Which Country Should You Manufacture Your Display In—China vs. Mexico vs. the U.S.
After months of supply chain issues, it’s no surprise that businesses are starting to question where the best place to manufacture their products is at the moment. For years, China has been the obvious choice, but after shipping delays and increased shipping costs, among other things, many have started to reexamine manufacturing in the U.S. or Mexico. It’s a big question—which country should you manufacture your display in? What really are the advantages and disadvantages of each country? Let me break it down for you!
United States Manufacturing
The decline of manufacturing in the U.S. in many industries is a familiar story now. We haven’t seen a lot of improvement in the past year or so either, with the recent pandemic and inflation. The hourly rate for factory workers has skyrocketed to a point that a lot of factories have had to close their doors—and raw materials have tripled in price, so the few factories left in the U.S. have had to raise their prices by 50%. Especially in the display industry, we’ve seen a lot of factory closures.
However, there is still a place for U.S. factories. Concord Displays has had orders where a client has a deadline for a national campaign. In such cases, manufacturing in the U.S. or Mexico can get displays to market quicker and reduce shipping time. Keep this in mind when considering which country should you manufacture your display in.
What about Mexico? Mexico’s manufacturing pricing is normally between the U.S. and China, and the country is obviously closer than China. One drawback we have found is that for some Mexican manufacturers, the hand welding and packaging is a bit subpar. Concord Displays deals with custom displays and the making of custom parts, so we need to make sure our beautiful design displays arrive to market looking as good as our 3D renderings. However, we have some excellent manufacturing partners in Mexico!
Our Mexican partner has over 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space, and they revamped their plant about five years ago to mirror the Toyota method of manufacturing. This means that Toyota experts came in to overhaul the entire plant, from the receiving of raw materials to loading trucks for shipping. Toyota still comes to inspect each year to certify that the plant has not slipped in any of the departments. So with the right manufacturers, Mexico can be a great option!
Now we get to China manufacturing. Yes, they are the least expensive of all three countries. Most people think that it is all about their labor rates, but it also has to do with their raw material contracts. The Chinese government wants to make sure that the plants have plenty of raw materials, and they do this with 5- to 10-year contracts with suppliers that guarantee the material will be available. China has worked hard to get rid of the quality stigma they had in the past. Over the last 10 to 15 years, China has taken measures to improve their quality to resemble that of the U.S. Currently their packaging is as good as any in the U.S.
Most China plants are very large, employing hundreds to thousands of people. This allows China to manufacture very large quantities in the same 4 to 5 weeks.
The downside is the timing. With some projects, customers have difficulty getting past how long it takes to ship from China. The sail time for a container (how long it is on the water) is 3 weeks, and the time to get through customs and the port is 1 week. However, the pandemic and supply chain issues around the world made processing through port and customs lead times at 8 to 10 weeks. And there have also been port strikes that extend the processing time from 1 week to—who knows? So keep shipping time in mind when thinking about doing your manufacturing in China!
Which Country to Use?
To sum it up, each country has its pros and cons. I feel that there is a need and a place for all three countries. What will make the decision comes down to your budget and timing, and the needs of your project.
Working with an experienced product display manufacturer will help you navigate the complexities of manufacturing and shipping. Here at Concord Displays, we guide you every step of the way, and we have the depth of experience in the industry to know exactly which factory to use. We can help you decide country should you manufacture your display in! Talk to us about all of your POP display needs. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 626.824.3776.
About Concord Displays
Concord Displays is your single-source partner for in-store merchandising, POP displays and retail signage. We have thirty years of exceeding client expectations by delivering impactful POP display design and manufacturing service at a surprisingly affordable price.