What Is Friendshoring – And How Does It Apply To The Toy Business?
Recently US Treasury Secretary Yellen referred to a move (particularly in the USA) towards ‘Friendshoring’ she stated the following:
“Favouring the Friendshoring of supply chains to … trusted countries, so we can continue to securely extend market access, will lower the risks to our economy as well as to our trusted trade partners,”
Clearly in this case, Yellen is referring to the long-term reliance of the USA on China for supply chains across various types of categories and physical product segments. There is much talk currently of ‘decoupling’, of the ‘end of globalisation’ and the move to ‘Friendshoring’ and ‘Nearshoring’ due to the changing nature of the U.S. relationship with China.
All of which sounds fine in principle, but in the Toy industry, there are not many viable alternatives currently. Vietnam has seen significant opportunity as Chinese factory owners opened up plants outside China choosing Vietnam due to it’s geographical and cultural proximity. India is set to take up some of the slack with a few good Toy factories. Closer to major Domestic Toy markets, Mexico is ramping up to a degree, but the bottom line right now is that there is no substantial alternative to China which retains the majority of Toy manufacturing at this point, albeit with a decreasing share on a year by year basis.
When we look at terms like ‘Friendshoring’ we need to see this as an ongoing and future trend – the industrial capacity and domain expertise is not there yet in other geographies. So yes, we absolutely should be looking at our ‘Plan B’ outside of China, but we need to see our industry (& the broader world) as being at the start of a long process of migration of Toy production. Just as China didn’t become the golden hub of Toy manufacturing overnight, so the process of moving from a single hub sourcing solution to a multi-hub solution will take time. Being all in on China right now seems risky but being all in elsewhere is realistically speaking not an option. So, we need to chart a careful course forward and not get to carried away by terms like ‘Friendshoring’ until our friends are ready for us!
If you want more insights into Toy Sourcing & the need for strategic diversification, check out this Linked In Newsletter article:
BIGGEST THREATS FACING THE TOY INDUSTRY: PART 1, LACK OF SUPPLY CHAIN DIVERSIFICATION
Did you know we run a Strategic Sourcing Consultancy to the Toy & Game business? We have worked in some guise with most of the major Toy companies globally, and regularly consult with clients to help them review their vendor base and to carefully plan their strategic supply diversification. For more info on what we do: https://www.toyteamasia.com/