Whether you’re starting a side-hustle or you’ve realised a ground-breaking and innovative new business idea, finding the right manufacturer to bring your concept to life can either make or break your venture.
Having built a successful business that takes care of the full supply chain, procurement and consulting aspect, we connect Australian businesses with top-tiered and leading manufacturers across the globe. They understand how important and time-consuming the process of product development is, so they’ve provided you with five key points to help you on your journey to success.
1. Establish what your deal-breakers and essential qualities are
Before you get stuck into your research, it’s best to form a set of strict guidelines that your ideal manufacturer must tick off. For example, if you’re a firm believer in sustainability, having a manufacturer that doesn’t comply with sustainable practices is an instant write-off. Once you’ve established your firm guidelines, this will immediately reduce the number of inappropriate manufacturers who aren’t the right fit.
2. Determine whether your products will be manufactured domestically or internationally
The big question that is always controversial for many businesses; to manufacture onshore or offshore? When sourcing domestically, it’s easier to find more reputable and reliable manufacturers that apply to all of the Australian codes and standards. You’ll also most likely face quicker shipping times, greater security, and no communication barriers. However, this usually sits with higher manufacturing costs.
On the other hand, when using an international manufacturer, you will find more options. However, there are definitely disadvantages if you don’t source the right international manufacturer, such as low-quality products, long turnover and shipping times, lower intellectual property protection, and language barriers.
3. Do your research!
Quite often after doing a quick Google search, many people find themselves on Alibaba. The issue we found with Alibaba is that their offshore base makes it difficult to communicate effectively and ensure products and samples are ordered and arrive on time, especially during our current climate with COVID.
In addition, it’s difficult to confirm whether the manufacturer chosen is certified to produce the product as it appears in their photos. Quality assurance is a common issue and the last thing you want is to receive thousands of units of a poor-quality product that you cannot return.
4. Ask the right questions
Once you found the right manufacturer, be sure to ask these important questions before you go ahead and give them the details of your product:
- What’s the minimum order quantity (MOQ)?
- How much will sampling cost be? Will this payment be deducted out of the first order if we go ahead?
- What certifications do these products come with?
- What’s your usual turnaround time?
- What are the payment terms?
5. Be savvy with your approach and ALWAYS formalise your discussions with a contract
The biggest mistake you can make when placing an order online is not including all of those important features and finer details into the final purchase agreement. For example, customised packaging, tactile features, Thank-You cards, and recycled materials. Even if they were included on your sample round, don’t assume that they’ll be in the bulk order.
Having a formal document officially signed by your supplier will ensure the quality, colour and sizing of your product is as you had intended it to be. Most of all, it ensures you will not be stuck with a hefty invoice and a large quantity of stock that you aren’t absolutely satisfied with.
These five points are the basic and highly essential recommendations and processes that any business, small and large, should abide by in the process of finding manufacturers.
Giovanni Pino and Ellie Vaisman, Co-Founders, Sourci