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How to Increase Capacity in a Chinese factory

September 25, 2014

 by David Collins


Most Chinese manufactuers are not aware of what constrains their factory's capacity:

  • Inefficient work organization
  • Quality issues
  • Poor maintenance
  • Bottlenecks

David Collins explains how we have helped several factories more than double their capacity within a few months.


One of the big items that surprises me here in China is how much capacity most of the factories have, and they don’t realize that they have it. A lot of the factories have more than enough machines, more than enough square meters of factory floor, and even more than enough people to often double or triple the production numbers that they already have. But, because of bottlenecks in the system, problems with maintenance, quality issues and maybe just some never seen in some of these other techniques done before, the production is done very slowly or not very efficiently and the factory isn’t coming close to utilizing itself fully.

Remember, one of the most important things about a factory is utilizing all the assets to its 100% fullest. If you have a building you paid a lot of money for, machines that you’ve paid a lot of money for and you’re not using them to 100% of their capacity, you’re losing money.

So the real key here is, how would you change that. One is to identify those bottlenecks, whatever that might be. Maybe its one specific machine that just needs to be changed with this programming or maybe that machine needs to be doubled. You buy a second machine and all your other machine then are out of capacity. Maybe it’s maintenance. Your machines are down too often and you don’t have the ability to use every machine every day because your maintenance is quite poor. Maybe your people are not properly trained. This, I see happen an awful lot.

The people I’m trained they’re only trained in one area, they have only one area of expertise, and because of that if somebody doesn’t come to work or if he’s not doing too well, the capacity is constrained.

In places that we’ve worked in China we have actually been able to help people through helping them with their maintenance, setting up the lines differently in a more intelligent manner, helping to get the machines put in an order that makes them very useful. We have actually doubled capacity and even tripled capacity in two or three factories here.

Capacity improvements are simple and usually cost nothing to the factory. It’s mostly just realignment, reorganization of the skills, and teaching people how to do their jobs in a different way.


22 Signs Of Good Factory Management in China eBook

Topics: Lean Manufacturing

David Collins

David Collins

25+ years manufacturing experience in computer, automotive, aerospace, furniture, and chemical industries.
Founding Partner, China Manufacturing Consultants.
Built and managed several automotive plants in North America.
Successfully turned around Foxconn’s Mexico plant.

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