Friday, August 10, 2007

Made in China

I know that is the buzz right now as so many products in recent weeks have been recalled that were "Made in China" for various safety reasons. My blog is usually just a nice place to share pictures, projects and not political issues but this one is close to my heart in a way. I spent years working in international manufactoring, live on the border, and have visited many factories.

First, I think we need to consider why things are "Made in China". One of the major reasons that things are made in China is because of price. I spent years working in international manufacturing and know that if something was labour intensive we generally had it made in China. Why is price an issue? Because Americans want to buy things at a cheap price. They want to save money. They are greedy. Price really sums up why things are made in China.

The retailers go to the distributors and say that they want to buy it for a lower price. The distributors who used to make it in the USA and most likely now buy it from a China factory go to the factory and say we need to make it cheaper. There might be some easy ways to save money but then factory wants to make money as well so they might look at ways to save money so that they can continue to make their margin.

What is China's reaction? Now this comes from one factory owner in China who I talked with recently. China is beginning to force factories to make more high end products. That is the government but honestly the factories are going to do what they can to continue business and so they will make what they have been making. The government does not want to continue exporting low end products. In that particular area they are have two days a week without power. Well, this owner was getting a generator so that he could continue production. A fraction of what he produces goes to the USA but he has customers in many other countries.

I will say that I think the Chinese factories are to blame because they are not following the specifications that were given to them by the USA companies. Based on my own background I am quite sure that the factories involved in these recalls are going to be paying in many ways. There cost saving idea has backfired.

I think another part of the blame goes to the American greed. We want more and more and want to spend less and less and honestly we don't care about the quality until we hear that it might not be save. Living overseas I have seen in various ways that it appears that Europeans are more demanding of quality then Americans.

I think it is difficult to avoid the "Made in China". I did read of one person who tried to do it and I do applaude her for her efforts. I just spent the past week unpacking and jokingly have said that I brought a number of things back to the motherland.

In my opinion the bottom line issue is greed. Greed on the factory's part in wanting more money. Greed on the distributor's part in wanting more money. Greed on the retailer's side for wanting more money. Greed on the US consumers part that is you and I and our desire for more and more at less and less.

So if we hold some responsibility what are we going to do?

Now back to my nice little blog about things I am making and things we are doing.

No comments: