It is exciting for startups to have an idea about a product and see that idea become tangible. Getting from the idea stage to having a tangible product is easier said than done.
Before a product makes a startup revenue, startups have to go through sketching out the idea through building a prototype and then getting the product manufactured. Finding the right manufacturer is critical if a startup is going to be successful.
The manufacturer will have a pivotal impact on the quality of the final product. This means that the manufacturer that the startup chooses will have an impact on future revenue. Startups cannot be afraid to ask important questions about the manufacturer before choosing to partner with them.
Several websites let startups research manufacturers. On these websites, you can find information about local and international manufacturers that might be the right choice for your job.
The manufacturing cycle is not simple. It is sensitive, and much of the success of your business depends on that manufacturing cycle working well. It is not enough to do a couple of hours of research to find the best manufacturer or create a good manufacturing partnership. Many manufacturers opt to hire an agent who has expertise in manufacturing and logistics. If your budget allows you to take this route, it is one of the safer options.
However, if your startup does not have the budget for this more expensive route, you may want to learn from people who already have experience getting their product manufactured. Owners of startups are usually in contact with other entrepreneurs. This strong community provides resources for navigating manufacturing waters.
Your startup can communicate with others to find out how they went through getting their product from idea to market. Ask questions about hidden traps. Try to get a feel for common setbacks so that you know if your interactions with a manufacturer represent the norm or if the manufacturer is providing low-standard service.
The manufacturing needs of your startup are unique. This means that the manufacturer that works right for another company may not work right for you.
For example, you may need to fabricate CNC machined parts. This means that you will need a manufacturer that has precision machining technology. Success will depend on you doing more than simply searching, “find a machine shop near me.”
You will need to find a machine shop that specializes in your request. This is because not all CNC machine shops can handle all areas of manufacturing. As you go through your search, you will find that some concentrate on certain services but may lack the equipment or resources to handle other techniques efficiently. You will want to make sure that the CNC machines shop has the ability to accommodate your specifications and the tools to meet your precision machining requirements.
In this example of precision machining, accuracy is key. If the machine shop can’t meet your requirements down to a fraction of a millimeter, they are not worth your money.
This is just one example of trying to find out who can provide the products that you need. In addition to machinery, you are going to think about labor conditions, sustainability, eco-friendly protocols, and the ability to source the raw materials you need. All these things will impact whether the manufacturer meets the standard for your startup.
Another question you have to ask is, do you want to manufacture your products abroad or in your home country? Most startups look to produce quality at the lowest possible cost. This means that working with an overseas manufacturer may be the only option.
While costs are reduced, you have to remember that manufacturing overseas typically means longer turnaround times and issues and expenses with customs. You may need to travel internationally to meet the manufacturer and visit their site as necessary.
Whether you manufacture your product locally or overseas, there are several things to look for. Ensure your manufacturing partner has the expertise and tech know-how, they offer quality and reliability, and their turnaround times are within your tolerances.