Does geography matter when choosing a manufacturing location?
When it comes to finding a suitable manufacturing location for your drinks packaging production, one of the biggest decisions that you may encounter is whether to locate your manufacturing.
Having nearly 30 years of experience when building a network of trade partners across the globe, we’re continually learning about useful factors that are important to consider when making your decision.
Ultimately, we do think it matters – but choosing your ideal partner all comes down to your brand’s priorities. To help you with your thinking, let’s unpack some of the considerations and debunk any lingering myths while we’re at it too.
Minding the cost of production
Let’s use China as an example location. The country has a large and well-established manufacturing industry, so it’s not a surprise to learn that the most compelling draw is a saving in labour, material and process costs – a particularly attractive factor when dealing with large production volumes.
However, be careful here. A common misconception is that production in Europe comes at a much higher cost, and this isn’t always the case.
By having an upfront discussion on your needs and budget, a high-quality production partner will work with you to provide cost-effective, high quality solutions that best achieve your objectives.
Supply chain resilience
Of course, with the COVID pandemic, ongoing geopolitical tensions, the increasing urgency of sustainability, and speedy turnaround requirements have changed the way we think about globalisation and multi-country supply chains.
Where we may previously have been guided by cost minimisation, more high-performing brands are prioritising supply chain resilience and reliability in ensuring smooth, high-quality delivery for their customers.
China has arguably developed a strong reputation for quick turnaround times – with unforeseen delays and costs associated with multi-country supply chains, such as tax and freight implications, as well as cultural differences in working times, sourcing suppliers closer to home is now becoming a more practical and effective model of production than it previously was.
For example, during the Chinese New Year holiday, all factories close and employees go on holiday for at least two weeks. This can cause significant delays on orders and have immeasurable impact on your project as productions is halted, and suppliers become uncontactable.
Quality control and relationships
Where geographical proximity was once a pre-requisite for building strong relationships with your partners, virtual meetings are becoming a norm in the business environment and helping to break these barriers down for globalised working. So it no longer needs to be the barrier it once was.
Saying that, the advantage of being able to easily visit production sites and check processes and resulting quality of goods, can’t go amiss.
One thing to challenge is a historical ‘wariness’ of the quality of production that is labelled ‘made in China’. Our experience is that if you do your due diligence in identifying reputable, high-quality suppliers, you’ll be able to see that the quality and standards can be incomparable.
Alternatively, if you’re in the drinks manufacturing industry this assurance forms part of the deal when working with us. We’ll always liaise with our trade partners across Europe and China, to ensure the packaging and embellishments we design and produce with you undergo rigorous assessment in the UK – an extra precaution to mitigate any risk arising.
How much does your production partner incorporate sustainable practices into their processes? Don’t forget to compare the impact of having distribution hubs with longer transportation cycles that heighten the cost of production on the environment.
You may want to prioritise the reduction of unnecessary emissions associated with shipping goods long distances or lowering emissions associated with production in countries with less stringent production-related emissions guidelines. There are many tools available for you to help you understand this comparison, like greenly.earth or normative.io
So… what are your priorities?
There is no one size fits all for companies. It all comes down to what your priorities are as a business, and let that guide your decision. Everything else can be mitigated with solid relationship management, proper due diligence, and continual operational oversight.
As a growing business with multiple packaging solutions, we have trusted specialist production sites across Europe and China to give us diversity across our product offer as well as provide us greater resilience, stability and control over production.
Ultimately, it’s important to do your research and consider all the pros and cons before making a decision. And if you have any questions, we’re here to help.
We’d love to find out more about your product or brand and we’d be delighted to arrange a consultation to discuss your product embellishment needs – simply fill in the form and we’ll be in touch.
Alternatively, give us a call on 01733 396080