Whether you agree with the ideal of it or not, it is hard to argue that the main appeal of manufacturing in China has long been it’s less than expensive labor force. Many companies outside of China have carried this assumption to the bank, so to speak, but in the words of the great Bob Dylan, “times, they are a-changin”.
With the blooming of the next generation of Chinese labor force, it can go without saying that the aforementioned advantage is not exactly here to stay. Laborers demand more pay, and are even willing to go so far as to quit jobs in order to secure this individual and social ideal. So if cheap labor is no longer the go to play for outsourcing to China, how can Chinese manufacturing avoid collapsing under it’s own weight? Here’s a few tips we think will help:
Rather than continue to point fingers and lay blame on external sources, it would behoove the industry as a whole to accept that the old business model is indeed the old business model. Change isn’t coming; change is here, and as with all of life, whether business or otherwise, if you don’t adapt, collapse is imminent.
2) Be Patient with Employees
A new generation of laborers is filling the ranks of China’s work force every day, and with them come new ideals and values, evolved from the basis of traditional Chinese culture. A more defined sense of individuality is coming to the forefront of this new generation’s thinking, and with it, the idea of long hours with less than appealing pay is becoming further and further from acceptable. As with most developed countries, labor morale is intimately tied to labor compensation. Money won’t always solve all questions, but a patient ear and willingness to respect the individual as well as the community will go a long long way.
3) Don’t Abandon the Domestic Labor Force
One need look no further than the US’ own labor debacle to find ample statistics supporting this tip. I can’t recall the amount of times I’ve heard in my youth the damnation of our government and corporate sector outsourcing jobs to other countries just because the labor was cheaper. With China becoming the economic powerhouse that it is, the temptation to follow suit is an inevitability; however, the proof is in the pudding. If you abandon your workers, your workers will abandon you…and will do so for generations to come. It sort of just sticks like that.