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Our Guide to Choosing a Manufacturer

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The Spotz Guide for Sellers

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Our Guide to Choosing a Manufacturer

Once your business has really started to take off, and the demand for your products is beginning to exceed what you can produce on your own, it’s time to start thinking about hiring on an outside manufacturer. But how should you choose who to work with?

This guide will give you some handy tips as to how you should choose a manufacturing partner.

What are your Needs in a Manufacturer?

If you’re signing on to a long-term business relationship, you want to ensure that the manufacturer that you’re going to choose will be able to deliver the goods that you need, to your standards, and in a way that reflects your brand values. This really is two components: capability and compatibility.

The first: Is this manufacturer able to produce my goods to the standard that my customers expect? Some manufacturers will claim to be able to produce your product, but may use inappropriate or substandard materials in order to have a higher profit margin.

Ask whether your manufacturer is committed to the level of quality that you require. Additionally, will they be able to consistently manufacture the volume that you need, on time? These are important capability questions that you’ll want to answer.

Secondly: Are they compatible? If you are a business selling vegan products, for example, would you be comfortable having your products made by a manufacturer that also used materials derived from animals? Are there certain geopolitical factors relevant to production that you want to use, such as ‘Fair Trade’ Status? These factors are your ‘compatibility’ factors – does this manufacturer match your values?

Talk to Other Producers

Your direct competitors may not tell you where their goods are made, but non-competing businesses may be happy to direct you to resources for learning about how their goods are made. If you’re looking to source a manufacturer for wooden furniture, consider speaking to local tradespeople, or even producers in other parts of the country. These people are often willing to share information about their industry!

Set Clear Expectations

Once you begin to communicate with a potential manufacturer, be extremely clear and concise with what you expect. Details are critically important here, down to the smallest element.

Not only will you want to identify what you expect the final product to look like, you’ll also want to discuss cost breakdowns, capacity for volume, delivery times, as well as potential for expanded production in the future. These can be stressful discussions, but it’s important to have them up front in order to avoid unpleasant surprises later on.

Proper planning at this stage can save you loads of time and money – commit to setting clear expectations!

Visit in Person

This isn’t possible for all business owners, but it’s highly recommended. If you can get an opportunity to visit the facility that your goods will be produced in, take it!

This will give you greater peace of mind as to the facility’s capacities, and will give you greater peace of mind once your products start being made – you’ll have an idea of where your products are being made, who’s making them, and in what conditions.

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