How To Find Toy Factories Outside China
There has been plenty of talk of late about rising labour costs in China. Bearing in mind the bulk of the world’s toys are manufactured in China, and that some types of toys are very heavy on labour in the manufacturing process, this has unsurprisingly set the alarm bells ringing for many toy companies. There is no doubt that the toy industry will continue to source the majority of manufacturing from China for the foreseeable future, but there is a definite trend away from China after a year in which European companies struggled to justify ordering in $USD as the €uro became so weak against it, and in a year when China’s seemingly perpetual growth cycle (primarily driven by manufacturing) appears to have faltered to a degree.
As is so often the case, there are those who have a bit of a whinge about the problem of supply chain cost pressure, and there are those who try to do something about it! So here’s some tips on how to go about doing something about it:
- Observe What Others Do – the saying goes that ‘pioneers take all the arrows’ i.e. those who go first walk into the unexpected hazards and dangers, so it’s not necessarily a case of trailblazing, more a case of seeing what others do, and once they’ve tested the waters, jumping on board!
- Ask Around – blindingly obvious, but much too easily ignored – the toy business is a comparatively small club. Your friends, colleagues and even competitors will have valuable information that they will be willing to share with you (sometimes) if you ask.
- Walk The Floors – to break the habit of going to the same region/country for production when viable alternatives exist elsewhere, why not consider countries you haven’t considered before? Every year at Nuremberg for the Spielwarenmesse (world’s largest toy trade show) we walk past companies who could be our solution, and we don’t consider them because our minds are closed. So this time round, why not set aside time to look at exhibitors from other countries for once?
- Use LinkedIn To Search – not everyone in Asian countries embraces LinkedIn like most Western business people do, but nevertheless your future suppliers will be on there somewhere, you just need to take the time to search.
- Focus on these countries – Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and India are the most viable alternatives to China, although to be clear there is nowhere enough capacity in these countries at reputable factories to meet global toy manufacturing demand. This situation is slowly changing, but you probably want to get in early to ensure capacity.
- Use Agents/Sourcing Companies – via our Consultancy company www.kidsbrandinsight.com we offer a Factory finding service. We’ve worked with massive corporate companies down to one man bands to help match them with the right factories outside the traditional toy manufacturing heartland. We’ve traveled around and done significant leg work to conduct due diligence on factories in emerging countries. We’d be happy to help save you time and wasted effort by hooking you up with vetted suppliers in these countries. Of course there are plenty of other agents/sourcing companies out there you can talk to, but if you want us to help, just drop us a line via ‘Contact Us’ above, or go to www.kidsbrandinsight.com