How to find the right contract manufacturer for your product.
You have a working prototype, have designed your product for manufacture, have performed all the necessary quality assurance procedures, and are ready for mass production. But how do you find the right manufacturer to work with?
Look for three attributes as it relates to your product type: expertise, technology, and reputation.
- Expertise: Look for manufacturers that demonstrate knowledge of your product type and the materials that you are using. You can find this on their website and through direct contact. While you might already have answers, ask their advice for material selection, design considerations, and process expectations. A manufacturer with a broad, versatile knowledge-base can be relied upon to guide you through the manufacturing process.
- Technology: Look for manufacturers that make products in that same category as your own. Once connected, learn what you can about their process, and how their fabrication methods will be utilized to make your product. If the factory is nearby, ask for a tour of the facility! This ensures that they understand your needs and can fulfill orders of your product that are quality-assured and on time.
- Reputation: Look for manufacturers that share your values and goals. Who else has the manufacturer worked for? How high is its employee turnover rate? Ask for a reference from another entrepreneur of your size. It is important that you trust your manufacturing partner, and these questions can go a long way to establish that trust.
While foreign manufacturing partners are more diverse and likely deliver your product at a lower price point, there are several benefits to partnering with U.S.-based manufacturers that you should consider.
- If your budget initially accounts for small manufacturing runs, a domestic partner will be more likely to accommodate small batch sizes than foreign partners.
- Products made in the U.S. are perceived favorably in the consumer market. Consider highlighting this partnership as a part of your sales and marketing campaign, especially if it is supported by consumer research.
- If your partner factory is thousands of miles away, the logistics of checking in on the fabrication process can prove difficult. This becomes critical if the product quality is sub standard or the timelines have been delayed. This is not an issue if your partner factory is stateside, as any production delays and process monitoring can be handled in person.
Check out these online sources to find manufacturing partners that fit your needs:
- Jobshop.com (US)
- Maker’s row (US)
- Alibaba (global)
- Lkkerscm.com (China)
- Genimexgroup.com (China)
Finding and committing to the right manufacturing partner can have a long-term impact on your bottom line. Find a partner that has the right expertise and capabilities for your product type and matches well with your company values.
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