How to Choose Manufacturing Partners

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The Importance of Doing Your Homework

Photo credit: myukewie via / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: myukewie via / CC BY-NC-ND

Your new design for a product includes a part you can’t make in-house. So now you need a manufacturing partner. Choosing one involves a lot of risk. How can you be sure that you’ll get what you’re paying for? How can you tell whether this manufacturer is one you can trust? There’s always a chance that you won’t get what you want, but if you do your homework, you’ll be much more likely to have a good experience.

Before you sign on with a manufacturer, do these three things:

1. Do your research: Before you sign any contracts, research¬†everything about prospective manufacturing partners. Find out as much as you can, not just about what they do, but about their history, ownership, location, financials — everything. Doing your due diligence in the beginning will save you loads of money in the end.

2. Rank your priorities: Are “highest quality” and “lowest cost” mutually exclusive? Maybe, maybe not. If the part doesn’t need to be top of the line, then you can choose manufacturers who will do the work for less. On the other hand, if you know that quality is number 1, you’ll have to pay more for it. That’s pretty much Economics 101, but it is something you’ll need to consider¬†before you start searching for a manufacturer. Other priorities: American/locally-made, green manufacturing/sustainability. versatility, low vs. high volume capabilities.

3. Work with a third party: There are third parties that can handle the above tasks for you. Sun Fast International connects American companies with offshore manufacturers, taking the burden of research off of the shoulders of American companies. Because Sun Fast International has long-standing relationships with offshore manufacturers, you’ll experience the added peace of mind knowing that your manufacturing partner has been pre-vetted.

When Manufacturing Partnerships Go Bad

What can you do when a manufacturer doesn’t deliver? Live and learn. And remember that, just because you had one bad experience, doesn’t mean all manufacturers will produce the same result. They want to be successful and make money too. Choose wisely, and you’ll find someone who can deliver parts that match your designs, on schedule and within your budget.

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