The short answer: yes, and China is getting better at it.
Years ago, China’s sweet spot was in applying labour to high-volume jobs. Factory owners wanted huge orders of the same thing (“just tell me when to stop producing”). Today, the manufacturing landscape has changed and customers are demanding shorter production runs and more flexibility. “Job shop” or low-volume production is becoming more common and more successful as creative problem-solvers get involved on the production floor.
Example: A decade ago we would have advised against small batch production in China—but this is changing. Back then, China wasn’t ready.
However, recently a client in the digital imagery industry required structures and fixtures to ensure image capture repeatability. CMD engineered a solution which was successfully produced by a cluster of committed job shops, resulting in a flexible and cost-effective solution for the client’s global customers.
The bottom line: With the influx of flexible tooling and 3-D printing, and a solutions-based mindset, China is growing capabilities to handle smaller batches. As manufacturing matures and as clients demand more frequent design changes, smaller production runs, and extremely tight development times—solutions can be orchestrated with a growing number of capable job shop manufacturers in China.
Job Shops Rising in China from Christina Li on Vimeo.
Nobody wants to lock up working capital in excess production. Finding opportunities for small batch manufacturing can give you a flexible and diverse product mix you need without the risk of overproducing. Contact CMD today to find more opportunities to optimize Chinese manufacturing and accelerate your business.