Imagine this: you’ve got a great idea for a business, you’ve nailed your target audience, and you’re all set to build an incredible eCommerce website. But when it comes time to actually develop the product, you just can’t get it right. Scary thought, right? Finding the right material handling manufacturer for your business can be challenging. If you don’t choose the right partner, you can run into a wide range of issues, from product quality to cost to shipping delays. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you make this important decision.
- LOOK FOR EXPERIENCE
Choosing a manufacturer for your business is kind of like dating. You don’t want to rush into a long-term relationship before you get to know the person. Feel free to play the field and test multiple suppliers. Before making any commitment in time or money, learn all you can about the factory in advance. This may include doing a search on the government website, which provides relevant information about licenses, outstanding liens, and the names of principal ownership. Take the time to track down any previous customers and inquire about their past experiences if possible. It would be of great help if they have a well-established reputation for quality and reliability. However, smaller or specialty suppliers may be relatively unknown outside of niche markets. No matter what you discover, if you’re prepared to take the next step that means you should invest in visiting them for yourself.
- HIGH QUALITY PRODUCTS
You’ll likely want samples to inspect before making a full order. Sample pricing ranges, depending on the product and manufacturer. Some heavy equipment manufacturers that receive many requests may charge the full retail pricing, others will offer you samples at a discounted rate, and some may even send you samples for free. Some contract manufacturing companies will even offer multi-service, design-for-manufacturing consulting. Using their own team of engineers, welders, machine operators and project managers, you’ll get valuable insight and improvements on the design and manufacturing proficiencies of your products from the actual folks helping to produce them.
- DOCUMENTATION AND COMMUNICATION
Communication between your chosen outsourced manufacturer and yourself is paramount. This means clear planning, instructions and initiatives completed during every step, from early screening and confidentiality agreements to finalized product shipment. What’s more, all this must be executed in formal, written documentation for all parties to reference. The best manufacturing companies will set up sufficient touch points, maintain honest processes and adhere to all your written documents and manufacturing requirements. They are clear and proactive about any disruptions in the supply chain or changes you might need preparation for. All service expectations and requirements with contract manufacturers need to be communicated in writing. Since trust and follow-through are critical to these sorts of business relationships, you need to guarantee yours are fully noted. Include objectives for the partnership, product formulation process, turn-around timelines, raw materials, shipping and material transfers and party responsibilities to begin, as well as any extra service scopes or final deliverable needs.