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Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

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Anonymous

I am wondering about the possibilities of game manufacturing in various parts of the world.

I assume that in general you pay much more to get things made in the US/Canada as opposed to China (cheap Commi labour :wink: ) but that it might be a pretty serious hassle to get it made overseas. What are people's experiences with these?

If it is cheaper overseas, do you take a hit in sales by not having the 'Made in the US' label on it?

Do you lose your manufacturing savings in shipping and duty?

Is it worth the hassle?

What is the best place to look for overseas manufacturing? China? Hong Kong? Taiwan? S. Korea? Mexico? Puerto Rico? Russia? India?

Verseboy
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Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

I have yet to publish a game (and don't expect to), but I do publish books, quilt books. Some of the cinsiderations I face might be instructive for you.

The industry is filled with books printed in Asia. I live in Grinnell, Iowa and print in Des Moines (an hour away) or Dubuque (3 hours away). I got bids once on doing a book in Asia. I found no savings in going overseas. Then, when I look at the intangibles, it's a no-brainer to stay right here.

Turnaround time is 2-4 weeks from when I submit the disks. That's the time for me to have finished product in my hands.

I don't have to deal with container loads, sea freight, or customs.

I can easily go and do a press check without turning my life upside down or hoping against hope they just get it right.

Shipping bluelines and such back and forth for approval is a piece of cake.

They store my books. I bring them in from Dubuque 3 skids at a time and store them in my garage. From Des Moines I bring them in about 12 boxes at a time. My sales rep drops them off on his way home.

I can say they are made in America, but I doubt if that really sways anyone into my books over someone else's. Still, it's a nice feeling.

It's all a function of your circumstances. You need to look at what you can get here and what you can get there and consider ALL the factors that will define the relationship. For me, printing 15-20,000 quilt books at a time, staying in Iowa is the right thing to do.

Good luck wherever you end up.

Steve

Anonymous
Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

From a retail perspective, I don't think "Made in America" holds the same sway it used to. I've had one person who asked about it and he was an older gentleman looking for a set of dominoes. When I show people chess sets I always point out the Drueke boards which are made in America and are significantly better quality than any other boards I carry. People seem to appreciate the quality, I'm not sure if the Made in America label makes a difference to them.

It seems like American companies such as Mayfair (they are American, right?), are often waiting to get parts from Country_X. Tigris & Euphrates is driving me a little crazy, it's available for a little bit, then it sells out and I have to wait while they "wait to get parts from somewhere". Not sure making them in America would eliviate this problem. Hasbro was the same way, Lord of the Rings Risk took forever to get back in stock and they were waiting for them to come from China. I can't imagine how much money they lost out on running out before Christmas. Probably not as much as they would have lost making them in America, however. :)

Anonymous
Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

These are some really good points! I'm getting the feeling that it had better be a really good price to make it worthwhile going overseas! I wonder if anyone has dealt with any overseas companies or attempted to do business in this manner who could share their experiences?

I'm guessing that it might be better to do printing locally for the reasons Verseboy gave. I'm also guessing it might be worthwhile to go to China et. all for manufactured pieces... but that's just wild guessing. I'm thinking of the types of miniature soldiers you see in Eagle Games and A&A series games.

Also very good to know about the "Made in America" label being not that important anymore... being from Canada i really wasn't sure on this one, i know that people here tend to be more interested in quality/cost rather than origin of manufacture!

And with the supply issues, i guess the lesson is that if you have a game that seems to sell, make sure to order lots early in order to keep the shelves stocked!

Any other comments? Anyone know of good manufacturers overseas one could go to compare with?

nosissies
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Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

GameMonkey wrote:
These are some really good points! I'm getting the feeling that it had better be a really good price to make it worthwhile going overseas! I wonder if anyone has dealt with any overseas companies or attempted to do business in this manner who could share their experiences?

I am just starting out on this adventure myself. The primary cost components in my game is a set of wooden tiles with images printed on them (not to mention two decks of cards and packaging). I could probably do this significantly cheaper if I were to just do cardboard, but I want to at least attempt the wood for the asthetic.

I had gotten quotes from some companies in the states, but these have proved to be cost prohibitive, particularly at the very small quantities I'm interested in for a first run.

Quote:

Any other comments? Anyone know of good manufacturers overseas one could go to compare with?

I just recently discovered http://www.alibaba.com which may solve my problems. Perhaps I'm being idealistic, but I put up a request for quote for just the tiles and got back 8 responses in a couple of days, including some rough quotes which are significantly lower than what I expected (even for my small quantity of 500 units.. still 20k+ tiles). One of the companies even appears to be the company that manufactured "Octiles" for OTB's masterpiece line.

I still have no clue as to how shipping will cost/work, or how I will ensure that I'm getting what I'm asking for, but I think I'm going to see how far I can get and how comfortable I am before forking over some cash.

peace,
Tom

Anonymous
Maufacturing in China can be easy

Take a trip to the toy store, and look around. Most of the products you will see are made overseas. Made in the USA doesn't carry the weight that it once did, at least not in the toy aisle.

There are a lot of things that you need to look at before making the leap. First off, is your game designed efficiently? Are you shipping a lot of air? How many games can you cram into a cubic meter? These are factors that you need to consider before making your decision. Shipping is not as expensive as you might think, it is just best to maximize your space so that your per game shipping costs are as low as possible.

The more games you ship, and the more of a container that you fill, the more efficient it is. A 20ft. container will cost around $4,000 (at the moment) including any duties, etc. If you can get 5,000 games into this space, it will be about .80 per game to ship it to you (in the USA) from China. If you were to resize your game even further, and can now get 7,500 games in this same space, it is now $0.53 per game to ship it from China. See how space matters? Not just on a retail level?

Also, let's say you do a 40' container quantity. And you can get 15,000 games in this space. Well, based on the current estimated price of about $5,500 for this, you are now around $0.36 per game to ship it.

Now, if you are saving $2-$5.00+ per game by manufacturing it overseas, adding $0.50 or less per game for shipping, is well worth it.

Is it hard to do? If you try to manage the project yourself, it can be very hard to do.

If you need any help, please don't hesitate to contact me. Our company (Grand Prix http://www.gpi-games.com) can manage all aspects of the project for you. Essentially, we can help you by making sure your product is ready for manufacturing, manufacture it, and handle all of the freight forwarding for you. It really is quite painless.

If you want to talk about it, feel free to call me anytime: 413-543-8887 ask for John

tjgames
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Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

John
Have you posted a link to your website in the Web Resources section of this site? It be great to have it there if you already haven't. 8)

Anonymous
Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

tjgames wrote:
John
Have you posted a link to your website in the Web Resources section of this site? It be great to have it there if you already haven't. 8)

Thanks for the advice, I just added us to the link page.

Our game part division has been on there for a while, I just added a new link for our complete product, design, and development division.

Thanks!

Anonymous
Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

Wow, this is some really helpful info! Thanks guys! I can't believe i've never stumbled across that Alibaba site, it is pretty amazing! Nosissies, have you had any luck with the bids that came in over Alibaba yet?

Also, the info on containers is very helpful for calculation of costs, thanks blkdog7. I was wondering though, what are the other dimensions of a container (other than its length)? And does this just cover getting it from one port to another? Does it involve getting it to the port, loading it up, unloading it from the ship and transporting it to the warehouse? What is involved here? When you say that the price includes duties, wouldn't this be dependant on the value of the goods contained within?

I believe you when you say that it is a pretty complicated process, but i think it would help myself and other game designers to have an idea of what's involved, even if we end up going with a company such as yours to handle it in the end.

nosissies
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Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

hmm... firstly one would have to define "luck" ;-)

At this point I've gotten about 6 quotes. Two of which I can't really count as they obviously don't understand what they are bidding on. Probably just a communication issue. Of the other four, three have been from China, one from Turkey. The one from Turkey was about 10 times more expensive than the cheapest one from China. The Turkey quote is also pretty close to the quotes I got in the states.

But as blkdog7 would remind us (and any other publisher on this site would likely concur) there is much more involved in this than just getting the quote. Not the least of which is ensuring that you are actually getting what you think you're getting. Though it is pretty exciting to see numbers coming back which are comfortably within my budget.

Not much more I can say at this point, but I'll be sure to update the crew here when I make the next step.

Oh, and "pros" out there, feel free to try and talk some sense into me!

peace,
Tom

VeritasGames
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Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

Anyone got some overseas playing card manufacturers that gave them good price quotes?

Anonymous
Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

I'm looking for a manufacturer in Mexico. Does anyone have any leads?

seo
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Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

blkdog7 wrote:
The more games you ship, and the more of a container that you fill, the more efficient it is.

OTOH, if you are looking for small rounds (1000, 500, even 200), you might benefit from printing in a small market used to those kind of figures. Here in Uruguay you'll be able to find excellent printers for small quantities, at a really good price.

But then you have a not so efficient freight cost. And there's the very reasonable fear of not being able to be on site to supervise the production, which is a backside.

I've thought more than once about starting a company for games or game printed pieces production here to foreign customers. I think it might be succesfull if I can reach a small run market (if such a market really exists). I would handle the production supervision, as this is part of what I do for a living as a graphic designer. I know very trustable printers, so that side of the business would be relatively easy to implement. But then, I know nothing about exporting products, freights, etc., so every time I begun thinking about this idea I end up leaving it for some time later, when I have the time to do some research about all those issues (as if I'll ever have the time!).

Anyway, what I wanted to say is that printing costs for small runs might make overseas production make sense if you need small runs too. It's all about finding the right price.

As for which country might be best, you might want to look in Ireland. They used to have some big tax exemptions for printed products. Corel used to print their manuals in Ireland for this reason.

Seo

jwarrend
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Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

Grendel wrote:
From a retail perspective, I don't think "Made in America" holds the same sway it used to.

Perhaps it ought to? I don't want to get super-political here, but I think it's on-topic. I mean, doesn't it seem very imprudent for us to be pumping so much money into the economy of a nation who we are perhaps going to end up at war with 20 years from now, just to save a couple of bucks?

Now, I'm not trying to be holier-than-thou, and goodness knows I don't aggressively "buy American" myself. I'm simply saying that, given the choice between two equivalent items, perhaps the nod should go to the American product, for a variety of reasons, and perhaps if we all tried to be more conscientious about this, in the long run "Made in America" would start to matter again.

I'm not sure this kind of consideration applies to games, for a few reasons. The first is, of course, that games don't sell based on where they were manufactured, but rather, how enjoyable they are to play, etc. And second, I'm not sure the quality we've come to expect from German games can really be duplicated by American companies (though I'm not sure about this), and certainly not in a cost-effective way. My sense is that most of the companies that could produce games are really looking more at the mass market games than the hobby market that our games represent. However, as the hobby grows, it may be that more printers will cater to this market and prices will come down.

So whether or not it applies to seeking out publishers, I don't think we should ever assume that "buying American" is an antiquated concept. In the long run, paying $5 more for an American-made pair of pants could make a big difference in the geopolitical landscape!

-Jeff

Hedge-o-Matic
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Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

I have to say that "Made in America" has no sway over people's choices of goods. Even American compannies don't produce much of their product in America. Sure, things may be finally assembled here, but almost all mass-production is going overseas. I myself am currently workiing with fabricators in India for my line of educational products. Why? Because for one-tenth the price, I get a product that is, generally, quality workmanship.

I seem to sense that quality work is still an ethic there. Too often, American companies insist on whatever the market will bear, and then act surprised when the market just goes elsewhere. i think we'd be foolish to stay domestic, just to stay domestic. Let the domestic market come down to the level where it's a viable resource again.

Frankly, the developing world isn't lacking in skilled materials workers, or any other type of human being. I do see possible problems, though, in not being on-site to assure quality, but I'm expecting prototypes in a few weeks, and I'll see the work then.

And as to not giving money to a country the US might be at war with in a few years, we're in a major military conflict every seven years, on average, and lately that number has been moving upwards. I'm not going to wait for world peace to look for cheap meeples.

jwarrend
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Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

Hedge-o-Matic wrote:
I have to say that "Made in America" has no sway over people's choices of goods. Even American compannies don't produce much of their product in America. Sure, things may be finally assembled here, but almost all mass-production is going overseas. I myself am currently workiing with fabricators in India for my line of educational products. Why? Because for one-tenth the price, I get a product that is, generally, quality workmanship.

I seem to sense that quality work is still an ethic there. Too often, American companies insist on whatever the market will bear, and then act surprised when the market just goes elsewhere. i think we'd be foolish to stay domestic, just to stay domestic. Let the domestic market come down to the level where it's a viable resource again.

I think that one of us is living in reality and one of us is living in la-la land, and I'm not honestly sure which is which. The reason that American products cost more isn't, I don't think, because American workers and American companies are cheap, lazy bums who will cut any corner imaginable and don't care about producing a quality product. It's because countries like China pay their workers dirt. The appalling and egregious human rights violations by the government of nations like China is yet another reason to consider avoiding purchasing Chinese products -- as long as its economically viable to treat the workers like garbage, there's really no incentive for them to change their modus operandi.

The point is that the capitalistic mindset of buying the lowest priced items and expecting the market to correct itself according to supply demand, doesn't really work at an international level, because a lot of countries out there aren't playing by the same rules. Encouraging them to not play by those rules by buying from them just to save a buck is short-sighted.

Quote:

Frankly, the developing world isn't lacking in skilled materials workers, or any other type of human being.

I agree that at a human level, the people here aren't worth more in any intrinsic sense than anywhere else. And again, I'm speaking more at the level of an individual consumer moreso than a game publisher because again, I recognize there's a big difference in price and quality. My point is more that if you, or I, or anyone, want to be self-serving and just shop for the lowest price, it's probably actually considerably more self-serving to buy stuff from fellow Americans, thus keeping money in our economy, which helps you out. There's nothing to be gained by you if no one can afford to buy your game because the economy tanks because no one buys American products.

Obviously I'm exaggerating and oversimplifying in a huge way, but hopefully the point I'm trying to get at comes through...

Quote:

And as to not giving money to a country the US might be at war with in a few years, we're in a major military conflict every seven years, on average, and lately that number has been moving upwards. I'm not going to wait for world peace to look for cheap meeples.

Sounds like you've got your priorities in order. Judging from your timetable, I'm sure you won't have to wait long for your copy of "The Little Red Book".

Enjoy,

Jeff

Z-Man
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Printing overseas

I have used domestic, Canadian, and Chinese printers. The best prices I get are from the Chinese, and to use them you have to understand a few things:

1) Turnaround time. It takes about 55-60 days to get your product, sometimes up to 75 days. Could even be longer depending on the complexity of your components. There could also be delays in customs (I've had that happen to me on two occasions). The longest it took from the time they got disks to my warehouse was 90 days. However, they are good at advance shipping a small quantity (but you pay for it).

2) Price of shipping. So far even with shipping the Chinese prices have been amazing. Yes, you have to figure in the cost of shipping but still you can beat out the price of domestic printers by a significant amount. The more units you do the more you can amortize the cost. It's ok if you don't fill a 20' containier cause you'll probably share it with another company's products. There is something called a headload which is cheaper (usually) but it takes more time as they have to break down the container separating the orders. So far, the most I paid was $3600 and that was for a full container coming to a warehouse in NJ. You can save money and time if you can get it shipped and stored in California (around the LA area). When shipping to the east coast you are either landing in LA and trucking to your location or landing in NY. But I've paid as low as $1800 for a shipment of a few pallets.

3) Minimim quantity: to go Chinese, you usually need to order a min. of 3000 units. The lowest I talked a printer into doing was 2500 units. I doubt you can do better, but it depends on your relationship with the printer and who you go with (I've only dealt with a couple of Chinese printers, certainly a drop in the proverbial bucket).

4) Quality: I'm impressed by the quality the Chinese printers have shown. But I probably shouldn't be: if I want cards on 14pt playing card stock, it should be the same no matter where I print. The things people don't understand is that they say give me the cheapest price then cry when the quality of their components suck. I ask for a specific quality and then ask for the cheapest price with that quality.

5) Communication: Most Chinese printers have US agents so there isn't that much mis-communication. However, when dealing with the printer direct, sometimes communication is a problem and you end up getting something you don't want. Whenever possible, supply your printer with a sample of what you want. I wanted a certain stock of cardboard but I didn't know the thickness and couldn't describe it so I took out samples from a game I own and sent it to the printer and said that is what I want. The more info you give them the better chance you'll get what you want. Will you get it at the price you want? Not always.

I used to always give US companies a chance to quote a game (and I still use US printers for RPGs), but their prices were outrageous: the quantities I need (and can afford) and to be honest the market itself, makes printing board games very, very difficult in the US. I print realistically, usually no more than 3000 units of a game. I'm not in the position to print and sell 10K units at this point. I guess when I am then US printer prices will seem a lot more attractive.

Last thing: I got a quote from a German printer which wasn't too bad IF the euro wasn't kicking the crap out the dollar. It was less than US pricing but a little more than Chinese prices - and the shipping would have been al ittle cheaper and faster. (Shipping to east coast would be the main route).

Hope this helps.

Anonymous
Politically Incorrect

Quote:
I mean, doesn't it seem very imprudent for us to be pumping so much money into the economy of a nation who we are perhaps going to end up at war with 20 years from now

Now, keep in mind I'm a guy who still wishes we would have used strategic thermo nuclear strikes in Iraq and Afghanistan just so we could see the sand in the deserts super heat and transform into amazing seas of crystalized glass....

...but I'm guessing if we didn't stop buying oil from the middle east while actually engaged in present combat there, chances are we wont stop buying game components from China in fear that we may be enaged in the future. I'm also not sure how the US dollar amount we spend on Mid-Eastern Oil compares to US dollars spent on Chinese Meeples... but maybe its comparable... ahem.

...

I also wouldnt worry too much about a direct conflict with Red China, just my opinion. Remember they are a conventional army (not terrorists) and the planets largest at that... except one key problem... they can't transport the army to us.

Tactical problems everywhere.

I say rest easy and go to PF Changs tonight with an easy conscience. (and try the Mongolian Beef!)

Hedge-o-Matic
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Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

jwarrend wrote:

Obviously I'm exaggerating and oversimplifying in a huge way, but hopefully the point I'm trying to get at comes through...

You are, but it doesn't. The economic boost provided by a product occurs, mostly , in the country in which that product is sold, rather than the one in which it is manufactured. Every step of the chain has a higher markup than the previous one, and if I sell my products in the US, the money goes to my company, which is a US company. That helps the economy directly.

And, as a matter of fact, the workers in developed nations such as India and China are not the exploited workers you seem to imply. Wages are low therefor many reasons, the first and foremost of which is that their cost of living is, in absolute terms, far less than American averages.

Next, every worker in India and China has, on average, anywhere from ten to a thousand times the domestic competition for work. This keeps their individual value down for employers, and has nothing to do with systematic exploitation. After working as a freelance illustrator, I found the same thing. I couln't charge any normal rate becuase of the influx of competitors willing to work for dirt, or for nothing. There's always someone willing to work for less. And if that someone outnumbers you by a factor of ten, you'r pay will go down (India), or you will lose your job (the US).

Remember, Us companies chose to outsource work because Us workers were too expensive, and cut into their profit. Now that the manufacturing base is no longer domestic, it's foolish to dream it will ever return. The computer industry didn't loose out" to asian fabrication plants and Japanese management. The willingly moved their processes overseas so they could keep the lucerative end of the production chain (the final sale of a finished product) here in the US. That's where the money is. And that, in the end, is what is good for a country's economy.

Anonymous
Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

"Stand beside her, and guide her... Thru the night with a light from above!"

Come on... Everybody!

FastLearner
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Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

Let's be careful with the politics, folks. It does affect production decisions, I know, and so I think it's ok to mention. Just be careful it doesn't turn to personal attacks (or even just broad attacks, like "people who belong to party X are").

So far so good!

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

Quote:
developed nations such as India and China

And not to be a skunk at everyone's garden party here, but the term *developed* may be a little subjective in the above cases, based on my travel experiences.

Hedge-o-Matic
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Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

Well, by developed, I was refering to the production base, which is pretty sophisticated in both countries. Granted, there are plenty of places in these countries that are very backwards, but travel through South Dakota and you'll wonder what country you're in, sometimes, too. Just kidding, South Dakota!

Personally, I'd love to use domestic manufacturing, don't get me wrong. I just find the pricing prohibitive, sicne the quality doesn't seem to be any higher.

But this touches on another subject altogether, that I'm very interested in for my educational games company: foriegn markets. I think that if we could get our games into either contry in an effective way, it would be huge. does anyone here have nay idea whant the boardgame "culture" is like in India, China, or South America? Or, for that matter, the educational games market?

Anonymous
Domestic vs Foreign (China, Russia, Mexico) Manufacturing

In India Video Games are low low low

In both countries American Films are HUGE.

Thats about the extent of my knowledge in those areas, which is of course no help to you.

With electronic games so weak, I wonder if board games are the rage, if anything is at all.

American Movie Themed Board Games.... now we're on to something... anyway...

I can add that India is a funny funny place regarding the internet and technology. Everyone (including my Indian acquaintances) knows how Indians are very lets say visable in the American IT landscape... but actually in India itself... they are almost non existant, you can barely get a dial up connection and the internet is occasionally stable at best. It is such an amazing contrast.

Has to do with America paying the highest wages of course, so they learn all they can, and then head for the promised land.

The consequences are more appearant everyday, for both countries.

Anyway, back to board games...

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