As usual, I kept a list of interesting articles to share with my readers. Here is the list for April and May.
Jacob Yount wrote a list of questions that will guide an importer desiring to avoid unnecessary delays. For example, what are the steps to follow until production can start, what components/processes will be handled by third parties, how to keep some pressure on timing, etc.
Fredrik Grönkvist summed up nicely what small buyers need to know as they import products from China. He insists on working with the right type of supplier, using samples to communicate about expected quality level, signing a formal agreement, inspecting quality and only after that paying the supplier in full, performing lab tests, and using the proper packaging.
Over the past few years I noticed that a number of large factories, which used to employ 1,000+ workers and were supplying large big-box retailers, have lost significant business and only employ 100-200 people. I guess they grew too fast and couldn’t control their costs and quality, and in the end they simply couldn’t keep losing money on large contracts.
This article describes and discusses this micro-trend, and points to the risks it represents for importers.
The Economist argues that “rising Chinese wages will only strengthen Asia’s hold on manufacturing”. The article discusses China moving up the value chain, progressively automating its factories, and unfavorable demographic trends. It forecasts a transfer of production to Southeast Asia, rather a “reshoring” movement back to Europe and North America.
Over the past two years, journalists have been prompt to point to examples of re-shoring (production being brought back in North America or Europe, generally from China) and to predict a vast trend. New research shows this is not the case, and mentions other trends.
(On the same topic, you can read Onshoring Creates New Textile Jobs, but What About Apparel? — more centered on textile production.)
Have you found your own product designs posted without your consent on alibaba.com, taobao.com, or other websites? Most of them have procedures to request those designs to be taken down. Dan Harris explains how lawyers can be involved if necessary.
This infographic explains how to reduce the risk of “container rain” or “cargo sweat” during seafreight.