Finding the Right Partner
When you first come up with a product idea, you might not know how to approach a manufacturer with your product idea, let alone how to manufacture a prototype all on your own.
When trying to manufacture a product, choosing how, when, and where it’s going to be produced is essential to your trajectory as a business.
That’s why we’re going to discuss three things in this article:
- How far do you need to go to find the right manufacturing partner
- Why finding the right manufacturer can have such an effect on your business
- What you need to do to make sure that you find the right partner
Without further ado, let’s take it from the top…
Where Do You Look for Manufacturing Partners?
First things first — where do you even start your search? Should you look for a product manufacturing company in your local area? Or is browsing the web for cost-effective overseas companies a better idea?
Your approach should be based on your current needs and future plans
Working with a local manufacturer can be easier in terms of communication but it will cost you. Operation costs are one of the main reasons why, for the last three years, US companies have worked with overseas manufacturers more than with domestic.
On the other hand, finding an overseas factory can take more time. According to Greg Shugar, the co-founder of the Thread Experiment, the number one reason for people not working with overseas companies seems to be the difficulty of finding a manufacturer to make your product.
Let’s look at the benefits of both domestic and overseas manufacturers to give you a better idea of what you can expect from either option.
Benefits of Domestic Manufacturers
- The language barrier won’t be a problem so you can communicate easily
- Without the shipping time, your orders can be turned around much quicker
- You can always meet the manufacturers in person to sort out a problem
Benefits of Overseas Manufacturers
- It allows you to avoid labor, expensive equipment, and overhead costs
- Moving the production offshore can help your company save a lot of money
- The labor skill gap between foreign and domestic workers has been decreasing
- You can find highly specialized suppliers overseas that no longer exist domestically
- The move allows you to potentially show off your product to an international audience
Why Partnering With the Right Factory Is Important
Picking the wrong manufacturer can be devastating to your business. Who you choose to work with will impact everything from the quality of your product to your ability to deliver the product to your market on time.
Let’s say, for instance, that you have a technically demanding product. Your manufacturer needs to be able to produce at the level of complexity you need without requiring your direct involvement.
A subpar manufacturer won’t be able to produce your product without constant micromanagement. And that will take away time that would be better spent on other operations that are vital to your business.
How to Vet Potential Manufacturing Partners
Now that you know where you can find a manufacturer and why finding the right factory is so important, we should discuss how to find a manufacturer — and how to vet them.
1. Can They Meet Your Needs?
First off, partnering with a large company is something you need to take seriously. You simply can’t afford to make mistakes. Research the people you want to do business with.
Find out if they have manufactured a product similar to yours in the past.
Only when you determine that they have a good track record and that they can meet your needs — both quality and quantity-wise — should you continue with the negotiations.
2. Are They Credible?
Next, you need to know whether the company can do the work they say they can. As Nick Paradise, CEO of Thread Buds explains, you need to know your manufacturers properly before coming to a manufacturing partnership agreement.
During this stage, it would be smart to stick to phone and email.
Ask to see some examples of their previous work. Examine their reports, see how the product they manufactured performed on the market. Use translators if you must.
3. Are There Cultural Differences?
When dealing with a foreign company, you need to know how to approach a business partnership. Remember, you’re dealing with a different culture than yours, which means you need to be prepared.
You should try to learn about the country’s traditions and customs.
Again, in most countries, you won’t be able to do anything without a translator. For instance, you can’t learn how to manufacture a product in China all on your own when only 0.75% of the population speaks fluent English.
4. Do They Provide Good Value for Your Money?
While the cost of manufacturing is much lower in Asia and certain parts of Europe, it doesn’t mean that all of them are cheap. You don’t want to waste time learning how to partner with local businesses only to find out that they charge more than other manufacturers in the region.
Why is this so important?
Overspending can destroy your business in less than a year. Businesses fail all the time and “inability to control expenses” is one of the main reasons why so many businesses don’t see past the first 10 years.
5. Can They Make Your Job Easier?
Last but not least, you need to find a partner that will make your job not only cheaper but also easier. Working with someone that always needs consulting can take too much time and can end up costing you.
You also can’t just go with a “tier 1” company and hope they’ll work everything out on their own.
Sometimes, partnering up with a smaller product manufacturing company makes more sense. Just make sure that everything from technology to management style of your partner matches.
When choosing whether to work with a foreign or a domestic partner, you need to consider both pros and cons of each. But always keep in mind that partnering up with the wrong manufacturer can affect your business negatively. Remember to ask the right questions and get to know your potential partner.
Now that you know how to get business partners, go out there and start working on it.
If you want to manufacture a product, keep the costs down, and increase your profits, we have your back. Mark One can help manufacture everything from metal castings to plastic packaging. Check our services page for full details or send us a message with your requirements and we’ll get back in touch.