In Joytingle, I take pride in having Rabbit Ray made in Singapore. Here is a peek to what extend Rabbit Ray is made locally:
1) Design in Singapore
All 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) are done in-house, before sending it to an engineer.
(I know every nook and cranny in the Rabbit Ray set because they are drawn personally.)
With 1 485 surfaces packed into the simple-looking Rabbit, the design decisions looked endless.
2) A Singapore production facility
What is the difference between local and overseas: easier communication to sort out production issues, and better quality control.
Most of its staff are Singaporeans – the older folks who are a remnant of Singapore’s low-skilled manufacturing heydays in the 1970s.
Despite their age, their hands are deft and accurate with the blade.（手感很棒。）
3) The mold was cut in Singapore.
What is the difference: it comes with a high cost, but it allows longer production run and ensure the consistency in the molded edges after long runs. (There are 3 971 edges in Rabbit Ray.)
The plastic injection process subjects the mold under extreme high heat and pressure, which can blunt the edges in lesser tools.
4) Plastic Pallets comes from a Singapore supplier.
Brand new plastics gives strong tensile strength.
The difference: the parts will not shatter when dropped by children during play.
Lesser factories (that cut corners) will mix brand new plastic pallets with recycled pallets; producing parts with low tensile strength and likely to break.
Plus, the plastic selected by Joytingle (till date, it is me personally); have a good “flex” to allow some parts to bend during play. The plastic is also recyclable; bearing in mind the end-life processing of the product 20, 30 years down the road.
5) The colours for Rabbit Ray were mixed in Singapore.
The Colour Chip, according to the international Pantone Colour Code, is mixed in Singapore too!
*But this company is facing cash flow issues because they are getting lesser deals since most manufacturing orders are going to our regional neighbours.*
6) The book was printed in Singapore.
Here is CMYK in action. Each HUGE machine takes one colour (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key). The paper runs through each machine to form the final picture. Plus, there are metal production plates for each print. Exciting stuff.
On a side note: I urge local hardware entrepreneurs to consider manufacturing in Singapore.
I understand that cost is the biggest issue and our strong Singapore currency makes overseas manufacturing look VERY tempting.
But local manufacturers offer clear benefits in:
– faster and better communication to sort out any production issues.
(A simple phone call or 30mins commute to see and hold the physical product beats trying to talk over Skype / Viber, staring at low resolution screen shots / photos and 3-4 hours flight or ferry across.)
– Better quality control.
(Unless you are well-funded to hire a middle man to be your eyes and ears on the ground to check the parts as they roll off the production floor and select pieces for quality control.)
– Not forgetting Intellectual Property protection.
– I can go on, there are many factors. Ping me for coffee if you need to pick my brains.
During my time walking industrial grounds and talking to manufacturers; there is an exciting ecosystem of low-skilled manufacturing in Singapore. From the smaller, independent players – screws, ink supplier, steel tooling makers, plastic colour mixers, injection molding companies to IPO giants like Meiban – these are the remnant from Singapore’s manufacturing powerhouse days of the 1970s. I even found one company who used to make Lego bricks for Lego!
The players who survived till now have a solid track record, but things are getting tougher with high rent and labour cost. Yes, I know those who don’t adapt will die according to market forces.
But as our country calls for innovation, I must say it is not just about the “software” or a way of thinking; it is also having a supportive domestic production base to make the first professional batch and test out the market-price fit and scale things up. No matter how digital things goes, the next wave is merging the physical + digital for higher human interaction. These factories are still important for Singapore’s innovation to thrive.
And for consumers, please vote with their wallets and support “made in Singapore” products, (for example, Khong Guan biscuits in NTUC).