Superior Spas, a hot tub dealer and distributor in East Midlands, UK announced recently that they have broken ground on a 400,000 square foot, state of the art, hot tub and swim spa manufacturing facility in Hubei, China. The company wants to expand their footprint outside of Europe and have a more international presence. Once the factory comes online in March of this year they will be able to stock 2000 finished hot tubs in China and another 900 units in their distribution center in the UK at any given time.
The company also hopes that their aggressive growth plans will not only bolster their own production (Superior Spas, Platinum Spas) but it will also generate new partnerships with brands looking to outsource their own manufacturing needs in a more cost effective way. This is a very interesting proposition for smaller, regional hot tub brands sprinkled around the country as it would give them an opportunity to lower their manufacturing costs, improve profit margins, and deliver better value to their dealers and retailers making them more competitive. This does come with its share of challenges as Chinese hot tub manufacturers have been trying to break into the United States and European markets for years but have been plagued by poor customer service, quality, and production delays. However, one manufacturer, Passion Spas, has taken a fairly success run at Chinese manufacturing using a similar model that manufactures in China but has a large domestic distribution center where customer service, order management, warranty, and service are handled and replacement parts are stocked. We’ve learned that Chinese hot tub manufacturing has been an uphill battle but maybe over time and better supply chain logistics and customer service we will see more of a shift towards offshore hot tub manufacturing in the future. For now the outlook seems foggy.