A Short Guide to Finding a Manufacturer to Make Your Product

February 24, 2021



min read

A Short Guide to Finding a Manufacturer to Make Your Product

As a talented entrepreneur, you have what it takes to come up with a revolutionary product, but masterminding a stellar product idea may prove to be fruitless if finding a manufacturer for your product is out of reach. While the upfront costs of doing business with an overseas manufacturer may look attractive, it's important to remember that these manufacturers work on volume and the quality of product you receive is often subpar when compared with products made in America. Here are some common challenges you may face when finding a manufacturer and some steps to take before you finalize your selection.

Why is it So Hard to Find a Manufacturer?

Finding a manufacturer who is willing to make your product is not necessarily hard. It's finding a skilled manufacturer with a proven track record of success that may prove to be a challenge. Here are some reasons why it can be tricky to find a dependable manufacturer:

  • An overwhelming number of choices: There are over 577,000 manufacturers in the United States, with millions of others located worldwide.
  • High-volume requirements: Many manufacturers have a large minimum order size which is impossible for many cash-strapped startups to meet.
  • Industry-specific requirements: Some industries have special requirements, such as USA-based manufacturing to ensure quality.
  • Slow turnaround times: Small and large manufacturers alike are often unable to meet turnaround time requirements for end users.

What are Some Questions to Ask Yourself Before Launching Your Search?

Your search will prove to be much more fruitful if you have an organized plan. That means answering some key questions before you begin vetting potential manufacturers. Here are five questions to ponder before you begin your official search:

  • What is your budget for manufacturing?
  • Would you prefer to have your product made in the USA?
  • Do you plan to produce your product in bulk?
  • What are your needs with respect to manufacturing space?
  • Does your industry require you to adhere to any special quality guidelines?

What Steps Should You Take Before Signing a Contract With a Manufacturer?

Before you dive headfirst into a relationship with a manufacturer, you need to make sure you are dealing with a firm that is trustworthy and capable of developing your product. Here are four steps to take before you commit to working with a specific manufacturer:

1) Run a background check on the business

The path to choosing the best manufacturer for your needs begins with a careful examination of their background and current industry standing. Here are some tips to running a background check on a manufacturer:

  • Make sure the business is licensed. The manufacturer you choose should be licensed and insured for your protection.
  • Review government information. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is committed to protecting consumers and businesses.
  • Request a business credit report. While you may have to pay a small fee, it's a small price to pay to weed out financially unstable companies.

Securing this information may prove to be more challenging if you are evaluating overseas manufacturers. But it's even more important to carefully evaluate firms in other countries. Forging ahead without checking to see whether an offshore manufacturer is legitimate can lead to quality issues and devastating financial loss.  

2) Request references and call them

Once you've narrowed the playing field a bit, it's time to do a bit of investigating of your own. And there are few better ways to learn the good, the bad, and the ugly about a manufacturer than to reach out to some existing and past customers.

  • Ask to see samples: If you're in a similar industry, it can help to see what the final product looks like so you can gauge product quality.
  • Inquire about promise dates: Ask each reference whether the manufacturer was able to adhere to promise dates or deadlines.
  • Ask about quality concerns: It's important to know if any quality control issues occur, and if so, how the manufacturer addresses them.
  • Assess responsiveness: Failure to return phone calls or provide updates is a major red flag. Be sure to ask if the manufacturer is responsive.

3) Know what questions to ask potential factories

By the time you reached this step, you've likely narrowed the list of possible manufacturers significantly. To further whittle down your options, it's important to have a list of key questions for them to answer. While your list will vary depending on your industry, here are a few questions that often transcend industries:

  • How many years of experience does the manufacturer have working in your industry?
  • Do you use subcontractors or is all manufacturing completed by in-house employees?
  • What special technologies do you employ to help meet deadlines and precision requirements?
  • Within which countries are your components manufactured?
  • What are your payment terms and what modes of payment do you accept?
  • What are the top reasons why a business should choose you as a manufacturer?

4) Schedule a site visit

There is no substitution for a live visit to a manufacturer's plant. A site visit enables you to decide whether you feel comfortable with the manufacturer's operations, production staff, and leadership team. Here are some things to look for when you visit manufacturers:

  • Production activity and efficiency
  • Facility cleanliness and organization
  • Safety policies and protocol
  • Quality control procedures
  • Work ethic and professionalism

If the manufacturer is a good fit for you and your product, you will leave their offices feeling positive and motivated to move forward. But if you notice a lack of attention to safety, organization, quality control, or productivity, it's best to consider other options.

Finding a Manufacturer: the Bottom Line

Choosing the right manufacturer can make or break your product launch. By following the steps above, you can help make sure you select the best fit for your specific needs. If you are ready to turn your vision or prototype into a reality, the best thing to do is to reach out to an expert in autonomous manufacturing for guidance.

As a leader in AI-powered manufacturing software, Launchpad knows how challenging it can be to find a dependable partner who can meet your manufacturing turnaround time. Depending on your proposed product, we could guide you by providing estimated pricing, assembly solutions, and delivery options for USA-based manufacturing.

To learn about the cutting-edge solutions we offer, we invite you to reach out to us today. Our company represents an excellent balance of affordability and quality, and we are proud to offer a proven pathway to clients seeking a cost-effective manufacturer in the USA. We look forward to serving as your trusted manufacturing partner!

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