By Jacob Yount
Lots of factory closures in China for environmental reviews are happening right now.
In other words the government has made their decree and now factories, workshops, whoever is working in questionable merchandise is facing review. See article in Bloomberg BNA.
What started with inspections in the Hebei region around heavily polluted Beijing—and where 176,000 small businesses could be forced to close by the end of September—was extended to all four major municipalities and 10 provinces as of Aug. 2.
Whilst they’re under review, they are closed.
No business going in or out.
Out to lunch, gon’ fishin’.
That’s what I’m hearing on the streets. Well not the streets but from my network there, suppliers and wife who’s constantly on WeChat getting the scoop.
One of our RFQ’s from this week…
Went forward just fine. Then after discussing with the vendor, they THEN let me know they’re under review. Good thing I asked, right?
Factory closures are all around them too.
So during this time don’t take a quote from a factory to mean they CAN indeed supply. They may quote you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re able to fulfill.
This goes without saying, right? Duh. But it’s changing even more fast and furious. When the Chinese government decides to act, they act swift and far reaching. Many factories are bummed about closures, but I’m also hearing rejoicings from the average Joe (Zhou) that there are already more and more blue sky evidences.
Do you know how little blue sky is actually seen in some of those manufacturing hubs?
Hell, forget the manufacturing hubs; even in rural, unknown cities and townships with unrestrained factories, it affects the sky.
What was once stable may abruptly change.
We’ve had one project going on for month; quoting, sampling, etc… Finally the client pulls the trigger on the sample and it’s going just fine.
But this week we hear they may not be able to finish the sample; because they’re shut down. And they don’t know when they can open again.
Raw material vendors, shut down. Factory closures affecting assembly shops. It’s down the line.
These factory closures may turn out to be nothing, but what to learn?
Don’t put all of your sourcing and product line eggs in one basket.
China and the US may have a trade war. That’s an extreme example, but it’s possible. Regardless of what you think of either side’s leadership, both don’t seem to be scared to break eggs to make an omelet if you know what I’m sayin’.
But, and on a longterm positive note, it’s time China cleaned their act up. And I mean this literally.
Are the products that you source junk and if the world woke up tomorrow and didn’t have them, would they be any the worse off?
Your product line; is it sustainable or just getting in below the wire waiting for something to change? In other words with one shift in policy, factory closures, or whatever would you be faced with an emergency?
Remember, whether you’re manufacturing in China or whatever nation, be mindful that real people live there who have real land.
Don’t let your product be part of the problem.
You don’t necessarily have to produce the next product that’s going to cure a terrible disease (although that would be awesome).
At the least, we could try to focus on stuff that’s not further adding more junk to an overly crowded planet.
Jacob Yount lived in China from 2001 to 2012, during which time he started JLmade. He is now based out of North Carolina in the US and his home office is still in Suzhou, China; manufacturing and exporting branded merchandise, promotional products and retail gifts for distributors worldwide. Contact Jacob at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find him on his blog.