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Creating safer water for all: Shuping Lu

Shuping Lu President of Xylem China

Water technology provider Xylem China has a vision to help create a world in which water issues are no longer a barrier to human health, prosperity and sustainable development. “We are committed to reimagining and transforming the water industry,” President of Xylem China & North Asia Shuping Lu tells The CEO Magazine. “And we call for more people around the globe to join us in addressing these challenges.”

A subsidiary of US-based Xylem Inc., the company specialises in water and wastewater technologies such as treatment systems, analytical instruments, pumps and hydro turbines. Its services are used throughout the water cycle, from collection through to distribution and usage.

Shuping Lu President of Xylem China
Shuping Lu, President of Xylem China

Shuping joined Xylem Inc.’s then parent company ITT Corporation in 1995, a manufacturing company that develops solutions for the industrial, energy and transportation sectors. Over the years, she rose through the ranks and, when Xylem eventually spun off from ITT Corporation in 2011, she was selected to be its President in China – overseeing the company’s North-Asia region.

With Shuping at the helm, Xylem China has continued on its mission of solving water-related issues. Over the past three years, it has established the China R&D and Engineering Centre, enhanced its aftermarket service functions, and has worked hard on talent and leadership development. “We have been doing well with executing our strategy-specific initiative,” Shuping says. “For example, we have been focused on building up a high-performance culture within the organisation, increasing our customers and delivering on our commitments. And we keep stretching ourselves to pursue higher goals and objectives.”

Global Month of Service

Each year in October, Xylem’s philanthropic arm, Xylem Watermark, holds a Global Month of Service. This has a twofold mission: to protect and provide safe water resources for communities in need, and to educate people about water issues. “Our employees have the opportunity to donate their time and talent to volunteer projects for Xylem Watermark,” Shuping explains. “We encourage all eligible employees to use up to three work hours during the Global Month of Service to participate in Watermark’s planned activities. To make it easy for them to get involved, we organise activities such as a water source clean-up or a community education program. Employees can also support or participate in projects on their own.”

The Global Month of Service began in 2016 and, in 2017, 99 events were conducted in more than 20 countries around the world. The hours logged in 2017 – 9,500 – represented a 70% increase over 2016. With the year 2018 marking Xylem Watermark’s 10th anniversary, Shuping says it’s a chance for the company to look back at the progress it has made and look forward to the future. “Now we encourage more colleagues to roll up their sleeves and help sell water to make an impact in the communities where we live and work,” she adds.

Shuping Lu’s leadership tips:

  1. Understand, trust, delegate, and coach with effect
  2. Inspire and motivate
  3. Be transparent
  4. Watch how you speak and behave as it sets the tone for the organisation

Solving water problems

Shuping highlights that one in nine people across the globe lacked access to clean and safe water in 2017, creating a greater need for better water solutions. “More stringent global environmental and water quality regulations are increasing the need for critical water solutions that are modern and efficient,” she says. “And Xylem is well-positioned to fulfil these long-term needs as our business strategy is built around creating cutting-edge solutions to increase water productivity and quality.”

Shuping notes that the water and wastewater industry now has a greater concentration on energy-saving solutions, asset optimisation and intelligent, data-driven solutions – and these are among Xylem’s strengths. With the company’s advanced solutions enabled by technology and data analytics, Shuping says its customers have greater predictability and more precise insights to inform their decisions on how to safely and more effectively manage their water operation.

“At Xylem, we believe if you can change water, you can change everything. That’s why we are focused every day on finding a smarter way forward to sell water by harvesting the power of technology and innovation.”

In the future, the company aims to be a leader in the water industry by optimising its business in three main areas. “First, it would be accelerating growth by prioritising investments in innovation and technology to enable smart infrastructure,” Shuping says. “Second, it would be driving continuous improvement by simplifying the organisation to make it more agile. Last but not least, it would be defining the roadmap to a more water-secure future through the advancement of intelligent, sustainable technologies.”

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