Small businesses usually have limits when it comes to manufacturing. This is especially so when they are starting up. They have limited office space, few employees, and other challenges facing them when it comes to meeting large orders. But you can change that by turning to outsource manufacturing. Instead of buying equipment and hiring employees, you can give your partner a list of ingredients or components, along with the manufacturing process. They will then deliver the finished product to you so you can start selling. But you can easily make mistakes with your outsourcing. Here are some tips on how to avoid them.
Focus On Expertise
When you are hunting around for your manufacturer, one of the first things that you should be looking for is expertise and competence. It is very tempting to go with the manufacturer that offers the lowest price, but that is a big mistake. Your contract manufacturer will be making your product, and if it is not of the best quality, then you just wasted your money.
There are several ways to ensure you are getting a good manufacturer for your product. For one, you can look at their past performance. Ask for referrals from other small businesses that outsourced their manufacturing. They should be able to point you in the right direction. When you do find a manufacturer, you should tour their facilities to see whether they have the right equipment and expertise. You can also ask for sample production runs to see whether they can make your product right.
Work With Someone Who Understands You
A lot of contract manufacturers are in foreign countries. This is mainly because of cheaper labor and expenses. So it is essential that when you are looking for a contract manufacturer that they can understand your instructions and have staff who can speak your language. This can help significantly in emergencies or when you need updates.
During your visit, you might check if the staff is fluent in English. Additionally, you may take steps to make yourself better understood. For example, you can have all instructions translated into the local language. This understanding should also extend to cultural things. Some countries have a different work culture that might excuse cost-cutting. Be clear about the standards you want followed to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Always Check The Supplier
When you are working with a contract manufacturer, they will usually be the ones providing the raw materials. For example, private label cosmetic manufacturers source their raw materials themselves after their clients give their list of ingredients. To be sure that they are of the highest quality, it is a good idea to check on their supplier and do a separate vetting process. Do assessments based on their prices, their ability to supply at a specific volume, and their reviews. You want suppliers that you can be sure will deliver on time and have the best quality. Remember that the final product depends on the materials. Harmful materials mean bad products.
While it is tempting to look over your manufacturer’s shoulder, it is best to give your contract manufacturer a bit of freedom. Since they are likely a world away, daily updates are a bit too much, even with modern communication. Weekly reports are more forgiving and can still provide you with the information you need. It would be best if you trusted your manufacturing partner to do their job. Just give them a goal to aim for like maximum production and let them do their jobs.
Be Sure About The Legalities
Another aspect of outsourcing is that there needs to be a contract. This is what assures both sides that they will be able to deliver on their promises. But one problem is that sometimes deals cross borders. For example, your business is in Canada, while your contract manufacturer is from China. The two countries have very different laws concerning meeting obligations and what can be considered legal or not.
To ensure that your contract manufacturer will keep its part of the deal, you need to have contracts that are effective wherever they are. Consult with a lawyer to ensure that these contracts are solid. A mistake or a weak contract can allow your former partner to cheat you.
Outsourcing is a powerful tool for a small business. You can start competing with larger companies and carve out a market share. Depending on your plans, this can be a permanent arrangement or a temporary one before you have your manufacturing facilities. With the right approach, you can be sure that your partnership is not a mistake.