The core of RPD’s proposition has always been to make launching new physical products easier for both Corporate teams and SME/Startup businesses. Our go-to-market manufacturing capabilities are a key part of that, helping to carry out the first 12-24 months of manufacturing where the most risk occurs. Following that, we work with our clients to help them take over control of their own manufacturing operations, giving you the power to continue growing the business under your own roof.
Our team in China are based in Shenzhen, commonly referred to as the heart of South East Asian manufacturing. They are responsible for bringing our  engineering development, completed in our London office, to life. The team have a broad range of skills, from procurement, to supplier auditing, to design for manufacture engineering and production management. They work alongside the London engineering team to ensure every critical aspect of the design is maintained as a production line is developed and continues to evolve.
China remains one of the strongest global locations for manufacturing. It is a common misconception that this is down to labour cost. In fact, average wages in China have been rising for many years, as have labour wages in particular with the majority of companies paying far above the minimum wage in the Shenzhen region. The primary factor in China’s, and particularly Shenzhen’s, manufacturing success is the density of supply chain. Being able to carry out everything from raw material refinery through to finished packaged goods within 50-100km greatly improves speed, capability and reduces cost. This is the primary reason why RPD has invested so heavily in our capabilities and coverage in China throughout the years. It has allowed us to push boundaries of what is possible in each component of the manufacturing supply chain that wouldn’t be possible without the close communication of each partner in that production operation.
Our operation in China is built on over 120 audited partners, ranging in capabilities from development and production of raw materials, through to end packaging and distribution. These partners include injection molding and tooling, sheet metal processing, machining, casting, PCBF/A, fabrication, assembly and testing and many more specialist skills.
We audit these suppliers up to 4 times a year to ensure continued compliance to the various required standards of our customers and our own ISO accredited processes. One of the main focal areas of that audit is in sustainability – covering both the impact on the environment and the influence of welfare in the local area. We ensure that all of our suppliers both protect and support their workers and their families. In a lot of cases our suppliers also provide housing and investment in local areas, which we monitor to ensure standards both on and off the factory floor exceed adequate standards. Increasingly suppliers across GuangDong Province have been working hard to reduce their impact on the environment with initiatives to reduce power usage, monitor waste disposal and maximise recycling operations. This is also a major part of our audit to ensure all of our suppliers are aligned with our own goals to minimise our impact and work with clients who do the same.
Our operations in China are headed up by Engineering Project Manager Felipe Iglesias. He manages a team of Procurement and Engineering experts who manage our manufacturing operations, alongside the team from London, who have designed the components. Our approach is to work with manufacturing partners, who own the equipment and employ the manufacturing staff. When we begin a production project with each supplier, we then insert our own staff to run and oversee the production processes, carry out QA/QC and ensure compliance to our ways of working. This gives the best mix of capability and control to our customers in the extreme diversity of projects we are able to work on.
Increasingly, as we look at the environmental impact of our supply chains, we have been growing comparative capabilities in Europe, to work alongside our operations in China. In 2022 we will be opening our first European production office in Portugal. This office will work in a similar way to the current production team, partnering with Portuguese and European manufacturers to provide the same level of manufacturing capability and control, with shorter shipping distances to Europe. We see these two geographical capabilities working hand in hand as our unique manufacturing processes allow us to develop production operations on multiple sites to serve the market requirements of our customers with fewer miles travelled per product.
To find out more about how our manufacturing operations can help you bring products to market quicker reach out to one of our team or take a look at our new website: