One of the first steps to starting a manufacturing business is getting access to materials. If you want to produce hundreds or even thousands of products, you can’t expect to purchase all of your supplies from the local hardware store. Follow these guidelines to find real vendors who can help your business grow.
Know What You Need
Before you begin your search, make a list of the items that you plan to manufacture on a regular basis. Think about what an ideal month of business would look like, and determine the quantity of materials that you would need to fulfill those orders.
This theoretical inventory list will make it easy to identify vendors and distributors who are prepared to work with your business. Seek out suppliers who carry several of the items that you need, and plan to acquire missing items from specialty providers.
Order Raw Materials in Bulk
The easiest way to gain access to raw materials like stone or metal is to order them in bulk. Once you’ve created a list of the materials that you are likely to need, get in touch with a company that creates or supplies those materials directly.
During your initial consultation, discuss how much of each material you think you’ll need on a monthly or seasonally basis. You should be willing to keep a small backlog of materials for future projects. Consider how you plan to store any excess, and ask the distributor if they have a buyback program for unused supplies.
Purchase Premade Whenever Possible
Even though you’re a manufacturer, you don’t actually need to make every part of your project by hand. It’s far easier to order items like stainless steel valves from another manufacturer who specializes in that product.
In general, you can purchase valves, fittings, adapters, and similar items directly from a manufacturer. Although it’s possible to purchase bulk amounts, you may also be able to limit your purchase to the items that you need for a specific project.
Form Strong Vendor Relationships
The success of your manufacturing business will depend on the good relationships that you form with your vendors. If your company takes off, you will soon find yourself making additional purchases on a regular basis.
When you first reach out to a vendor, work out a sustainable price for your business. Discuss package deals and the possibility of ordering larger quantities as your business grows. If you need materials that the vendor doesn’t supply, you should consider asking for a referral; you may be able to get a good price by working with a related company.
Your manufacturing business can’t succeed without materials, so take your search seriously. Choose high-quality materials that you know will make your own products better for their inclusion.
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.