Contract manufacturing is an excellent avenue for companies that lack the capability for in-house production. But once you’ve decided to use a contract manufacturer for your business, how do you choose the right one? What qualities indicate you’re partnering with a reliable and responsible manufacturer?
Here are some aspects to consider when choosing a contract manufacturer.
The first consideration when choosing a contract manufacturer is their capability. Do they have the equipment, resources, and talent to manufacture your product? Or if they do not, do they have the ability to acquire what they need in short window of time? If the contract manufacturer does not have the capability to make your product, then you should not hire them.
Another consideration is experience. This goes two ways. Oneway experience matters is how long they’ve been in business. A contract manufacturer with years of documented products they’ve helped make and clients they’ve served indicates they are a reliable partner. If they even provide the names of other businesses they’ve worked with in the past so you can double-check their claims, even better.
But it’s also important that the manufacturer you select has experience with the type of product you make. If a manufacturer has 50 years of experience making skin creams but none making shampoos, and your product is a shampoo, then that experience isn’t relevant. Most contract manufacturers, such as RNA Corporation, have worked on a wide range of products and services over the years, so this may not be a concern. But you should still make sure your manufacturer is an expert at the product you’re making.
Where are you planning to sell your products? Only in theUnited States, or are you looking internationally as well? Different countries have different regulations that your product will need to meet in order to be allowed on shelves. While it’s obviously important for your business to know about international standards, a worthwhile contract manufacturer can help as well. If you’re looking to take your product overseas, working with a manufacturer who has experience doing so and knows the ins-and-outs of the rules and processes to do so can add provide additional value beyond the traditional production capabilities.
And even if you’re only looking to sell domestically, what about corporate regulations? For instance, Ulta, Sephora, and other beauty retailers have their own standards that products must meet to be sold in their stores. This is true for other industries as well. An experienced contract manufacturer should know the standards for these retailers and can help ensure that your products can reach the customers you’re targeting. After all, there’s no point making a good that can’t be sold.
Capacity is a concern both for large and small businesses, but for different reasons. A large business may worry whether a contract manufacturer has the equipment, manpower, and storage necessary to handle their bigger orders. But a small business will be concerned about the inverse, that a manufacturer is too large, and their product may become a lower priority.
It’s always best to communicate clearly with a manufacturer about your business’s needs and whether your goals are aligned with theirs. Otherwise, the partnership will not be fruitful.
When working with a contract manufacturer, you want a partner who is as invested in producing as high quality a product as you are. Unfortunately, there are companies who will simply take your design and then manufacture it as is. They won’t take the extra step to really study the product and figure out ways it can be improved. A quality contract manufacturer will have a quality control group who will test your product for any potential flaws, and then offer alternatives if any are found.
And if a manufacturer offers any additional services that add value, that should be considered as well. A R&D lab or other similar capabilities indicates a manufacturer can go beyond the call of duty and improve your product in ways you didn’t even imagine.
Choosing the right contract manufacturer is vital to the success of your business, and you need to ensure you choose a reliable company that treats you like a partner, not a client.
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