By now, most of us in the toy business have heard about India's burgeoning toy manufacturing scene. In fact, it's quite the thing right now.
However, several of the major global toy companies have been utilising Indian toy manufacturing for decades in some shape or another. Moreover, other industries like automotive and pharmaceutical moved to India en masse quite some time ago now.
The reality is the toy industry as a whole has been slow to embrace alternatives to China's domination of toy supply. There are many reasons for this, but momentum does seem to be building in India. When we ask toy companies why they aren't already sourcing from India it's often due to things they've heard on the grapevine from someone who visited 2 factories back in 1987 and had a bad experience!
We'd like to cut through the whispers, rumours and hearsay to outline some key truths about Indian toy manufacturing in general and about our experience with Indian toy factories specifically:
1. India has a limited number of real top end toy factories.
2. India has an established infrastructure for export in key toy production areas e.g. roads, ports etc.
3. Toy factories in India do genuinely offer cost savings of around 10% on average (based on ex-factory cost).
4. The toy industry is still new in India - so the supply chain for very specific toy related components is not as quick. flexible or extensive vs China.
5. Indian business culture is different. Toy people are generally so conditioned to working with Chinese business people they may be surprised by different ways of working. In general, India is not a precise ultra disciplined place. I'll get that quote to you by end of week may turn into early the following week.This cultural difference needs to be understood & worked with/managed to have any chance of making Indian toy manufacturing work for your business.
6. India is an easier place to visit than many customers expect, with very high end hotels, chauffeur driven cars and reasonably efficient airports across India. Even the visa system has become much easier recently with straightforward online application for short stay visas.The harsh reality of life in India is that you may well see people living in shacks by the side of the road, or even sleeping on the pavement with only makeshift shelter, but most likely you would only see these things in a car from an upmarket hotel to factories. Rightly or wrongly, this has been our experience of visiting factories in India.
7. The Indian toy manufacturing sector is growing. As more and more injection moulded plastic factories are setting up additional standalone factories for toy manufacturing to complement their existing businesses supplying other sectors.
8. Manufacturing and engineering in automotive and other sectors is more advanced than toy manufacturing in many ways. So many of these newer Indian toy production facilities are more advanced and more efficient than a 'standard' toy factory may be.
If you'd like to find out more about Indian toy manufacturing and Indian toy factories, please feel free to get in touch...