Saturday, 12 August 2017

Factory Inspection in China - Getting It Right

The Pearl River Delta lies in the southern province of Guangdong, a short trip away from Hong Kong. It is China's manufacturing heartland, and despite the continued industrialisation of the country's interior provinces (with significant investments from the government in Tier 2, 3 & 4 cities this is likely to accelerate over the next few years) it is where most companies will initially seek to conduct any significant production outsourcing in the nation.

The majority of production lies in the manufacturing belt between the two megacities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou and there are literally tens of thousands of factories and facilities to choose from in these locations.
The cost savings and increased capacity make outsourcing to China, a "no brainer" strategic decision for many Western producers. There is a huge skilled workforce and massive developed capacity for manufacturing already in place, and whatever product you're looking for there is almost certainly a number of factories ready and able to compete for your business.

That's the headline and it is all true, what is often not said about China is that the marketplace is fraught with dangers for the unwary customer. It's possible that your decision to outsource may lead to your brand being associated with the worst kinds of headline from developing nations.

Child labour? Mentally handicapped adults sold as slave labour? Wages so low and conditions so bad that workers routinely commit suicide? Massive pollution crippling the local environment and poisoning the local people? Shoddy goods that can lead to injury or death of users? All of these problems and more have been identified with Chinese production in the last year alone.