Star Trac is moving its manufacturing to mainland China from Irvine, California. The spotlight is now shining so very bright in that region as a country for Fitness education at fitnessabout manufacturing. The low labor costs in China mean a slight advantage for business entities that have partners or manufacturing plants there.
However, as the labor costs in the country continue to increase, the advantages may start to disappear. What does that mean for the American market? Manufacturers will start to experience a slightly lower competition. With that said, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that Asia has come to stake its claim.
Influence of Ownership
The global nature of the fitness industry means a lot for manufacturers being owned by corporations located outside the United States. Ownership usually dictates where manufacturing will be done. A Taiwan company owns SportsArt Fitness located in Woodinville, WA. This means that it was only natural for them to use Taiwan as their manufacturing base. This organization was one of the first to manufacture fitness equipment in Taiwan. This location is well-known for being one of Asia’s premier equipment manufacturing countries.
Technogym, which has its headquarters in Gambetottola, Italy, has its equipment manufactured in a 3-year old green manufacturing site located in Cesna, Italy. They have decided to follow their heritage and keep the manufacturing in the hands of Italians. Yes, it might be more expensive to manufacture products in Europe than it is in Asia and the US, but they feel it ensures a better end result.
However, manufacturers in the United States tend to have workforces that are more consistent compared to Asian and some European countries, according to Precor, Life Fitness, and Cybex. All these 3 companies have a workforce that’s made up of a big number of long-term staff members, some of whom have worked for their respective organizations for over 35 years.
‘Made in America’
The ‘jab’ on American-made gym and exercise equipment is that higher labor costs in the country result in increased prices. But, labor is only one component in pricing. There are two more: materials and transportation. Asia doesn’t enjoy low costs in these other two areas. Besides, a large number of manufacturers that have plants based in America say that savings from lower inventory costs, lean manufacturing facilities, and cheaper fuel can help offset those high costs of labor.
Nonetheless, even though there are no solid statistics that show the number of American manufacturers that have moved their production processes overseas, most industry leaders estimate that the figures there are still big enough to validate the decision to move production as good business for many manufacturers. The move to mainland China by Star Trac can help solidify this notion.
Where equipment designed for fitness is manufactured, presently or in the future, doesn’t really matter that much if the manufacturer doesn’t deliver on its promises, delivery time, and product support. The best business products will always win, and that’s a fact.