Whenever your business needs something manufactured, whether it’s a final product or an individual prototype, you will need to find a suitable manufacturer. If you’ve never looked for a manufacturer before then the world can be a little overwhelming at first; most people don’t realize just how many different types of manufacturer there are and find it a bit difficult to navigate all the various terms.
No matter what exactly you need to have manufactured, you should apply the same criteria to a manufacturer whether they are manufacturing a single prototype or a whole production run of your product.
1. Don’t Rush Into Anything
Even if you are in a time-sensitive situation, you should never rush into a long-term arrangement without first carefully assessing the lay of the land. If you really need to make an arrangement now, make it a short-term arrangement that will not bind your hands for the foreseeable future. If necessary, seek a short-term arrangement that gives you enough time and space to find a long-term partner.
Rushing into a long-term arrangement without taking the time to assess your options can see you locked into an arrangement that doesn’t accomplish your objectives or doesn’t represent the best deal that you could have struck.
2. Don’t Overestimate the ‘Made in America’ Label
Some businesses go over and above to have their products manufactured mostly or entirely in the United States so that they can take advantage of a bone fide ‘Made in America’ label. Unfortunately, even with nationalism at an all-time high, American manufacturing means a higher per-unit cost for most industries, especially those that want to manufacture at volume. Those costs will inevitably be passed on to the customer.
3. Price Isn’t Everything
When you are deciding on the right manufacturer for you, you need to look beyond the price alone. Obviously, the cost per unit is very important for any manufacturing contract, but you need to look at qualitative data as well as quantitative data.
For example, what is the reputation of the manufacturer that you are considering, what do they offer that their competitors do not. You also want to stick with manufacturers who are open to auditing. If your business is caught using products manufactured in poor conditions, your business will pay for it in PR damage and lower sales. You can save yourself a huge potential headache by choosing manufacturers whose supply chains are known to be safe, reliable, and high standard.
4. Take Time to Research
Researching the right manufacturer should take time. Even if the first deal you come across seems like a great one, it is worth taking a little more time to assess other options. Remember, the price is only one factor that you need to consider—you also need to assess the quality of the manufacturer’s work and their reputation and reliability.
If you are unsure about any terms or any of the services that a manufacturer offers, don’t be afraid to ask them. A good manufacturer will make it easy for you to find the right services for your needs and will help to steer you in the right direction.
5. Consider China
China is the main manufacturing base for the global economy, they make an unfathomable amount of stuff every day. There are several reasons that businesses choose China as their manufacturing base. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just big corporations that are able to utilize China’s manufacturing benefits, small and medium-sized businesses are also increasingly able to benefit.
Chinese manufacturing can offer your benefits in terms of costs and productivity at every stage of the production process. This includes Chinese prototype manufacturers, low volume production services, and the high-volume manufacturing that you may need one day.
Specialty businesses can pair US businesses with manufacturers in China who provide common manufacturing services like CNC machining and injection molding, alongside sheet metal fabrication and 3D printing services. They offer both polymer and metal 3D printing, enabling them to tackle a versatile range of products.
Outsourcing your manufacturing needs to china will enable you to benefit from the huge labor force that exists there, as well as labor conditions that are favorable to businesses when compared to the US. You will also get the usual benefits of outsourcing—access to factories, equipment, and trained staff that you don’t have to shoulder the costs of.
Finding the right manufacturer will make a huge difference to your business. If you need to produce your prototypes or products within budget and on time, you are going to need to find the right partner to work with. A long-term relationship with the right supplier will see your business set for life with regards to its manufacturing needs. Over time, this can give you access to savings not available to most.