Manufacturing Challenges for a High Demand Product
Surging consumer demand and rapidly broadening product distribution are clarion calls that demand an appropriate response from a manufacturer. Being fully prepared to respond to that demand before it hits is of course the ultimate goal in responsiveness. Often using multiple China factories to address mass production challenges of in-demand products is the proactive solution.
For manufacturers, producing a large supply of products on a tight turnaround time is fraught with many challenges. From that perspective, the proverbial huge order from a national retailer who needs the product on a very tight timeline is what forces a reactive “all hands on deck” approach and puts all processes under a microscope. But there are proactive measures that can be taken into consideration well in advance that can make the challenges much more manageable.
Understanding A Factories Capabilities
There are a number of steps that can be implemented to speed the rate of production. But one problem that often occurs with large volume manufacturing is overwhelming the capacity at a China factory. Some factories are far better than others in absorbing this condition. If a factory is very good with handling small production volumes and numerous manufacturing projects (a hallmark of our industry in recent years), then their ability to handle a much larger production run of games over a tight timeline becomes highly questionable. For example, limited numbers of skilled machine operators and assembly workers are substantial challenges in absorbing high volume production demand and effectively managing overall capacity.
Large production runs can certainly be added to the schedule, but the problem comes with the time it takes in getting those quantities of products produced correctly and shipped out on time. Missing deadlines with national retailers and losing out on consumer demand (think their ever-shortening attention spans) oftentimes puts a severe crimp on sales opportunities and ultimately product life cycles.
The solution (and anticipating this issue far in advance) is where GPI’s production management capabilities shine. Balancing production demand with manufacturing capacity is absolutely critical. It’s one thing to throw a lot of production demand at a single factory, but yet another to know if a particular factory can handle it. One of these steps for managing peak demand includes utilizing a second factory for simultaneous manufacturing, or at the very least knowing which products are right for which factories to produce.
Anticipating Issues and Utilizing Resources
GPI works very closely with multiple factory partners, and we vet them very closely. This approach aids tremendously in several areas:
- sourcing components that require specialized manufacturing processes
- access to a wide variety of materials and components
- syncing product quality requirements to the appropriate factory
- meeting the criteria of factory certification requirements
- and above all managing production capacity
Managing the process of sourcing multiple components from several factories, overseeing manufacturing quality control standards, and coordinating schedules is no small task. And it’s the reason why GPI involves multiple internal team members with individual specialties (product design, manufacturing, freight, testing standards, etc.) on any individual manufacturing assignment.
Simultaneous manufacturing of a product across more than one factory is effectively an insurance policy against production capacity challenges with a given factory. In short, typically two factories are set up with the same artwork files, materials are matched (sometimes from the same suppliers), die-cut tools are duplicated, and preproduction samples are provided by both factories for customer approvals. Some of the time, all this gets put in place with one tooling (set up) charge to the customer.
For the right product, having the second factory ready to move directly into production is GPI’s method for staying on track to meet production demand and reduce the potential for problems in the later stages of the schedule.