ECS Factory TourKash - July 3, 2008
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That was quite a tour! I saw firsthand how a motherboard goes from raw material to a packaged product, with several eye opening steps in between. I never knew how many steps were involved in producing the actual PCB itself, and it was quite evident in the length of that part of the tour. The assembly part was also quite intriguing, with a single motherboard going from start to finish in a matter of minutes. I can see how ECS makes a claim of producing around 2 million boards a month with the number of assembly lines and people working each of them. The testing of each and every was what really impressed me. I was under the impression that only some of the boards would be randomly tested with the vast majority of them going straight into boxes. With ECS, not only is every board tested to ensure it works, but the company also goes ahead and stress tests random boards to verify strict quality control methods are being followed. What was neat about the stress testing was that ECS was running 3DMark, Quake, and other popular tests that we enthusiasts use to benchmark our hardware. Overall, I found myself with a newfound respect for the quality of products coming out of ECS factories.
During the tour, we inquired about the employees working for ECS. Some of the information was quite surprising. The employees work an average of eight hours per day, making approximately $120 USD per month. ECS has on-campus dormitories, which cost only $10 per month to rent per person, with anywhere from four to eight people living in each dormitory, depending on one's ranking. As stated earlier, the campus is essentially a small town in and of itself. When taking into consideration the fact that Shenzhen is essentially a factory town, that there isn't much to do outside the confines of the factory, and that a good portion of the workers are from small towns, this is all a pretty good deal for the employees. Also, while it may seem as though the workers are confined to the campus, they are most certainly free to come and go as they please. Though as I mentioned, there isn't really much incentive to leave unless one is going back home to visit family. A couple of last notes on the employees: the average age of the workers is between 18 and 22, with a turnover rate of only 5-6%. Overall, ECS is a pretty good place to work for the local Chinese.
After having gone through the tour and seen the methods ECS uses in producing its products, for retail and OEM (unfortunately, I cannot divulge for which companies ECS is an OEM manufacturer), I would highly recommend ECS products. Also, the high quality of workmanship can easily be seen in the products produced by companies who use ECS as an OEM motherboard manufacturer as many, if not all, of these companies are well reknowned for their high quality products. With the number one motherboard manufacturer providing the foundation for their products, it is easy to see why.