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September 2, 2011 AT 12:00 am

“Why we left our factories in China”

 2011 06 Sleek Audio Sa7 Headphones1

“Why we left our factories in China” @ Forbes

Sleek Audio’s costs are about 15% to 20% higher because of the move back, but the company’s redesign of earphones that replaced a formerly Chinese-made plastic component with U.S.-made high-end aluminum, titanium and special carbon fiber, resulted in a higher quality product that justifies the price. It not only gets a “Made in USA” label, but Sleek Audio’s redesign of the SA7 earphone won a 2011 Best of Innovation award from the 2011 Consumer Electronics Association. “Even though there’s a tremendous cost savings when you go to China, in the end it really isn’t that much,” says Mark. “It’s the hidden costs — the delays, the shipping costs, you pick all that up on a learning curve.

We try to feature stories about making things in the USA as well as China with a whole spectrum of experiences for both, interesting article.


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4 Comments

  1. Wired magazine featured an article on the same topic a couple of months ago:
    http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/02/ff_madeinamerica/

    Greetings,
    David

  2. I don’t know what it does, but man is that thing sexy and mysterious looking. Making things that work is easy, making things that work well and that you want to use is something altogether different!

  3. Just as side note … the last comment in that article matches my own experience. China is undeniably cheaper and you can’t compete with their manufacturing efficiency, but the financial difference when you look at the bigger picture is actually a lot smaller than you might think once you take into account time and money lost because of the language/communication barrier, the inability to be involved directly in the process ($5K minimum for an emergency trip to Shenzhen), and the additional hassle of importing foreign made goods into Europe (you can avoid many problems by remaining in the EU and be sure certain regulations are respected, etc.). I’d put the price difference between in EU manufacturing and manufacturing in China and importing at somewhere between 15-20% if you look at the bigger picture. That can mean the difference between a sucessful product and a commercial failure today, but the difference is a lot smaller than some people thing, particularly with steadily rising salaries and production costs in China.

  4. Certainly an interesting read, I order a lot of stuff from china as a consumer because it’s cheap enough to justify, especially since I’m a uni student and usually if it breaks, it won’t cost much to replace.

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