Having a new business idea is an exciting moment. You might be in the early stages of this idea or already have your business plan and design ideas ready. However, at some point comes the hard part of finding an excellent manufacturer to source your new product. There are plenty of good ones, but they’re not always easy to find, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
What does a manufacturer do?
A manufacturer is a business that creates and produces finished goods/products from raw materials, such as wood, plastic, or cotton. They usually stick to one type of product; for example, if you wanted to create gym clothes, you could work with a precision sportswear manufacturer who produces bespoke garments for your startup business.
Here are some tips to help you find the best manufacturer for your business.
Do your research
Research is so important when setting up a business. It is imperative when choosing which factory will produce your product. Be up to speed on your market research and begin looking in your local area and beyond for a factory to help you get on your feet.
If you’re unsure where to start, try attending a trade show for your product. A trade show is a great way to meet inspiring people, competitors, distributors, and potential manufacturers who might be able to help you with your business idea.
Choose local if possible
At the start of your career, it can protect you and your business from sourcing locally. If you can’t find one in your city or state, consider choosing an American manufacturer, at the very least. While you might get cheaper rates in factories based in China, they have a significant downside: you can’t monitor the manufacturing process properly. Suppose you do notice an issue down the line with the quality of your product. In that case, it will be difficult to fly out to the other side of the world, especially regularly.
Additionally, a lot of people prefer to buy products that are produced in America. There’s been an increase in demand for U.S. products, especially since the pandemic when people had to rely more on what was already available. People also like supporting startups, especially if it has a sustainable element.
Look out for poor labor practices
Once you find a potential company, make sure you do a background check on how they care for their employees and what they do to reduce environmental damage. These two things could cause disastrous PR crises, so you must know what is happening behind the scenes. Things to consider include the following:
- How are workers compensated?
- Are employees appropriately paid?
- Is there a high turnover rate of employees?
- Do they get breaks and work decent hours?
- Are working conditions safe?
- Are working conditions compliant with government regulations?
- What are their environmental policies?
When looking at potential manufacturers, it can be helpful to consider their reputation. Who have they worked for in the past? Have they ever been in trouble and received a regulatory fine?
Also, look at their level of knowledge and experience as well as their technical abilities. Ensure they understand the market you’re trying to break into and how to help you succeed.