands with suppliers, sourcing key suppliers for manufacturers, or coordinating entire product development projects for select customers.