There is no doubt outsourcing production and manufacturing can be beneficial, but in today’s day and age is it really a good idea?
Here’s a look at ten reasons why outsourcing overseas may do more damage to your brand than you expect:
There will always be a problem.
It doesn’t matter where you are producing your goods. Unless they are 100% under your control then expect problems. Things are rarely on time and even more so when there are language barrier issues. Expect delays and problems ahead of time and leave wiggle room in your lead times, accordingly.
Quality assurance (QA) issues are abundant.
Their goal is to get paid (and keep as much as possible). There is no long-term plan and they could care less about your vision. Unless you can afford to have someone watch over production full-time; expect mistakes and lots of them. As the old saying goes “you get what you pay for”.
You may be indirectly supporting slave labor and unsafe work conditions.
This is especially true when outsourcing production and manufacturing in developing countries. Many of the workers making the products are working in unsafe conditions or work for little pay. This is not uncommon.
In fact, when it comes to consumer electronics reports surveying 39 of the world’s biggest tech companies“found that of the big electronic firms like Apple, Microsoft, Sony and Samsung, only Nokia can prove that it pays its factory workers a living wage…” (iDigitalTimes) Not to mention, workers in developing countries are often in or around toxic waste, breathing in harmful chemicals with little to no protection.
Lead times are long and transport is no better.
Time is money. Waiting months for products you could have produced locally for a couple bucks more may not make sense. Waiting a month or two to produce a product and another 30 days for shipping is not ideal if you don’t have the resources to support lengthy lead times.
You’re not saving as much money as you think.
The per piece price might look good on paper, but by time you consider long lead times, import/brokerage, shipping and other fees you may be spending around the same as it would cost to produce locally (where you can ensure quality and forgo the headache).
You might get ripped off.
Overseas manufacturing frauds and scams are a business reality. You’re often just another email address and fraudsters know, just as well as you do, the odds of you jumping on a plane and searching them out is slim to none. While the majority of overseas manufacturers are honest and simply trying to make a living, it still happens all of the time.
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