Friday, January 23, 2015

Is It Wise to Import LED Signs from China?

If you take a look at all the products you use, chances are you will find that a majority of them are made in China. It has become so prevalent that there happens to be hundreds of “made in China” jokes told every minute. However, there is a good reason for this abundance of China-made goods and that is they offer cheap labor which translates to more profit for companies that get products from them.
Getting more bang out of your buck is a great business ethic but questions are raised on what you are actually getting when you go for China-made goods. Any serious American company that goes to China for their manufacturing needs will always want an on-site quality engineer in the factory because as the saying goes about China-made goods, “You get what you inspect and not what you expect.”. Just read the book ”Poorly made in China” by Paul Midler, to get a better understanding of how things can go wrong when doing business with China.

LED Signage from China
This is not to totally discredit the quality of China goods but it bears something about the subject. When you factor in the fact that quality is 50-50 and the fact that you need to pay for shipping, wait for the cargo, and pay taxes—well, it seems more trouble than it is worth, doesn't it? It is for this very reason why more and more companies are bringing their manufacturing back to the good ol' USA.
This should be a heads-up for businesses and other people in charge that are thinking of getting their LED signs from China. It might be tempting to save several hundred bucks on your LED sign and get it from Shenzhen but what if it arrives and it doesn't work as it should? Do you have to ship it all the way back to China? Can you get technical support without communications difficulties? Try getting support at 2 pm in the afternoon on a Friday when it is 4 am on a Saturday in Shenzhen. Ever play phone tag? Communication can be bad enough even when people are in the same time zone. If you do manage to contact someone will you be able to understand them through the language barrier? Compare that to buying your LED sign in the USA. If there is a problem you have someone you can speak to within hours not days to get your sign back up and running.

Things Can and Do Go Wrong
It is hard to talk about LED signs from China and not sound like a complete black propaganda instigator but the fact stands that when you order LED signs from them at deeply discounted prices, you get what you pay for. You will be surprised at how creative they can become in using old parts for “new” LED signs just to save dollars and cents from the total cost.
Lets talk design. In China the LED signs are designed to be mounted within in a waterproof surround on the side of a building. This is much different than in the US where signs are set out on a pole and expected to withstand the elements of rain, wind and snow. Signs for the US need to be designed to shed the water away from the the electronics with minimal holes to prevent water intrusion. Cabinet finishes are have to be  durable and long lasting to preventing rust and deterioration. Using a sign not designed for the correct environment will lead to sign failure, as has been found by many distributors (and customers) of China products.    
This is not to say that every LED sign they produce is bad but there can be issues, and most of the time, there are. Sure, there are excellent China-made components that are used on US-made LED signs and there is no denying that they are truly world-class but when these world class components are used in a wholly China-made LED sign that has poor design overall, you get yourself a bad deal.
To really drive the point home, one LED sign is not the same as another LED sign especially when comparing US-made and China-made LED signs. If you want quality, ease of use, and excellent support, choose US-made LED signage.