Today (Wednesday) was the longest day we've had, and perhaps was one of my favorite times on the trip. We were graciously invited to come and see a factory in mainland China which produced products for Honeywell, Primos, and Lightspeed.
The main difference about Seveco from other companies is how they treat their employees. I was wonderfully relieved seeing the nice facilities and working area, in which they provide good meals, above-average working conditions, and free weekends. They mainly produce noise canceling headphones, baby pagers, RFID chips, etc.
When entering the factory, we all had to put on lab-coats, shoe-coverings, and hairnet-hats. We weren't allowed to take pictures within the factory, though I can describe it as very white and very high-tech. Seveco produces a lot of electronics, thus unlike toy-making factories they must keep their factory very clean in order to produce high quality materials. They have around 1000 employees.
We were given a short presentation of the company before we toured the facilities and were able to ask questions about production and manufacturing. Supply chain and how things are manufactured are much different than engineering (many people wrongly assume they are the same). A good paraphrase is: "Anyone can engineer a single device to work great and look nice. Now try to produce 100,000 of those before a deadline with good quality. That's manufacturing."
We were able to take a tour in which we were able to see the church, housing, daycare, and soccer field. (This is a smaller factory in case you were wondering.)
A meal was provided to us around lunchtime consisting of wontons, ribs, soup, rice, fish, beef, and much more. We were able to chat with the general manager and a fellow work associate as well. They were very light hearted and easy to joke with (one is from Louisiana and the other from Texas).
After lunch we took a trip to the museum to absorb Shenzhen's history. The displays are different from museums in the states, in that many aren't historical artifacts. Many of the displays are wax moldings of people or models of cities to help tell the history. It was fun to look around and catch a glimpse of such an eventful past.
To end the trip we had a final stop at a molding factory that was much different from Seveco. It reminded me a lot of my shop class in high-school where there is heavier equipment and mechanical manufacturing happening. We also couldn't take pictures in the factory, thus I can try my best to explain it. Many of the products produced in the shop are plastic moldings or housings, in which logos and writing would also be hand stamped onto the product (when I say hand stamped, I mean with a machine but controlled by a person). The product is set up to dry in a stand and then put in a box to be sent to the next factory. Over all I feel this was one of the realist parts of the trip, because every student could see where our consumer products actually comes from, how they are made, and who makes them. Products don't come from the store, they come from China.