I recently heard an example used to explain the complexities of outsourced manufacturing that has resonated members of our team that spend a great deal of their time in China.
We sometimes take for granted that our years of experience in this industry give us insight in the right and wrong ways to undertake so many of the tasks related to the manufacture of our products (or as we often say, we always know which end is up). Our outsourcing partners, on the other hand, lack the advantage of this contextual knowledge, and we pay the price in issues as small as upside-down stickers and as large as whole mis-manufactured runs of product.
The Chinese New Year holiday is almost upon us, which means that millions of Chinese migrant laborers will be heading home to see their families and companies manufacturing in China will be leaning on their suppliers to ship as much as possible before the Chinese New Year shutdown.
Our clients often have a lot of questions about how to best prepare for the Chinese New Year holidays. Admittedly for newcomers to China, working around the Chinese New Year holiday can be quite daunting. Although the actual holiday itself is merely three days long, the Chinese government moves adjacent weekend days into working days, creating a contiguous seven day holiday.
Living in Asia and spending most of my time on the mainland of China leaves me missing so many of things that we take for granted in other areas of the world. Western food is, of course, one of those things that is just hard to find outside of large cities. A few weeks ago, I found myself criss-crossing Shanghai with several colleagues, looking for a sample of a hard to find electronic component. After a few fruitless hours of searching the various markets, I suggested to everyone that we take a break for lunch; this request for a lunch break happened to occur while in close proximity to one of the better hamburger spots in Shanghai, Kabb Grill. (It’s no Hodad’s Hamburger, our favorite from back home in San Diego, but hey you take what you can get around here!)
These days there is a great deal of debate raging around the topic of manufacturing, with many former and aspiring manufacturing centers looking to attract factory investment from the worlds multinational corporations.
At this very moment I am in a hotel in Bangkok, which is seemingly the only place in town where one can escape the barrage of stakeholders extolling the advantages of opening a factory in Thailand. Their reasoning is not unfounded, and it does not take much looking around to see the fertile ground where upon the next global manufacturing powerhouse may arise.