As a startup, one of the best decisions that an entrepreneur can make is to find the perfect manufacturer for the business. Companies that sell or intend on selling direct consumables to customers must build a long-lasting relationship with the best producers in their industry.
To be candid, finding such producers can be a cumbersome exercise to engage. This piece, however, will judiciously explain the process and steps involved in finding the perfect fit producers.
Key decisions to make before contacting a manufacturer
Before deciding to contact a manufacturer, one must carefully consider the following.
Decide how many producers will your startup need?
Manufacturers are people or organizations that refine raw materials into finished goods or goods that can be used to produce other final products or consumables. Depending on the type of products that a business is dealing with or intends to engage in, an entrepreneur may need more than a manufacturer to run his business successfully.
For instance, a bra company might need just one manufacturer to produce and supply bra products. On the other hand, a technology or an engineering company might require the services of two or three different manufacturers to supply parts to make up the final product.
Identify the sole reason why you would need a producer
Some entrepreneurs can require the services of a producer to supply products that would be re-branded locally while some other entrepreneurs need manufacturers for direct dropshipping for their online store.
A manufacturer that would be required for dropshipping purposes must offer certain services especially shipping and on-time delivery of products. Manufacturers whose products will be rebranded might not have to do much other than ship to the entrepreneur.
A local manufacturer or a foreign manufacturer?
There are manufacturers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, Pakistan, etc. There are manufacturers everywhere, it all depends on the type of products, quality of products, and the cost of production.
Usually, there are enough manufacturers to choose from but the puzzle starts with deciding if a local manufacturer would work or a foreign manufacturer. According to research, In the United States, the average production cost of local manufacturers is usually costlier than that of similar foreign manufacturers. Although, there might be a slight difference in the quality of products.
The merits that come with patronizing a local manufacturer in the United States include; verifiable physical address guaranteeing reliability and security, On-time delivery, No language barrier, and Products with higher quality. However, the demerits can be higher cost of production and limitation in design and actual production.
The reality is that most entrepreneurs, especially in the United States, prefer producers from overseas. Majorly because of the lower cost of production compared to their counterparts in the United States. Another reason is that there are a lot of options to choose from. The truth is manufacturers, especially in Asia, are readily available to get as many orders as they can get. In other words, they are so eager to get the United States dollars.
This is however a little bit risky as the product design can be used as a pitch to win bids from similar startups or companies. Language, reliability, shipping, and low quality can also become barriers.
How much time and energy will be required?
This endeavor requires quality time and energy channeled into. Perseverance, patience, smartness, and top-bargaining skills are highly required while sourcing for the perfect producers. To be honest, one just has to be diligent about it.
Steps Into Finding the Perfect Producer
The first step is research. Logically, there is no way to get answers without asking questions. To get manufacturers, one has to look for them. The best ways to go about this start first with the world’s most popular search engine ‘Google’.
Using keywords on Google can do the trick. For instance, an entrepreneur looking for a bra producer in Asia can just google ‘Bra Producers in Asia” OR ‘Bra Manufacturers in Asia’. Someone looking for such results must do well to browse through as many pages as possible i.e., stopping at the first page is not just enough. The real producers are not usually tech-savvy with their SEO and might not be ranked on the first page.
Popular online dropshipping directories such as Alibaba, Oberlo, AliExpress, Sourcify, Thomasnet, etc. are all useful resources for finding the best manufacturers. Most of these directories have filter features that can be used to get refined results in searches.
Keeping out an eye on popular social media groups and channels is also a good idea. It’s easier to find producers that have already been tested and trusted. In the United States, the North American Classification system can also be used to find registered professional manufacturers.
Diligent research will produce results. These results can be sorted to fit the requirements that are being sought. The research ensures that manufacturers can meet certain requirements such as quality, the time needed for delivery, shipping costs, production cost, and values of the manufacturing company.
The previous stage, if done judiciously will result in a list of potential manufacturers that would then be contacted. Each manufacturer can be reached through email, phone call, or text. It is however best that international manufacturers are contracted through emails. Local manufacturers can be contacted through text or phone calls. The first conversation should be about introduction, how and why you need their services.
Afterward, the designs should be discussed. The prototype has to be developed at first to check and balance the strength and weaknesses of the proposed product. The cost of production, shipping time, minimum order quantity, etc.
After the negotiation, product design, prototype testing, ordering samples, and negotiation have taken place. At this point, trust and some sort of relationship must have been built. Then order can be placed. The reality at this stage is that massive profit should not be the main goal of this relationship.
The key to finding the perfect manufacturers is channeling the right energy into the research. Exploiting the manufacturer for excessive profit should not be an agenda but instead one must focus on building the best relationship, creating the best quality products, and making sure that everything goes as planned.