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 develop the product, you 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 encounter various issues, from product quality to cost and shipping delays.
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 searching the government website, which provides relevant information about licenses, outstanding liens, and principal ownership names. Take the time to track down any previous customers and inquire about their past experiences, if possible. It will 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, you should invest in visiting them.
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 provide multi-service, design-for-manufacturing consulting. Using their engineers, welders, machine operators, and project managers, you’ll get valuable insight and improvements on your products’ design and manufacturing proficiencies from the folks helping to produce them.
3. 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. Moreover, all this must be executed in formal, written documentation for all parties to reference. The best manufacturing companies will set up sufficient touchpoints, maintain honest processes, and adhere to 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 contract manufacturer requirements must be communicated in writing. Since trust and follow-through are critical to these 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.