Category Archives: China

China’s Lean Journey

China’s Lean Journey by Dennis J. Stamm:

The lean initiative in China is still in its infancy, and not every company in China is inclined to invest in the latest technology, but the challenge from China to our manufacturing base is not likely to get any easier to meet. Modernization and Lean manufacturing are trends that will gain momentum as China meets increasing challenges from other low cost producers.

Related: China’s Manufacturing EconomyManufacturing Jobs Data: USA and ChinaEngineering Education: China, India and the USA

IT Outsourcing Slowing

Outsourcing bubble getting Busted: What should India do? – commenting on the 2006 Global IT Outsourcing Study

Essentially the study says the outsourcing IT will continue to grow though more slowly than it has. It also states the benefits of outsourcing have not reached the level that was predicted for a number of reasons. The study predicts vastly increased competition from China for IT outsourcing work (which reinforces the general consensus).

Perhaps most interesting, however, is the phenomenal growth in the expectations of China as an outsourcing destination. In 2004 only 8 percent of study participants expected to be outsourcing anything to China over a 3–5 year period. In 2005 this number had grown to 40 percent and in 2006 it sits at an impressive 56 percent. We believe that the hype of the Chinese outsourcing phenomenon has potentially outpaced reality.

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China’s Manufacturing Economy

Brad Setser posts on manufacturing comparisons: Have China’s manufacturing powers been exaggerated?

I am all for pushing against over-generalizations that get repeated so often that they become conventional wisdom. The oft-stated argument that France isn’t growing is one example. In fact, France has grown faster than either Germany or Italy over the past few years, and France grew for the same reason the US grew: soaring real estate prices have pumped up domestic demand.

But I would submit that the real story here is the growth in China’s conventional wisdom to improve our understanding of the real situation. I agree with him that the growth in China’s manufacturing sector is the most important story.

But, to me, that story is so over-reported that many get the wrong impression. Continue reading

Manufacturing Jobs Data: USA and China

Manufacturing Productivity and the Shifting US, China, and Global Job Scenes-1990 to 2005 (working paper – July 2005) by William Ward, Clemson University:

Manufacturing productivity growth from 1990 to 2004 should have taken away 7.5 million of the 17.7 million manufacturing jobs that existed in the US in 1990, while GDP growth should have added back (at the new productivity levels of 2004) 5.7 million manufacturing jobs-for a net loss of 1.8 million. In fact, the US economy lost 3.3 million manufacturing jobs during that period

I find that 100% of the (3.0 million) manufacturing jobs lost since 2000 were lost to manufacturing productivity growth and that 100% of the (1.8 million) jobs that should have been added back by GDP growth in the US after 2000 were shifted to other sectors of the US economy than manufacturing.

In this paper he is examines the factors leading to a reduction in manufacturing job worldwide. He concludes that job losses are mainly due to increased manufacturing productivity (worldwide, manufacturing productivity is increasing and jobs are decreasing – including China). Continue reading

Toyota in China: Full Speed Ahead

Toyota in China: Full Speed Ahead, Business Week. Yoshimi Inaba, who’s driving the Japanese auto maker’s expansion in the Middle Kingdom, discusses the Chinese market and his goals there. Toyota’s market share is just 3.5% in China, compared to 13% in the U.S. and more than 40% at home in Japan.

We’re a minor player in the China market, with a 3.5% share, but we’re one of the few manufacturers where demand exceeds supply. Even though we see big potential for growth, we will make sure we’re not in a position of overcapacity. That will be a very key element. And as long as you retain the quality, treat dealers as partners, and avoid oversupply, the results will come. The race for the Chinese market is just around the first corner.

Lean Manufacturing Success

K&S makes first shipment to China by Buzz Ball

The award was given for K&S Wire’s continuous improvement in manufacturing excellence and its implementation of “lean” enterprise principles into its everyday operations.

It is because of these principles that Schwartz was able to make the announcement about the shipment to China.

“We took the order to construct 111,000 wire frames that will hold flip-flops,” said Schwartz. “Because of our ‘lean’ principles, our price was better than could be found in China. This is a first for us and I hope we will have many more in the future.”

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La-Z-Boy Lean

La-Z-Boy changing production lines to compete with China:

But in an attempt to better compete with the overseas market, the Neosho plant, along with six others in its division, is transitioning to the Lean Cellular Manufacturing method. In the new concept, the chair or sofa is manufactured by a team within a cell, thus eliminating separate departments. No jobs will be lost in the transition from batch-and-queue to lean cellular.

“Basically, we will have teams building the chairs from start to finish,” said La-Z-Boy Midwest Human Relations Manager Billy Meyer. “Right now, we have three cells up and running, but by the end of the transition, we will have 37 cells.”

Great news. It is good when companies take the improvement strategy to cope with changes in the marketplace.
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Global Manufacturing Data by Country

I am still looking for a good source for manufacturing data by country and year. Today I found some data from the United Nations Statistics Division. The data for the top five manufacturing economies: China, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom and United States. Figures are in current $US billion. The data used is for Mining, Manufacturing and Utilities (because China and Germany do not have manufacturing data separated out).

Country 2001 2002 2003 2004
United States 1,781 1,779 1,876 2,012
Japan 991 929 1017
China 507 551 638 754
Germany 421 449 545 613
United Kingdom 280 283 322 378

For manufacturing output only:

Country 2001 2002 2003 2004
United States 1,460 1,463 1,523 1,623
Japan 866 812 894
United Kingdom 220 223 254 298

This data shows the United States manufacturing economy is continuing to grow and is solidly the largest manufacturing economy: which contradicts what many believe. It is true manufacturing jobs are decreasing in the United States and worldwide – China is losing far more manufacturing jobs than the USA.
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China now the 5th Largest Economy

China’s Economy Grew 9.9% in 2005, Overtaking France

China’s economy grew 9.9 percent in 2005, overtaking France as the world’s fifth largest, powered by exports and investment in factories, roads and power plants.

Gross domestic product rose to 18.2 trillion yuan ($2.3 trillion) after expanding 10.1 percent in 2004, statistics bureau commissioner Li Deshui said today in Beijing. Investment in urban areas jumped 27.2 percent last year, he said.

2003 data, from Geohive (their source the World Bank):

United States: $10.9 trillion
Japan: $4.3 trillion
Germany: $2.4 trillion
United Kingdom: $1.8 trillion
France: $1.7 trillion
Italy: $1.5 trillion
China: $1.4 trillion
Spain: $.8 trillion
Canada: $.8 trillion
Mexico: $.6 trillion
South Korea: $.6 trillion
India: $.6 trillion

Related posts:

America’s Manufacturing Future

A Wake-up Call From Asia [the broken link was removed] by Patricia Panchak [the broken link was removed]:

China and India very aggressively are pursuing advanced manufacturing. Increasingly, China’s exports to the U.S. are composed of advanced-technology products.

J.P. Morgan said it would add 4,500 employees in India by the year 2007, mainly by setting up operations in Bangalore to support its growing structured finance and derivatives businesses globally. Such jobs are not the simple, low-value call-center work that up to now we’ve associated with this developing economy. And J.P. Morgan isn’t alone; UBS and Goldman Sachs earlier made similar announcements.

From my previous post, Relative Engineering Economic Positions:

The hope some retained that the United States would retain the highest end work and others would work on the less complex work is not what the future holds. The future will prove to be an international marketplace where the United States is a significant but not dominant player. That future can still be bright but it requires a different vision than one in which American dominance is taken as a given.

The challenges to USA manufacturing will continue. The best hope, as I see it, for retaining manufacturing leadership in the USA is through increasing the adoption of management improvement methods including lean manufacturing.

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