Just like any partnership in life, finding the right manufacturing company for your product is important. The first step in finding the right company is to understand your needs, whether it be turnkey, sourcing materials, assembly, warehouse, or prototype design. Once you understand your needs, you can find a manufacturer who is capable of fulfilling those requirements.
One big decision that you as a company must decide, is whether you want a domestic or overseas manufacturer. If locally made and sourced is important for you and your brand, you will be only looking domestically. One great resource that I relied on is thomasnet.com for finding manufacturing companies in the United States and Canada. One advantage of local companies is that you are able to meet in person and there may be an opportunity to have a tour of the facility. Whereas the main benefits of overseas manufacturing is the larger number of companies to choose from, and typically it will cost less to mass-produce.
A good thing to observe while exploring different options is if a company has an ISO 9001:2015 certification. This certification shows that the company meets the current quality management system requirements set out by the International Organization for Standardization. These standards are meant to show that the company consistently meets the requirements of their customers. This is not required by companies, nor is it a guarantee of satisfaction, but it is a good thing to keep an eye out for.
Consider beginning your research by creating a list of manufacturing companies that you believe could meet your needs. Searching online and seeking referrals from other companies is a great way to start the process. Personally, I found networking with others, who spoke highly of their manufacturers to be very useful.
Once you have a list or found companies you believe have potential, the next step is to reach out and contact the potential manufacturers. This allows you to find out more about the company, to see if your companies would work well together, not just capabilities, but also on a more human level. You will be in partnership for a good length of time, it is necessary to have mutual trust and respect for one another. When initially contacting a company, ensure to provide only high-level information about your products as you may risk others stealing your ideas. This step allows you to learn if they are able to meet your requirements in areas such as volume of production, timeline, and complexity of the product. A simple Google search will produce plenty of websites and blog post that go more in-depth regarding questions to ask manufacturing companies.
Collect and compare quotes from companies that you believe would be a great fit, but make sure you truly believe they would work, do not waste your time or theirs. Make sure to always protect yourself throughout this endeavour and protect the information you share. Non-disclosure agreements are critical when discussing your product or ideas.
Finding the right manufacturing company is a vital part of production and bringing your ideas to life. There are many resources on the internet to assist with this important decision – make sure to take your time to do research and talk to the companies.
International Organization for Standardization
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