Plenty of businesses work with a manufacturer to produce goods. These include prototypes for initial designs to large-scale productions on assembly lines. Business relationships are no different from personal relationships in many respects. Good communication is key. You both need to be on the same page in terms of end goals and timetables. And you also need to agree on the details of the partnership.
No two relationships are the same. Just because you have worked with one manufacturer for a previous product line doesn’t mean the relationship will be fruitful for a new product. Here are some reasons why it is so important to nurture a relationship with the right manufacturer.
A poor relationship with a manufacturer will be fraught with difficulties. If the manufacturer or their representatives aren’t responsive to your communications or fail to deliver a product or prototype on time, it could cause you massive issues in the supply chain or with customers. Quality is another issue. If you expect one level of quality and receive another, are you going to be happy? And let’s not forget cost. No business wants to receive an invoice that far exceeds what they were expecting to pay.
Choosing the right manufacturer for your business partnership is critical. Poor decision-making will cost you time and money, not to mention customers.
What Do You Need from a Partner?
Think carefully about what you need from a manufacturing partner. Do you require large-scale production of a relatively simple item, or is your product highly specialized? Each manufacturer has its own specialty and the equipment to facilitate different production lines.
For example, injection molding manufacturers can produce bespoke medical equipment whereas garment factories specialize in mass-produced clothing. There are many different business models out there as well as middlemen who can facilitate the production of items from many smaller companies and individuals.
OSH Park LLC is a good example of a company that takes orders from multiple people, makes up the designs, and orders them from a large manufacturer. This speeds up the process for all those involved and helps smaller companies take advantage of cheaper manufacturing prices.
Can the Manufacturer Accommodate Your Needs?
Look at what the manufacturer does and decide whether they can accommodate your needs. If you’re a startup with a small order book, it is pointless working with a large manufacturer, as your orders will never be prioritized. Instead, look for a smaller manufacturer that is happy with smaller orders.
Of course, this also applies to the opposite situation. If you have a large order book, you need a manufacturer that can accommodate your demands. Smaller manufacturers won’t have the production capacity, and before long, lead times will get longer and longer.
Health and Safety
Check the manufacturer’s safety and quality record. Are they regulated and licensed? This is very important if you work with a manufacturer overseas, where the same degree of health and safety might not apply. If you end up working with a manufacturer that employs child labor, for example, it will irrevocably damage your brand.
Take your time choosing a manufacturer and visit each facility before you make a final decision.