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ZaZ333

About the production of FFG in China.

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Hi.

I'wll certainly not making friends by doing this, and this post will maybe disapear but being a fan of FFG works is also to be capable of asking the hard questions.

To FFG : Do you have products that are beeing made in China ? Can you guarantee that none of yours products is made in terrible labor conditions, for example with the Uighurs minorities but also with other workforces in general ?
There has been a video by John Oliver stating that more and more products made in China are beeing made by forced labour.
I know how capitalism works (or the market if you like), and that FFG as all the others compagnies have to managed to product theirs references at a price that is competitive, but we're talking about human dignity and the compagny ethical choice. I think that all in all it is possible to have both.

Thanks for your attention.

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6 minutes ago, ZaZ333 said:

Hi.

I'wll certainly not making friends by doing this, and this post will maybe disapear but being a fan of FFG works is also to be capable of asking the hard questions.

To FFG : Do you have products that are beeing made in China ? Can you guarantee that none of yours products is made in terrible labor conditions, for example with the Uighurs minorities but also with other workforces in general ?
There has been a video by John Oliver stating that more and more products made in China are beeing made by forced labour.
I know how capitalism works (or the market if you like), and that FFG as all the others compagnies have to managed to product theirs references at a price that is competitive, but we're talking about human dignity and the compagny ethical choice. I think that all in all it is possible to have both.

Thanks for your attention.

Thanks for this post. I was wondering about the same thing, especially the situation with the Uighurs worries me too. (John Oliver is great btw!) I was thinking about the ethical aspects of FFGs production quite often, for example the unnecessary usage of plastic for packaging.

Thats why i welcome the upcoming change of packaging for the clone wars expansions to use less plastic in the squadron packs (no blisters) and no more unnecessary ship dials. I understand that people want to see the product that they are buying but since FFGs model quality is so high i personally would be fine if the ship expansions would just have a high res photo of the actual models and the packaging just beeing a closed cardboard box. The ships could easily be fitted into some sort of cardboard chassis that holds the ships in place in the box.

I also think im gonna move away from using sleeves for my upgradecards, since i never really felt that the cards get worn out too much if you take care of them. Since they are changing the upgrade card size im at least definately not gonna buy new sleeves.
 

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Without wishing to delve too far in to the politics of it all (although it is a political issue) I have always felt that it was a huge mistake for Obama and Cameron to cosy up to China in the delusion that they would become 'like us'.  Their naked abuse of the global trade system and their active takeovers of strategic industries through huge state subsidies (such as the steel and rare earth industries) was a problem long before the Guardian, New York Times and the other bien-pensants woke up to the Uighur problem and tried to frame the whole China issue in terms that it suits them to emote about.  And straying even further in to politics, I don't remember them givinng a fig when Apple moved its production to China and thousands of skilled jobs left the shores of the US, or when British Steel (as was) was forced out of business due to China dumping steel on the world markets at below production price and those skilled workers were made redundant.  But now they have a new minority to express solidarity with it's a hot topic.

I think it's imperative that production of as much as possible  leaves China and returns to Europe and the US and I would tolerate paying a premium for this.  I already look out for products that aren't made in China and avoid buying Chinese wherever possible.

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I think in general buying local is important (at least for non-luxury products like food, clothing, grocerys etc) since globalized capitalism tends to leave only the biggest, most reckless companies left in the playing field. That we **** up our planet by that is a pretty clear fact. (Unless you actually think Science is fake) I do realize the irony of me beeing a german buying a american boardgame that is produced in china but i would wish that foreign products at least werent produced in the worst ethical environments possible.

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I am in full support of keeping production local as far as possible, and at the least out of China as much as possible.

i know it can be difficult or even impossible sometimes but FFG and Asmodee surely are bug enough to do it.

 

 

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I'm not too concerned with this, because all the reports I have seen the forced labor is used for things that aren't technically demanding, like making PPE, etc. FFG's products can't just be made by scrubs. I'm not saying it's not a longer term concern, just that right now that doesn't seem to be where the CCP is directing their labor.

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35 minutes ago, Formynder4 said:

I'm not too concerned with this, because all the reports I have seen the forced labor is used for things that aren't technically demanding, like making PPE, etc. FFG's products can't just be made by scrubs. I'm not saying it's not a longer term concern, just that right now that doesn't seem to be where the CCP is directing their labor.

My concerns are not that FFGs specific products might be produced via forced labour.

My concerns are that a nation enslaving a minority, forcibly sterilising them and working them to death is morally reprehensible and the less money that reaches that nation, the better.  Move all the factories out of China, back to their home nations.  Not a penny more should reach the Chinese than is absolutely necessary.

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2 minutes ago, flatpackhamster said:

My concerns are not that FFGs specific products might be produced via forced labour.

My concerns are that a nation enslaving a minority, forcibly sterilising them and working them to death is morally reprehensible and the less money that reaches that nation, the better.  Move all the factories out of China, back to their home nations.  Not a penny more should reach the Chinese than is absolutely necessary.

Yeah, and that's totally valid and I agree. I was just addressing the initial concerns here.

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A few of us have contacted FFG directly about this very story. We were told they were aware of the story and had passed it up the corporate chain. Unfortunately, the folks available to take these types of questions are not the people who can answer them. My understanding is there have been more than a few people asking, so I hope we'll get an answer.

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Posted (edited)

Hi ! Thanks for all yours answers. Even if I doubted that FFG leave their forum without some kind of supervision, you can ask directly to their community manager with your favorite social media (with Twitter it's easy, just write to @FFGames) or by e-mail (if you haven't already done it). And if you live in USA, I guess you can try to directly ask them by phone (that's not my case) if you feel like it.

I think the main reason to do it isn't to have a reply (after all compagnies have professionnals to write strategics statements) but  to make them realise that this subject is a important matter for their clients.

Edited by ZaZ333

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It would be interesting if someone with experience in the field could comment on the rough costs of making an Armada type product in the US the EU and China as relative to each other. With the high RRP per item for Armada you would think that the cost difference passed on to the consumer shouldn't be huge per unit.

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Buffangel said:

It would be interesting if someone with experience in the field could comment on the rough costs of making an Armada type product in the US the EU and China as relative to each other. With the high RRP per item for Armada you would think that the cost difference passed on to the consumer shouldn't be huge per unit.

I'm not familiar with volume production, but I wonder if there are products they could shift to print-on-demand. 20 or so cards with a linen texture usually runs about $3. Cardboard tokens can be less than $10 per sheet. A pack's worth of small single-color models (Armada's squadrons, for example) would cost $15 from most 3D print shops. And those are prices to an end-user, uploading their own files, not the production cost. Imagine knowing a squadron pack is always, at worst, two weeks away. And nothing is stopping them from also doing volume production with moulds to stock up, send high-margin product to retail partners; but if when it runs out, they could still offer POD items without having to do a whole production run. Even if the margin is lower on the POD version, that's better than no sale, and lack of availability can even turn someone away from getting into the game at all.

I know that doesn't completely move production out of China, but if more companies partner with local on-demand services to make up for low stock, that will help those technologies mature and strengthen those industries, making them even more competitive as time goes on.

Edited by FreakinUnoriginal

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It may be cost viable, if you were ok with unpainted ships. The making and assembling are realatively low cost labor wise, not zeros but with the right setup not that exspensive. The fully painted models on the other hand, even assuming a ridcolously streamlined proccess thats a substantial labor cost. If armada was made in america/europe while your logistical costs would be cheaper and faster, your labor would outweight that sadly. It's a telling statement on china and its labor practices that its cheaper to make stuff in china and ship it to the other side of the planet, than to have production closer to its intenede end point. Thats mind blowing.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/4/2020 at 3:39 AM, Buffangel said:

It would be interesting if someone with experience in the field could comment on the rough costs of making an Armada type product in the US the EU and China as relative to each other. With the high RRP per item for Armada you would think that the cost difference passed on to the consumer shouldn't be huge per unit.

Might make an interesting point of comparison in Amarillo Design Bureau.  They do a licensed universe miniature game, as well, and maintain a nearly-completely-US (maybe entirely US at this point?) design and creation pipeline - although with some nuances:

  • The license details - while not public - are known to be particularly unusual (and relatively cheap!) owing to picking it up back in the 1970s when nobody thought there was any value to it.
  • The 'miniature game' part is fairly loose - it's a tabletop, hex-based wargame, so the cost of the minis is JUST the cost of the model (artist + licensing cost + overhead).  IE., the work on playtesting the ships is NOT included in the cost of the models, as the ship's capabilities and balance is established in the core game boxed sets.
  • The models are MUCH smaller than FFG's.  The largest ships in this setting are maybe the size of the MC30 or Gladiator model.
  • Having switched mostly to Shapeways for their models, there is a noticeable drop in quality from FFG's models made in China, and yes - unassembled, and unpainted.

All that said, if you want to see what pricing comes out looking like, here is their Shapeways store (which won't be strictly US, but at least not China):

https://www.shapeways.com/shops/amarillo-design-bureau-inc

Edited by xanderf

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3 minutes ago, ExplosiveTooka said:

The muslim minority population is being exploited in the textile industry. I don't think you have a lot to worry about, beside no consumption under global capitalism being ethical. 

"Don't let perfect be the enemy of good"

If you insist on being able to solve every problem at once, you will never actually make real progress on anything - if for no other reason than that the majority doesn't care at all, and any given minority large enough to EFFECTIVELY call for meaningful change...well, will never agree 100% on what that change needs to be.

Bringing more things back to domestic (or at least Western European, where similar humanitarian/environmental/safety/etc laws exist) production is not a bad start, and I'm happy to see interest in the conversation and hopeful to see where it could lead.  I mean, it's a topic that is not unique to Armada - I've seen this come up on other forums, even BoardGameGeek, and this thread has been one of the most supportive of even asking the question that I've seen anywhere, lately.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/1/2020 at 10:10 AM, flatpackhamster said:

My concerns are not that FFGs specific products might be produced via forced labour.

My concerns are that a nation enslaving a minority, forcibly sterilising them and working them to death is morally reprehensible and the less money that reaches that nation, the better.  Move all the factories out of China, back to their home nations.  Not a penny more should reach the Chinese than is absolutely necessary.

Okay, so you'll agree to boycott "Made in America" goods too? After all, we have concentration camps where thousands and thousands of children have vanished, police teargassing journalists and peaceful protesters, a massive prison population used as forced labor, etc. 

Some random Chinese company that makes injected plastic minis isn't the Chinese Government. Just like a US widget company isn't the US government. 

Also, the reality of the situation is that the US and China's economic interests are tied together due to global capitalism and you really can't hurt the Chinese economy without hurting the US economy.

8 minutes ago, xanderf said:

"Don't let perfect be the enemy of good"

If you insist on being able to solve every problem at once, you will never actually make real progress on anything - if for no other reason than that the majority doesn't care at all, and any given minority large enough to EFFECTIVELY call for meaningful change...well, will never agree 100% on what that change needs to be.

Bringing more things back to domestic (or at least Western European, where similar humanitarian/environmental/safety/etc laws exist) production is not a bad start, and I'm happy to see interest in the conversation and hopeful to see where it could lead.  I mean, it's a topic that is not unique to Armada - I've seen this come up on other forums, even BoardGameGeek, and this thread has been one of the most supportive of even asking the question that I've seen anywhere, lately.

You can't just bring back jobs from China without confronting Global Capitalism.

China didn't steal those Jobs, American capitalists decided to move those jobs overseas.

As long as the incentives to maximize profits are in place, jobs will always flow where they can be done cheapest, and protectionism through tariffs will always result in all sides of the trade war being hurt. The big two options you have are market socialism or some form of planned economy, which may actually be feasible given the advances in logistics we've made in the last few decades.

Edited by ExplosiveTooka

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1 minute ago, ExplosiveTooka said:

You can't just bring back jobs from China without confronting Global Capitalism. As long as the incentives to maximize profits are in place, jobs will always flow where they can be done cheapest, and protectionism through tariffs will always result in all sides of the trade war being hurt. The big two options you have are market socialism or some form of planned economy, which may actually be feasible given the advances in logistics we've made in the last few decades.

Again, you're trying to solve everything at once, which will never do anything.

'Bring back jobs from China'?  Don't look at that as the goal, you are shooting too far, and so will fail.  Of course you are correct that the key is 'maximize profits', where China is effectively dominant as they disregard laws and basic humanitarian rights that the US and most European countries ostensibly agree are important and try to adhere to (yes, with mixed results).

But pick the battles you can win - we're on the discussion board of one company, here, and one that is not large enough to be immune to a vocal minority in the way some larger multinationals are.  And, perhaps more key, in an industry where other companies HAVE successfully done exactly this - brought their core manufacturing back to locations with more sustainable laws and practices - and remained financially successful.

Don't shoot for the moon - be practical, be FOCUSED, concentrate on the changes that are possible and could make a difference and still be financially viable.  Get that done, then move on to other questions.

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3 minutes ago, xanderf said:

Again, you're trying to solve everything at once, which will never do anything.

'Bring back jobs from China'?  Don't look at that as the goal, you are shooting too far, and so will fail.  Of course you are correct that the key is 'maximize profits', where China is effectively dominant as they disregard laws and basic humanitarian rights that the US and most European countries ostensibly agree are important and try to adhere to (yes, with mixed results).

But pick the battles you can win - we're on the discussion board of one company, here, and one that is not large enough to be immune to a vocal minority in the way some larger multinationals are.  And, perhaps more key, in an industry where other companies HAVE successfully done exactly this - brought their core manufacturing back to locations with more sustainable laws and practices - and remained financially successful.

Don't shoot for the moon - be practical, be FOCUSED, concentrate on the changes that are possible and could make a difference and still be financially viable.  Get that done, then move on to other questions.

Are you familiar with the meme, where spongebob is destroying a clock, and squidward opens a closet and there are thousands of clocks all in neat little rows?

FFG producing goods in China isn't even a clock

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1 minute ago, ExplosiveTooka said:

Are you familiar with the meme, where spongebob is destroying a clock, and squidward opens a closet and there are thousands of clocks all in neat little rows?

FFG producing goods in China isn't even a clock

And if the most anyone who felt strongly about this topic did was write FFG a letter about it...

...I mean, no, actually, I won't complain about that.  Honestly I suspect most people that care strongly enough about that to be talking, here, on the topic ARE doing more than attacking the 'FFG that isn't even a clock'.  But maybe not.  Maybe they don't care to do more.  Maybe they don't know who to contact?  (Daily fun fact!  If an American - do you know who represents YOU, that you can write to AT ANY TIME and you'll be able to start a conversation with them or their office?  No?  Well, here ya go!  https://myreps.datamade.us/ )

But, frankly?  It doesn't matter.  WHY ATTACK SOMEONE ON YOUR SIDE BECAUSE YOU DON'T THINK THEY ARE DOING ENOUGH?  Like...WTF?  Where is the sense in that?  Okay, you feel like they should be doing more, but...like...they are...well, were, ON YOUR SIDE...in some small way.  And your reaction is to attack them so hard they run to the other side?  This is baffling!

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1 minute ago, xanderf said:

And if the most anyone who felt strongly about this topic did was write FFG a letter about it...

...I mean, no, actually, I won't complain about that.  Honestly I suspect most people that care strongly enough about that to be talking, here, on the topic ARE doing more than attacking the 'FFG that isn't even a clock'.  But maybe not.  Maybe they don't care to do more.  Maybe they don't know who to contact?  (Daily fun fact!  If an American - do you know who represents YOU, that you can write to AT ANY TIME and you'll be able to start a conversation with them or their office?  No?  Well, here ya go!  https://myreps.datamade.us/ )

But, frankly?  It doesn't matter.  WHY ATTACK SOMEONE ON YOUR SIDE BECAUSE YOU DON'T THINK THEY ARE DOING ENOUGH?  Like...WTF?  Where is the sense in that?  Okay, you feel like they should be doing more, but...like...they are...well, were, ON YOUR SIDE...in some small way.  And your reaction is to attack them so hard they run to the other side?  This is baffling!

Can you please point to where you've been attacked? Geez man. 

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