Over the last several years I have visited numerous manufacturing plants in China.  I have visited various cities ranging from Wenzhou to Qingdao and many more in between.  The factories that I typically visit are small to mid size.  On numerous occasions I have seen many factories that seem to be overstaffed.  I don’t claim to be a productivity expert, but I have a knack for achieving efficiency/ productivity gains.  So when I see obviously overstaffed factories it make me wonder.  The general manager / factory managers I visit are smart business people.  I know they see the same labor inefficiencies that I view, yet they don’t seem to be pushing for productivity gains.  While I speak a few words of Mandarin I am not able to really have a thorough discussion on this subject with my factory hosts, plus I don’t want to seem rude telling someone else how they can make their business more profitable.  Anyone have any ideas?  I often wonder if there are incentives for them to hire more people than needed.

Rindge Leaphart