China manufacturing is nothing new. Companies based in the USA have been manufacturing in China for over 40 years. Each year hundreds of billions of dollars of product is manufactured in China and shipped to the USA.
When you add that to the volume of products being manufactured and the number of companies the world over doing business in China one would think China manufacturing was easy and that there is nothing to it. The truth is, that is not the case. Granted there are benefits of China manufacturing…when everything goes well.
Despite these benefits, there are still some challenges that “foreign” (non-Chinese) companies face when they decide to manufacture in China. The following are just five (5) of the reasons China manufacturing can still be a challenge.
Chinese Laws and Customs
For a business to thrive in China there needs to be a basic understanding of Chinese laws and customs especially those concerning business etiquette and interactions. Many foreign as well as Chinese companies attribute their success to having excellent guanxi (relationships). This refers to business and / or social connections developed as a result of methodically creating close relationships. Guanxi fosters to mutual, trust, benefit, and interest.
While there is a tremendous interest in the English language in China a surprising number of Chinese people are not conversant. Some say “There are more people in China that speak English than in the United States.” There may be, but how many truly understand and are at a conversational level, especially when it comes to the vocabulary of manufacturing? This can result in a communication challenge with the resulting issues showing up in manufacturing operations as well as the final product.
Time Zone Differences
When taking daylight savings time into consideration there is a 13 hour time difference between China and the Central Time Zone in the United States. When companies outsource to China the times in which phone or Skype calls can be made are at odd times. Of course email messages can be sent any time but, as we all know, email can be misinterpreted when both the sender and recipient speak the same language much less have two different native languages. Managers needing to keep in contact with China manufacturers may find the communication schedule to be a hindrance to keeping up with their day to day activities. One benefit in working through a company like ITI Manufacturing is being able to call during normal business hours, communicate in English, and having the complete answer to your question communicated back to you in a timely manner.
Lack of Proper One on One Interaction
No matter what Apple and Samsung want us to believe communicating face to face has always been the most effective. When detail and specifications must be exact, the communication method becomes increasingly important. Add this to the complexities with the language, time zone, and culture and it becomes even more necessary. Face to face is how ITI Manufacturing keeps on top of the details as projects move through the manufacturing process. There is no substitute to “being there”.
Limited Access to Production Status
Finally, lack of access to the actual production progress and status is another challenge that businesses face when outsourcing to China manufacturing. This could be considered a combination of some of the reasons above but is most important because knowing and understanding the facts behand a product’s real production status can be the difference in the shipment arriving on time or being delayed. The domino effect of a late or delayed shipment, especially if that delay was preventable, has the real potential to negate the benefits China manufacturing has to offer.
China manufacturing has numerous benefits, but also some challenging situations. There are many reasons a product may be rejected post-manufacture, made with the incorrect material, or shipped late. The frustrating reality is that a vast majority of these situations are preventable.
If you have all of the bases covered, congratulations! However, if you are in need of an expert that can help you overcome challenges you may be facing right now, remember companies have trusted ITI Manufacturing for over 40 years. Let us help you. Click here to find out how ITI Manufacturing can help your company succeed with China manufacturing.