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The current situation: production and sales recover steadily
As said by the interviewed sewing machine manufacturers, business activities like production, sales, R&D etc. have recovered, recruitment of new employees and recall of ex-employees have started, and some manufacturers even work on over-time for the production of particular machines .
In particular, Maqi has further restructured its products and concentrated more capacity on new products like Q series lockstitch sewing machine and X series overlock stitch sewing machine; Precious, sticking to its established production plan, has strengthened its production of pandemic protection equipment and overlock stitch sewing machine, and put more resources into smart sewing machinery of medium and thick sewing material; Baoyu has kept running on full load, and fully taken into consideration market feedback while improving the R&D of new products; Dollor has been increasing the output of overlock sewing machine through production capacity shake-up; Xiangke continues to upsize and set up more production lines, and has kept running on over time so far; Duma reinforces its technological advantages and diversifies its production lines structure; Sanhexin has sought to expand the application of step-up and differential motion technology; Longtai builds up zigzag sewing techniques and maintains a production rhythm of a certain volume.
Furthermore, sewing machine manufacturers, as the major supplier of key pandemic prevention equipment, have immediately participated in the R&D of related products at the very beginning and fulfilled their production capacity soon. At present, many sewing machine manufacturers that turned themselves into making face mask and protective gown equipment before have further diversified their product structure through maintaining the newly developed layout, and have eventually secured new sectors of growth.
Meanwhile, some sewing machine manufacturers have recently put more efforts into the recruitment of new employees and the recall of ex-employees drained due to the pandemic, responding to the Central Party Committee's call for "stabilizing employment" and meeting manufacturers' demand for increasing production capacity. Jack has formulated plans to improve employees' wages and benefits, and brought in incentive mechanisms like an allowance of 2000 RMB for those who return to work, reward for recommending new employees, and specific amount of collective increase of wages. Enterprises like Shunfa, Baoyu, Jiahe publish their recruitment information on many platforms, and manage to employ more and more high-quality laborer through attractive wages and benefits.
As the demand of the downstream users increases gradually, sewing machine manufacturers apparently receive more orders than they did in the second quarter. For instance, Jack has struck a deal worth more than 10 million RMBs with Sanlian Group, which will purchase a whole set of equipment like cloth spreading machine, cutting bed, sewing machine, hanging system; new series of products developed by Maqi have been accepted by the market more rapidly, and stimulated the growth of equipment sales; the pandemic prevention equipment made by Precious has boosted the sales of its overlock stitch sewing machine, of which the production and sales have grew on year-on-year basis against the adversities in the first half of this year. Baoyu has kept making hundreds sets of products every day in recent months; the volume of orders are still beyond its capacity though Xiangke runs on full-load and over-time, even so, overseas orders keep growing. Contrary to domestic market, overseas markets have yet to recover. According to some enterprises, it's expected that the transnational trade would continue to decline this year. Hopefully, markets along the Belt and Road, especially in southeast Asia would gradually recover in the second half of this year, while markets in European and American countries would lag behind comparatively.
Capacity transformation: innovation becomes the main engine
The most noticeable change that happened to sewing machinery industry in China due to the pandemic is the rapid transition of out-dated production capacity into new one. As a result, the power of innovation has become the major momentum for development day by day. Meanwhile, the benefits to sewing machine manufacturers brought by innovation have become more and more obvious. Against the backdrop of market shrinkage in the first half of this year, sewing machine manufacturers that practice innovation have outdone the rest of the industry in terms of risk control, comprehensive development and interaction with market.
Leading sewing machine manufacturers' emphasis on R&D innovation has become more and more obvious. Even faced with the pandemic, the input into R&D has not be affected. The percentage of input by some manufacturers into scientific researches has reached and even surpassed 10%. According to National Intellectual Property Administration, more than 3,500 patents have been applied accumulatively in sewing machinery industry in China till the end of June, 2020, i.e. nearly 600 patents per month. What's more, the percentage of invention patents has grew noticeably with a total of more than 840. Thereby, "the new layout of global smart sewing factories" promulgated by China's sewing machinery manufacturers has developed rapidly, which will provide "equipment bonus" for the transformation and upgrade of downstream users. Especially from 2020 on, China's sewing machine manufacturers, with the step-up tech as pillar, have speeded up the R&D and application of technologies, and taken the leading position in a new round of technological revolution and product upgrade.
To be specific, Maqi has submitted a hundred pieces of patent applications in total in the first half of this year after developing its patent layout, and its R&D activities have expanded from lockstitch sewing and overlock stitch sewing machine into pocket welting and attaching machine and others; Precious has placed more emphasis on the R&D of step-up tech for its existing machinery, and on the development of intelligent machinery of medium and thick sewing material; Baoyu has decided that R&D activity will be listed as the key task in the second half of this year, and it will develop an elaborate plan for technical strength of R&D and product application then carry out the same; Xiangke, having invested millions of RMBs into the R&D of step-up tech, will launch 6 or 7 new products with features of dual blade sealing, dual step-up, needle feeding material, upper and lower differential feeding etc.
Besides, sewing machine manufacturers have turned themselves rapidly into those who make key pandemic prevention equipment like face mask machine, thermal sealing machine, fusing machine, point welding machine etc. to meet the unexpected demand for pandemic supplies in the market. It's worthy of note that they've done so from scratch and become proficient at it within a very short period, in which case, they've demonstrated strong capabilities of R&D, innovation and fast response, and this further proves that technological innovation has become the major engine for growth in sewing industry.
What's more important is that China Sewing Machinery Association (CSMA) has insisted on taking tangible measures and expecting substantial effects when promoting the stimulus of innovation. For the purpose of speeding up the construction of core technology system, CSMA has opportunely launched the collecting of research programs of basic theory and technological shortcomings of sewing machinery after consolidating high-quality resources in the industry, and has announced 26 programs in the end of June that have been admitted. Pushed by the program collection, sewing machine manufacturers will carry on technological innovation, conduct fundamental research, shortcoming study and core technology breakthrough, which will finally yield a series of new products and a complex of enterprises with core technologies and strong competitiveness, and improve the global status of sewing machines made in China.
Focusing on self-construction: to improve the efficiency of development
"The worse the situation is, the better the chance is to exploit our potentials and improve ourselves." Having reached a consensus on self-construction counter against the pandemic, sewing machine manufacturers have carried out a lot of highly effective activities.
On one hand, sewing machine manufacturers have sought to develop their potentials and increasingly improve their soft powers. In particular, SGG has made it clear that the expansion of R&D and quality improvement should be oriented towards demand after combing through and optimizing the supply chain; Jack has tried to strengthen its competitiveness through putting forward the idea of "customer first, further quality and efficiency improvement, crisis awareness". Having enhanced its training mechanism, Maqi held more than 30 times of training on quality topic in the first half of this year; Xiangke has carried out a series of adjustments like revamping the structure of employees and product; Shunfa tries to raise its employees' quality awareness through holding product QA meeting regularly.
On the other hand, sewing machine manufacturers have invested more physical input. Maqi is going to finish constructing and put into use the semi-automatic processing lines of sync sewing machine, lab for sewing machine testing and inspection, CNAS standard lab for electro-controlled system and motor; Baoyu has been installing production lines and equipment before putting newly built factory into use in the second half of this year as expected; by launching the construction project of R&D building in the second half of this year, Precious will gradually set up a globally leading R&D and manufacture base of smart sewing machine of thick sewing materials.
Sewing machine manufacturers has chosen not to wait but respond to the challenges brought by market shrinkage in a rational manner, and built themselves up by making use of the window left by the market before declining. The interviewed sewing machine manufacturers note that the effects of a great many measures deployed in the first half of this year begin to be felt in aspects including a more orderly workflow, continuous improvement of team structure and overall quality, achievement in both process improvement and cost reduction & energy saving, top-down promotion of quality awareness, consolidation and reinforcement of supply chain, and others related to soft power. With high-quality development as guidance, several leading manufacturers have substantially improved their operation quality through overcoming the shortcomings and solidifying the foundation on a targeted basis.
Marketing innovation: from responding to guiding
Faced with the stagnation of global market and the decline of demand, sewing machine manufacturers have put much efforts into expanding channels and exploiting the stock potential, and have reinforced the strength enabled by services besides favorable offer like promotion, redemption, selling street by street, experiencing machine, discount. Jack's "service tour" has covered more than 10 provinces in a month; ZOJE offers free service for template machine covering a large area; Maqi has sent QA personnel and technicians to factories to provide solutions; Hikari (Hongyuan) has returned the favor through launching a service program in Fujian Povince in 2020; Shunfa has kicked off a visiting maintenance program for free across the country; Precious has held tech exchange conference in provinces like Shandong, Guangdong, Guangxi. Leading sewing machine manufacturers have become more and more proficient at exploiting the hidden value in after-sale service through providing better customer experience, establishing a good reputation and building a bright brand image.
In the meantime, more and more manufacturers have followed suit after Jack is engaged in live stream marketing characterized by live stream selling, placing order in limited period, raffle & redemption and preferential price. Baoyu has even brought industrial sewing machine into on-line shopping carnival through participating in 6.18 shopping festival. Traditional selling mode is experiencing changes during the close interaction between on-line and off-line businesses.
Besides the improvement of services, sewing industry has been experiencing a more profound change in marketing in the first half of this year, that is, leading manufacturers begin to break the traditional business mode, and try to realize the transition from responding to the demand into guiding the demand.
In early April, Baoyu took the initiative to carry out a new round of marketing across the country, which was followed by more and more sewing machine manufacturers later on. In contrast with traditional promotion of "destocking", sewing machinery with independent step-up drive, the most advanced technology in the industry has become the critical player. Through the concerted efforts of many sewing machine manufacturers, such machinery has been popularized among and accepted by downstream users in less than 3 months, of which the rate and coverage are beyond comparison. Accordingly, the technology and product quality mature rapidly.
In the backdrop of a suspended market due to the pandemic, sewing machine manufacturers have taken active measures to explore the brand-new mode of guiding the demand in contrast with responding to the demand at early stage, changed the behavior of making much profits from new products into invigorating the channel by surrendering part of profits, speeded up the application of innovation, and eventually developed an effective way to vitalize the stock market and boost the downstream demand.
The adverse influence of the corona-virus lingers, and the prospect of global market are overshadowed by uncertainties. However, considering the overall performance of China's sewing machine manufacturers shouldering due responsibilities and breaking through difficulties in face of challenges, we have every reason to believe that only by continuous exploration and struggle, and overcoming hindrance in the way ahead, sewing machine manufacturers can keep growing, and the dream of being powerful in sewing machinery area will hopefully come true faster and more steadily.
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