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Production info

bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
edited April 2011 in Everything else LEGO
This was recently posted in the LEGO Ambassador forums ... thought it would make interesting reading ...
"All parts for the minifigure series are made in China at Broadway and they are also packaged at Broadway.

For Ninjago it is as follows:
- All spinners are made at Broadway
- All the legs, torsos and heads for the Ninjago Spinner set are made at Broadway
- All spinner sets are packaged at Broadway

I need to verify if weapons and head part also are made at Broadway for the spinners set.

All play them sets: 2258, 2259, 2260, 2263, 2504, 2505, 2516 (I hope I got all the numbers right :-)) and the key account set (set only available at some shops) are made with bricks and minifigures moulded and packaged in either EU or Mexico at LEGO factory plants.

I hope it clears what is made where - if not please let me know.

Regarding the perceived quality and specially that the parts seams translucence.

I will share the information with our Q-team in China and ask them to set up an process to verify that the parts are solid in the color. But All of you can help me by posting what figures that you expedience it with in order for me to conduct a more crisp communication to China.

And at the end I just need to inform you that we have not moved the above minifigures to China in order to save cost. The main driver for the decision is capacity. We currently do not hold the capacity in Billund to mould, assemble and decorate the number of minifigures needed currently. We are in the process of expanding capabilities but as the sales keep increasing we have a hard time to keep up with demand."
For info, we know 'key account sets' as 'retailer exclusives' (e.g. TRU exlcusives). For me the last part is the really important/interesting one.

Comments

  • Rainstorm26Rainstorm26 Chicago Burbs USA (and sometimes Ireland)Member Posts: 1,004
    Why doesn't Lego expand capacity in Billund? At some point they would be able to stop production in China. Instead they seem to expand capacity in the places which have low cost labor. Mexico, China, Czek Rep., etc. So if the main driver is capacity, why not build capacity in Billund or near-by. Pretty soon with the dollar going down the toilet, pretty soon the US could be a low cost mfg location. I would hope they expand capacity by building a plant here in the US [maybe Chicago :)].
  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    The plant in Mexico is owned & operated by LEGO themselves. They are expanding production capacity there (by something like 3x), but it takes time. Their current huge profits are paying for the Mexico plant expansion.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,250
    edited April 2011
    I have said in the past: give it enough time and the US will be the cheapest labor in the world.
    Also what point is it good to outsource your production where any cost savings are offset by absenteeism, theft, and poor quality and control??
    I kind of find it funny that China makes TONS of knockoff to Legos that Lego cannot stop.. but yet Lego produces Lego in China.. I guess if China has one thing right in terms of thinking about jobs for their people.. I think I heard If you want to sell your product there you have to also build some of it there and share your tech in the process. Not sure how true that is, but if it is it means jobs for the people of China
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    @Rainstorm26 I don't think they own the China operations. I think it's a stop-gap measure as they expand the plants they do own. I think that it is in China because China has a lot of the infrastructure for plastic molding in ready supply considering it produces so many plastic things.
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 808
    edited May 2011
    And at the end I just need to inform you that we have not moved the above minifigures to China in order to save cost. The main driver for the decision is capacity.
    Yeah, I just don't buy that at all. Basically, I interpret that as "we needed to expand SOMEWHERE, and the cheapest place was China". So, no, technically they didn't cut production elsewhere and move it to China to save money-- they just expanded to China to save money over expanding somewhere else, where the quality might have been better. That's how I interpret that, anyway.

    DaveE
  • Rainstorm26Rainstorm26 Chicago Burbs USA (and sometimes Ireland)Member Posts: 1,004
    @brickmatic TLG's stop-gap measure seems to have taken up a more permanent place in their production strategy. It has been 4 years or longer that they have been producing in China. That should have been more than enough time to build capacity elsewhere.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    ^ I think they do have a place for outsourcing in their strategy: provide flexibility. Hence why complex specialty parts seem to be made there (think cows, camels, and trolls). However, based on what bluemoose said, the Mexico plant is being expanded.
  • CrackseedCrackseed Member Posts: 90
    Well, if they can't bring the quality of the China made parts [suddenly makes sense why the Spinner figures seem really odd] up, I hope they cut use of that place once they have expanded their facilities.

    I can grasp that they can't keep up with demand - when I consider the amount of bricks they have to print as they keep expanding lines + the demands we as customers place with sales, any company in their position is going to search for a short-term solution like that.

    My only beef is that this should be a short-term stop-gap, not a continued "Oh, well, we already have it there so we'll let them do it and just try to fix quality when possible" solution because that'll only cause more and more problems. Get the necessary expansions done at their primary plants and close off doing work with lower quality production asap.
  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    The plant in China isn't owned by LEGO; it's owned by 'Broadway' & they do work under contract for many companies. They operate on a huge scale, and that gives them the capacity to take tasks from people like LEGO; their scale allows them to keep their costs low, whilst also remaining flexible. I'm pretty certain it's a short term arrangement ... 4+ years is 'short term' for companies like LEGO. Once the expanded (LEGO owned) Mexican plant is open, I think we'll see a rapid reduction in the use of Chinese sub-contractors. It won't go away completely; the far-east production of 'extended line' products (foam sword & shields, kitchen scales, ice-cube trays, etc.) will continue ...
  • LegoLegendLegoLegend Member Posts: 2
    I've noticed a very large difference in Quality and where the set's are made over the year's. I noticed on all the 2001 - 2003 LEGO Harry Potter set's that say: Made by LEGO System's Denmark Billund, or some other set's that say Component's made in Denmark and Switzerland. However I noticed the 2004 range of Harry Potter LEGO saying Component's made in Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, China and Korea. Most of the set's have Korea writing at the end or near the end and the first being Denmark. I noticed the set 4756 Shrieking Shack saying Component's made in Denmark, Switzerland, China, Korea and Hong Kong. And also the 10132 Motorized Hogwart's Express saying Made in Denmark, Switzerland, Hungary, China, Korea and Malaysia.

    I can't believe the amount of countries involved in some of them. 7776 Shipwreck is made in Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Germany, Korea, Hungary and the Czech Republic, and for such a little set.

    The only set of which I know that said fully Made In Korea was the Spiderman set 4852.

    I LOVED the fact that my 7261 2005 Clone Turbo Tank (With the normal Mace Windu) was Quality made; Component's made in Denmark and the Czech Republic. And also the majority, of the 2005 if not all saying; Component's made in Denmark, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

    Whilst the newer set's I have seen saying; Component's made in Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Austria, China, Mexico and the Czech Republic I suppose for me if it aleast say's a few if not all European Countries involved then I will be mostly happy. And if the set's that say China, Korea, Malaysia, Hong King or Mexico at least are at the end I will feel a bit better (Depending on the set) However there is nothing better than seeing Made In Denmark and the Czech Republic or Made in Denmark and Switzerland, those good Quality countries.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,390
    edited May 2011
    As long as it's not entirely made in China, or China doesn't get listed first, you should be OK. Many of the fancy heads, hats and other 'complex' parts in the PotC/AC sets (I think it's safe to say anything that comes in a small sealed polythene bag in a set) are made in China and generally they are OK quality. It's only parts that are made of ABS, like minifig legs and torsoes, which are absolute rubbish when made in China, IMO.
  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    edited May 2011
    A recent comment from LEGO on the Ambassador forums, following a question about which elements are made in China -
    Regarding manufactured elements in China, I do not have a list of elements but we produce less than 5% in China, and we do our utmost in order to ensure the same quality [as bricks made in Billund]
    The only way we're going to get this resolved in the short term is if people complain to LEGO about it. They take complaints very seriously; go to their support webpage & give them as much detail as you can as to why you aren't happy with their products.
  • OrthobotrexOrthobotrex Member Posts: 165
    edited May 2011
    I have said in the past: give it enough time and the US will be the cheapest labor in the world.
    If I had the financial capacity all the time, I'll buy anything made in the USA (or any EU country at that) anytime. The dollar doesn't need to dip. I also don't believe that China having the infrastructure to produce the parts would be the sole reason for them to do it there. Cheap labor will always translate to bigger profits. Although, I'm sure that TLG always wants its customers to be satisfied.

    It is said that China is to be the world's largest economy in a few years time (by 2016, I believe). And there have been news articles about their workers demanding better compensation. Even if that would lead to higher production costs forcing companies to seek other countries to do business with, I just hope TLG will strive to keep the quality of the bricks at their best.

    The only thing I'm glad for so far is that they havn't actually copied the design of the licensed figs like that of Star Wars. It will be a sad day to see a storm trooper with all the right shapes but differing only with the prints. I don't want LEGO to go the same way as that of the Transformers moulds!

  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,250
    edited May 2011
    The plant in China isn't owned by LEGO; it's owned by 'Broadway' & they do work under contract for many companies. They operate on a huge scale, and that gives them the capacity to take tasks from people like LEGO; their scale allows them to keep their costs low, whilst also remaining flexible. I'm pretty certain it's a short term arrangement ...
    Now I know how the Lego knockoffs in China are looking a lot like Lego sets...lol
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    It seems they're still manufacturing in a wide spread of places; the Pet Shop says it was made in Denmark, Austria, China, Hungary, Germany, Mexico and the Czech Republic. I'm not sure you could look at some parts in the Pet Shop and say they're lower quality than others. They seem to have the quality control pretty sorted.

    A lot of companies when they manufacture globally seem to just duplicate production, but Lego do seem to have a truly global production facility with different regions making different parts, then all of them coming together. Must be expensive in transport though, surely, compiling a single set from so many locations, and with the price of fuel only likely to go up, I would have thought they might want to reduce this to at least 1 or 2 continents rather than 3.

    Personally I cant wait for them to get their increased production up and running, because I assume this would increase the range of bricks available at any one time, especially through PAB, but also allowing TLG designers more flexibility in the design of new models.
  • AETerryAETerry Member Posts: 48
    edited May 2011
    The plant in China isn't owned by LEGO; it's owned by 'Broadway' & they do work under contract for many companies. They operate on a huge scale, and that gives them the capacity to take tasks from people like LEGO; their scale allows them to keep their costs low, whilst also remaining flexible. I'm pretty certain it's a short term arrangement ...
    Now I know how the Lego knockoffs in China are looking a lot like Lego sets...lol
    I think you're right. I was reading LEGO's Fair Play policy and looking at the picture examples of the LEGO design knock-offs... it'd explain it.
  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    ^ In the private company museum in Billund, they have a secret section containing lots of 'knock off' products that they use for reference ...
  • OrthobotrexOrthobotrex Member Posts: 165
    ^ sounds like a cloak and dagger operation!
  • OrthobotrexOrthobotrex Member Posts: 165
    ^ I was about to post that here as well...I hope it's not all in Mexico, though.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,088
    I bet you long time UK collectors miss this line.... "Made by British LEGO Ltd., Wrexham Wales" (1962-92).
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