2021 has been an eventful year, to say the least! Here at Sofeast, we have continued to publish regular blog posts in order to provide advice for everyone who has outsourced manufacturing, supply chains in Asia, new products in development, and more.
With the pandemic still raging, access to many Asian countries has been difficult for importers, so we’ve tried to keep lines of communication open in the blog, as well as professionally acting as your ‘boots on the ground’ here for many clients requiring inspections, audits, sourcing, product testing, R&D, etc.
In case you’ve missed some of our top posts this year, here are the top 10 in ascending order of engagement…
Top 10 blog posts of 2021
In September 2021, 10 provinces on China’s East coast forced their manufacturing sector to suffer power cuts. Even our own Dongguan contract manufacturing facility, in South China, was without power during the daytime on Monday and Tuesday this week.
Widespread power rationing is having a profound impact on the manufacturing industry that is gearing up for a busy Q4 period. And, by extension, on their overseas customers.
We try to make sense of it all here and offer some tips for you if your supply chain is affected by the power cuts in China. (Note: fortunately, it was less of an issue that we feared in the last 2 months of 2021.)
IP protection is always a concern for businesses and entrepreneurs, especially when manufacturing an innovative new product. Chinese copycats, or fast followers, are a threat to your new product and business as these vendors may mobilize quickly to copy and produce it, and bury your online presence with a deluge of ads, pages, videos, etc.
Let’s explore how these Chinese copycats operate with a real example so you can be aware of the risk. We’ll also look at some ways to protect your IP, too…
What are the best practices for tooling management (specifically for plastic injection molds) in China?
Closely following up on the design & fabrication of molds for your plastic injection molded products is often necessary for a number of reasons:
- It is often a significant investment, and it is not always easy & cheap to fix;
- Delays at this stage will certainly cause delays for your entire project;
- Good tooling that is properly validated goes a long way toward good quality production.
In this post, we’ll outline some of the key risks you face when manufacturing and managing your tooling for plastic injection molds.
This is the only series of posts that makes it into this year’s top 10. We’ve been analyzing the costs of common raw materials obtained in China, such as brass, ABS plastic, batteries, paper for boxes, silicone, and stainless steel.
Prices have been up and down during 2021, often up, so it is helpful to be able to demonstrate the current costs and you can follow the evolution of them in these posts to help make your sourcing decisions.
It’s common to see news of large multinationals moving manufacturing out of China to countries like India and Vietnam, such as Apple, for instance.
Based on the Economist’s report ‘Rising star: Vietnam’s role in Asia’s shifting supply chains,’ I created an assessment of manufacturing in China vs Vietnam with a focus on Vietnam as the location for at least some of your supply chain.
A helpful post for businesses who’re exploring diversifying supply chains out of China.
Chinese suppliers are prone to over-promising on their ability to handle orders. This is all very well, and some positivity from a supplier is not necessarily a bad thing, but a lack of supplier production capacity can cause quality, delivery, and cost issues down the line; not to mention upsetting your customers who won’t get their products when promised.
So, production capacity has quite a fundamental effect on your business on the whole.
I caught up with Sofeast’s COO, Fabien Gaussorgues, to discuss supply chain endangering risks importers from China are very likely to face in January 2021. Together we compiled this post based on our observations which includes the issues you face (for example, shipping capacity constraints), what causes them, their effects on your business, and our tips for how to mitigate each issue’s negative effects.
The advice given is still relevant today even though we’re a year on from this post being published!
Here at Sofeast, we take IP protection of our customers’ products, designs, supply chains, and information very seriously, so we’d never suggest creating an NNN agreement that is toothless.
But some NNN agreements, perhaps drafted by lawyers in the West who have a limited understanding of what it takes to get products manufactured abroad in China or Vietnam, for example, are so draconian that most suppliers will not sign them and work with you.
If your goal is to manufacture your new product, or even simply to check the quality of workmanship from a supplier, then your legal agreements need to be strong enough to have ‘teeth’ if needed, but not so strict that suppliers will refuse to sign. If the latter occurs, you’re still at square one as you’re unable to fulfil your needs and get started.
Logistics have been in a mess in 2021. You have probably already been affected by delays and cost rises. Let’s review the situation.
Chiefly, Covid-19 is at fault, as it caused a double whammy effect:
- A drop in shipping volume forecast and poor geographical distribution of shipping containers.
- A boom in online shopping and, more recently, demand for even more stock as brick-and-mortar stores open up following the many global lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, too.
Let’s explore some of the issues that have led to this supply chain crunch we’re currently going through and then why shipping bottlenecks are getting even worse in Asia right now…
A question we’re often asked by SMEs who are trying to source electronic component suppliers in China is if it’s possible to find someone who can source suppliers who’re the ‘best’ in the market and also get the ‘best price’ possible.
How realistic is this?
We source suppliers for some of our customers, so here’s our take on this…
Chinese New Year is one of the most challenging times of year for importers with some or all of their supply chain in China or other East-Asian countries (like Vietnam) who celebrate it, too. In this episode of the podcast, we discuss when CNY is in 2022, how and why it can cause disruption to your supply, and some of the tactics you can follow to prepare for it and get through the time period with minimal negative effects, such as planning your inventory in advance.
With Chinese New Year on the way in early 2022 now is a great time to listen to this episode and get ready for the disruption it can bring.
Thanks for reading the blog in 2021, we’ll be back in 2022 with even more great posts! Please comment and let us know what you’d like us to blog about!