5 things to look out before your private label mass production!
Choosing a manufacturer for your product can be a challenge. You have a great new product, and you have done all the required test to ensure as much as possible that it will be successful. Maybe you have been making small batches of the product in your garage assembling them yourself, and now you can’t keep up because they have been so successful. Well, in the big picture this is a good problem to have because you are well on your way to success, but this success can all come to an end if you choose the wrong factory to manufacture your product.
Things to consider when choosing manufacturer
When selecting a place to manufacture your product, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. You want to consider the cost of manufacturing, the quality of the factory, the reliability of the facility, and the turnaround time that the plant will take from getting your order to you getting your product. You don’t want to make the decision on what factory to use quickly and need to do some test to find the right facility for you. Since you are a new company, an American factory problem isn’t an option for you. You need to maximize profits by keeping all cost down. That is why you have been making your product yourself after all, right? Well, now you are at the stage that paying a factory is costing less than your time of making the product, so you got to find someone to make it for you.
How to protect from product idea theft
The best place to find an affordable factory is China, but how can you ensure that your product idea will not be stolen. You can’t one hundred percent ensure that it won’t be taken as corruption happens, but you can prevent it by doing a few things. First get a patent on your product. Get anything you can patent be it the product itself or anything special about it that is patentable. Next, research different factories in China. If you go to a trusted facility that a lot of other companies use, such as Groupe Casino or Kroger, then chances are pretty good that they can be trusted. Also, make sure to do a background check on the financial situation for your factory that you are considering. A current audit will let you know that the manufacturer you are choosing is in a health situation and not going to go under as soon as you start working with them. Lastly, draw up legal paperwork about the order you are placing. Is it a sample versus mass production order, what is the time requirements, how many products are you ordering, and all the necessary things? For added protection, a nondisclosure agreement can be included. Also, consulting a lawyer about the contract can help cover your side, but most trusted factories know what they are doing.
Overcoming communication challenges
Talking to the factories for the first time you may run into a common issue, and that is the time difference. Also, language barriers can be a challenge too if you don’t know Chinese and they don’t know English. A trusted factory should have someone that understands English fairly well, so you shouldn’t have too many issues getting the message across, but smooth delivery and quick responses can be a problem. China is roughly twelve hours ahead of the United States depending on location, so if it is noon in the United States than it is midnight in China. This means you could be playing email tag and the process could take a while. To prevent this, you might need to stay up later or get up earlier as most factory offices are opened eight in the morning to five at night their time. If you stay up a phone call can get a lot of your questions answered faster than an email, but email makes transferring legal documents easier.
Ways to find factory
Getting back to finding a factory now, you may not be able to find a reliable factory just from searching on the internet or talking to others. One of the best ways to find a factory is to go on factory visits. You can plan these while a trade show is going on and you can promote your product while over there. Factories also go to these trade shows. There large trade shows all around the globe for various sectors. You want to pick a show that relates to your product, so if it is in the electronic/photography sector than Photokina is a good show. For apparel MAGIC in Las Vegas is a well-known show. Canton Fair, Hong Kong Electronics Fair or Hong Kong Houseware Fair are ones of the bigger shows in China and cover a wide range of categories of products. The reason why factory visits are so great is you can ask the questions you have to person and can also see their production standards and machines that they use. This will help you know if they can make your product to the standards you desire.
Importance of samples
Once you have a factory picked out that you want to try, you really should do a sample production run first. This can answer the questions you have on quality and turnaround time that an email cannot answer. You want to make sure that the sample production run is held to the standards of a full regular production run. If the factory cannot get the sample to the quality that you desire of the final product, then you should walk away from them. Also, when ordering a sample, you want to include all the design draws and material specifications. Samples cost can vary depending on if new molds have to be made or things need to be tooled. If new equipment has to be made, then it can be very expensive, so you might want to change your design a little so they can modify some of the equipment they are already using. If this cannot be done and you still want to use that factory for your product, then you better be willing to have a long term relationship with them because the new designed tools are going to cost you. As long as they don’t have to redesign or make new molds, then you should only have to pay shipping fees on a small sample run.
When having a sample made, you want the factory to understand that they should treat it as an actual order. Push and ensure that time is valuable and you need the product as quickly as possible. Set aggressive deadlines and a trusted factory will strive to meet them. Since you cannot be there every day to watch what they are doing, you got to make sure they know you mean business. However, don’t push too aggressively at first because you are trying to form a long term relationship with the factory you are choosing. You need to always be polite and respect customs, even when trying to make sure deadlines are met. Once you got the sample and it is up to your standards, it is time to make a real order.
Road to success
Picking a factory to produce your product is a big decision. You want to ensure you have a factory that produces a high-quality good and promptly. Cost is important to make sure you aren’t overcharged, and that is why it is good to look into multiple factories. Giving up control of the production of your product can be scary as you don’t know if your idea will be stolen. Also, communication can be a challenge, but as long as you follow necessary precautions finding a reliable factory to produce your product is a big growing step in your business and one step closer to you being successful.
Sarah Kaiser is a project manager at Casino Global Sourcing, the sourcing division of a French retailer Groupe Casino. Godirek.com is the product catalog of Casino Global Sourcing, which offers helps and tips from product sourcing, cost saving to sales boosting for Amazon third party sellers . She’s a fan of water sports and has studied business management in France.