At the Canton Fair I visited a pest control product booth and decided to go visit its factory.
The factory was outside Shenzhen in a district with lots of other factories. The town was like I had imagined a factory town would look like. It wasn’t nearly as nice as the city, the living conditions looked neglected, and the roads were difficult to navigate. After making the 45-minute taxi drive out of the city, it took another hour for my taxi driver to find the location because the roads make no sense.
Mark and I were greeted by a sales woman who looked like she was 14; she said she was 25. She didn’t speak any english, but Mark was there to translate. She took us to the second floor and let us walk the factory line.
It was a small operation with about 12 employees per line, totaling four lines. The workers looked like they were in their 20s or 30s. The factory floor was about half the length of basketball court and not nearly as wide. There was no shipping dock, or sophisticated warehouse to store inventory–just an extra room. You could tell they used a pallet jack to take products down an elevator, very rudimentary.
This factory is essentially an assembly line; all of the parts are brought in from other factories. It was disappointing because I wasn’t able to have a great conversation about creating slight product variations. When I think of a factory I typically think of machines, but this was just people putting stuff together. In order to make product modifications I will have to follow up with the manufacturer by email.
My hope is that by visiting the factory I have shown them how serious I am about working with the company and hopefully I’ve built a stronger relationship.