Thinking about China's hardware tools industry


In the past half century, the Chinese tool industry has […]

In the past half century, the Chinese tool industry has experienced a long time of glory: rapid development, best-selling products, and good returns, becoming the leader in the machinery industry. However, in the era of reform and opening up, the tool industry did not see great limitations in our performance in a relatively closed environment; nor did it see that the contemporary technological revolution sweeping the globe is in the traditional manufacturing industry, including the tool industry. Bringing tremendous impact and pressure to change. As a result, the structure of the whole industry has been slow to adjust, the overall service level has stagnated, and the gap between the demand of the modern manufacturing industry and the tool industry has become increasingly serious, causing the tool industry to finally fall into the predicament of today.

China's manufacturing industry is not as large as Japan, but tool production is three times that of Japan, and it has clearly reached a dangerous area of ​​excessive expansion. Tool prices have been lowered over the past five years. Some companies even cut 40% to 50%, and the national sales volume has only reached 200 million pieces. More seriously, in the mid-to-late 1980s, due to the optimistic estimation of the market prospects, China's key enterprises of tool backbones not only expanded themselves, but also cultivated a large number of joint ventures to increase production capacity. Later, most of these joint ventures were separated from the parent factory for independent development. In addition, some state-owned enterprise employees set up factories on their own “going to the sea”, which constituted the first batch of tool private and township enterprises in China. These enterprises are flexible in terms of mechanism, and there are no historical burdens of state-owned enterprises. They may have become a new force in the reform and development of the tool industry. But unfortunately, due to the limitations of talents, technology, equipment, and management level, most of these enterprises are still a number of old ways of expansion, and they are intensifying. In just 10 years, the total amount has soared to 10 100 million pieces, the varieties are concentrated in twist drills, construction drills, woodworking kits, calipers and other low-end products. Although the number is large, sales account for only about 30% of the total domestic market. Although due to brand and quality reasons, these products have not entered the formal manufacturing tool sales system at home and abroad, but have already caused great impact in China's tool export market.

In the era of planned economy, all walks of life have a tendency to expand in quantity, but the tool industry has become more prominent. By the end of the 1980s, the basic team consisting of more than 100 key enterprises and fixed-point enterprises in the tool industry had formed an annual capacity of 300 million high-speed steel tools and more than 10 million pieces of measuring tools, ranking first in the world. At the same time, our neighboring tool manufacturing country Japan, the annual output of high-speed steel tools has reached a record high of 120 million pieces. Since then, due to the upgrading of manufacturing industry, the demand for standard tools has decreased, and the output has gradually dropped to 90 million pieces.

The second major mistake in the development strategy of the tool industry is the slow response to the wave of technological revolution and major changes in the international manufacturing industry. Did not seize the opportunity to timely improve the structure of China's tool products and services. The overall level of China's tool industry and the gap between foreign countries, after 20 years of reform and opening up, are not narrowing but increasing. This is a serious fact that we have to face. We know that developed countries in the West completed the “post-industrial development stage” in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s, they gradually entered the high-tech industries such as developing information, biology, new energy and new materials. In the era of knowledge economy or new economy, there has been a wave of high-tech transformation of traditional industries. Information technology, automation technology, modern control and management technologies have been rapidly and widely adopted, bringing mechanical product levels and service levels to a whole new level.

In this major transformation, the machinery industry has set an unprecedented high standard for its tool products, one of its main processing methods. In summary, it is high precision, high efficiency, high reliability and specialization, the so-called "three high and one special". This kind of requirement has created great contradictions and conflicts with the traditional standardization, generalization, and serial production of the tool industry. In the early 1960s, the new four-roll rolling process of twist drill was developed and promoted. In the early 1980s, it was eliminated in developed countries. In order to catch up with the development requirements of contemporary mechanical processing, the foreign tool industry has made up its mind to aim at the new goal of “three highs and one specialization” and completely change the old development model to a new height. This kind of all-round development and improvement requires a lot of capital investment and intellectual investment. At this time, we have lost the best development opportunities, and some companies with weak strengths are gradually unable to withdraw from the stage. From these developments and changes, it is not difficult to understand that the gap between the Chinese tool industry that has stalled and the rapidly developing foreign tool industry is an inevitable result.

Entering the market economy, enterprises first give themselves a correct positioning: Where are the advantages of the company? Which objects are suitable for service? How to serve? Correct positioning is the premise of enterprise development, and the purpose is to foster strengths and avoid weaknesses and surpass competitors in competition. In this respect, we must learn from the lessons of the planned economy era. We must do big and small, small and complete, do everything, and have no advantage. This is doomed to failure in market competition.

In recent years, industry insiders have often complained that the market is weak and sales are not smooth. In fact, the market demand structure is adjusting, the production structure has not been adjusted, and structural weakness has occurred. In this regard, there are figures to prove that only from 1998 to 2000 statistics, imported tools increased from more than 40 million US dollars per year to more than 80 million US dollars. It can be seen that in the field of high-tech products, market demand is still very strong. Reflection in the predicament: There is no way out in retrogression, we must learn new ways of survival and development in the market competition.

From the current situation of China's tool industry, it can be said that in general, in terms of traditional standardization tools, the performance price ratio of China's products is still quite competitive in domestic and international markets. This advantage must be maintained and carried forward, and it is also the capital of our development, but Don't make mistakes in blind numbers and chaos. In the modern tools and technical services of the "three high and one special", we have a big gap with the international strong players. However, in the international tool industry, large and strong multinational enterprises are a minority, and thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises still survive and develop. They rely on their expertise and small, specialized, small and strong roads. When the tool industry in China transitions to modernization, it must also play its part, starting from a small and specialized stage. In particular, the current large and medium-sized tool enterprises should not overestimate their own strength. In the process of technological innovation and improvement of enterprise competitiveness, we must also pay attention to highlighting key points, concentrate on fighting against the war, and avoid making mistakes in paving the way and blindly developing. This kind of positioning of the company's seeking truth from facts will instead exert the overall advantages of the whole industry and accelerate the pace of modernization.

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