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How to Find a Manufacturer for Your Product Idea (2022)

Written by José Max Lin
Last updated
March 22, 2022

In today's competitive marketplace, it's important to find a manufacturer or supplier who is reliable and can assist you with your project.

Finding a good manufacturer or supplier can be challenging, especially if you don't have experience working with them. This guide provides tips to help you find a manufacturer or supplier for your next project.

What is a Manufacturer?

A manufacturer is an entity that produces goods for sale in commerce. It is also considered as a person or company engaged in manufacturing. However, this rule has many exceptions, and some companies may perform both functions.

Is a Manufacturer a Supplier?

Supplier types include manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors. You'll want to consider the difference between these three types. Manufacturers make the goods, wholesalers sell the goods, and distributors distribute the goods.

You can also add trading companies to the list if you are a retailer. A trading company offers products from different manufacturers who then produce them for you. However, they do not have their manufacturing facilities, quotes at a higher price, and do not provide professional suggestions for the previous ones.

inspecting stock products

Domestic vs. Overseas Manufacturers

When looking for suppliers, you'll need to decide whether you want to source domestically or overseas. Overseas can refer to any location abroad. 

It's good to secure two manufacturers: one domestic and one overseas. Your local manufacturer can be used as a backup. So, if orders from overseas are late or incorrect, you can fall back on your local supplier. They are often more expensive, but it's better to keep products stocked and customers happy than to have them wait for overseas shipments.

When sourcing cheaper goods overseas, you should consider Asian countries such as China, India, or Taiwan, lower labor costs. But there are more things to consider than upfront investment and cost per unit.

Domestic Manufacturer

Advantages:

  • Easier communication
  • Higher manufacturing quality and labor standards
  • Faster fulfillment times
  • Reduced shipping costs
  • Flexible payments options

Disadvantages:

  • Higher manufacturing costs
  • Limited production

Overseas manufacturers

Advantages:

  • Reduced overall costs
  • A high number of manufacturers to choose from
  • One-stop services
  • High volume capability

Disadvantages:

  • Communication and time zone barriers
  • Increased shipping costs
  • Longer shipping time
  • Low intellectual property protection
  • Costly to verify manufacturer and visit on-site
  • Goods importation and customs clearance

Researching Reputable manufacturers

Finding a manufacturer for your product idea is simple, but it takes time to identify a reputable manufacturer. You can start your research from here:

Google Search

At present times, we get used to finding everything with Google. However, most manufacturers' websites are old or not search engine optimized. At this time, you may need to explore page two or beyond in the Google search results. Using specific keywords may help you improve the quality of search results.

For example, you can include words like:

  • manufacturer
  • supplier
  • factory
  • wholesale
  • distributor
find a manufacturer with google research

Trade Shows and Exhibitions

Trade shows and exhibitions are events designed to market to businesses that provide goods or services to other businesses. They also offer an opportunity to meet existing and potential suppliers.

You can start finding trade shows and exhibtions at:

Referrals

Finding referrals is becoming easier with the help of social networks. For example, on Facebook and LinkedIn, you can connect with business insiders, join industry groups, and see if anyone has a glowing review.

Some recommendations are:

  • don't be afraid to ask
  • look for successful individuals
  • point you in the right direction

Directories

Another place to find manufacturers is through online directories. They are free and contain thousands of manufacturing companies. Depending on your needs, you can search for domestic or overseas suppliers.

Online domestic directories:

domestic directories kompass

Online overseas directories:

overseas directories indiamart

For online directories, ensure the manufacturer is a gold supplier, verified factory, and provides trade assurance.

About the Manufacturing Company

Don't know how to find a manufacturer for your ideal product? When choosing reliable and potential manufacturers, businesses need to take into account the followings:

Manufacturing process

Each product has a different manufacturing process. For example, here are the steps to follow to create your very own handbag from scratch:

  • Step 1: Choose a material
  • Step 2: Select a pattern
  • Step 3: Get ready to sew
  • Step 4: Finish your design
  • Step 5: Attach handles
  • Step 6: Add closure

Another example is in the process of a clothing manufacturer. It has many different processes, including fabrics receiving and relaxing, form layout, laying, marketing, cutting, screen printing, sewing, and quality check before creating a garment.

Production Capabilities

Most importers understand the importance of looking for suppliers who can produce what they want. They focus too much on the production capabilities of potential suppliers. Verifying a supplier's production capabilities requires more than simply speaking to a supplier representative you found online. Quality suppliers must consistently make custom products that meet your requirements.

Production process

A manufacturing company produces goods using various processes. The production process may include:

  • Step 1: Design - Refers to the initial product idea or concept behind the product. It involves brainstorming ideas, sketching designs, and creating prototypes.
  • Step 2: Development - In this stage, the manufacturing company develops a detailed plan for the product. It includes defining specifications and requirements, developing a prototype, and testing the product.
  • Step 3: Production - They start producing the actual product during this phase. It can involve mass production, assembly of parts, packaging, labeling, shipping, and delivery.
  • Step 4: Marketing - This is where they promote the product to customers. It can include advertising, public relations, branding, and other promotional activities.
  • Step 5: Sales - After the product is ready, the manufacturing company sells it to customers. This process may include negotiations, contract signing, purchase order processing, and invoicing.
  • Step 6: Distribution - Once the product reaches the end-user, the manufacturer delivers the finished good to them.
  • Step 7: Maintenance - This involves repairing defective or broken products. It can also involve upgrading software and hardware.

OEM and ODM Services

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) services are crucial as they help you get your products to market quickly. But nowadays, just a few manufacturers are still providing both of them.

OEM Services

Allows you to have your brand name and logo printed on their products. They can print your logo on anything that they sell, including but not limited to: Bags, T-Shirts, Hoodies, Glasses, etc.

ODM Services

If you are interested in custom manufacturing, this is your option! You provide them with the design, take care of production, and send them to you. It is perfect to create something unique for yourself or your business. 

Research and Development (R&D)

A manufacturer with strong research and development (R&D) capabilities is an advantage. They do market research and help you develop new products faster than other companies and improve the quality. This means you're getting the best outcome possible, perfect for your business.

research and development

Product Quality

A quality supplier who knows about the products more than you is likely to know about quality issues and suggest solutions. If your supplier exports to your target market, they should be familiar with your quality and regulatory standards.

For example, if you're designing a handbag, you'd want to ensure that every part of the bag is designed correctly. This means ensuring that the materials meet customers' requirements, that the hardware performs appropriately, and that the interior is comfortable.

Most factories only specialize in making a specific type of item. For example, a factory may only make handbags or clothing, so they aren't usually familiar with other types of products. It's important to ask questions about the factory's expertise with your product line.

Product Sampling

Before the mass production, you should ask the manufacturing partner to send you a golden sample for our approval. In some cases, we could then test the sample by sending it to a lab for verification. Finally, we should ensure our supplier's production capability matches our product specifications.

Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)

To get the best price, it's always better to order in bulk. The minimum order quantity (MOQ) helps determine how much you should order. MOQ refers to the smallest amount of goods or services required to fulfill a single order.

For small businesses in a startup looking for a specific item or service, it's important to know how much you should order before placing an order. This is because ordering too little might result in delays or even missing out on the opportunity altogether. On the other hand, ordering too much might cause unnecessary manufacturing costs.

Ease of Communication

Language and cultural barriers can cause problems when importing products from abroad. Working with a supplier who speaks your language and understands your culture will help you avoid these issues.

However, it's not just their ability to speak fluent English that makes them easy to communicate with. The best suppliers are open and direct with easy ways of communication.

Trends in the Market

Sustainable materials are taking place in the whole market. More and more businesses are planning new sustainable strategies as it is one of the most important things you need to ensure its future. Industry leaders and small companies are now aiming to develop products using raw materials that are recyclable or renewable.

A sustainable manufacturer is like a doctor. They are responsible for their products and have a responsibility to help protect society. They are accountable for their materials, process, and sale.

Time Schedule

When dealing with manufacturers, make sure to schedule your appointment with them as soon as possible. Timing may vary depending on the manufacturing partner. You may consider the following times while finding a manufacturer for your bags:

  • Leading time: for goods in stock and custom branding.
  • Transporting time: if you choose by train, sea, or air.
  • Clearance time: depending on the importing and exporting goods and countries.

Compliances

Ethical Compliance:

Ethical sourcing has become more popular as companies ensure that their products are relatively produced. Companies are trying to ensure that their products aren't made using enslaved people or children.

Products need to be made in safe working environments, so your brand's reputation is protected by ethical practices. You should make sure that your suppliers do not use child labor, pay fair wages, or follow other human rights regulations.

business compliance

Regulatory Compliance:

If you want to import goods, make sure the factory you're importing from complies with local regulations.

  • RoHS: This certification is required for certain electronics sold in Europe.
  • GMP: For food, medical devices, etc.
  • GCC: For any non-children's products subject to a U. S. consumer product safety rule
  • CEC: For electrical and electronic equipment
  • MPTL: For packaging materials and components
  • CPSL: For children's products

Quality Control System (QC System)

Even after deciding on a reputable manufacturer, you'll want to ensure the quality of the product before you go ahead and make an order.

A personal visit to the supplier is the most effective means of checking if the product is being produced according to specifications. However, this method is costly and time-consuming. You can cooperate with third-party quality control to audit the supplier's quality management system based on ISO 9001 or similar standards. They will then provide you with a report with some recommendations for improvement.

For any of the cases, you can learn more about suppliers by verifying areas such as:

  • Raw materials
  • Finished product inventory
  • Machine and equipment maintenance and calibration
  • Certifications or licensing
HANDBAGIO product specialist
José Max Lin
I am product specialist and content marketing specialist for Handbagio. If you want to wholesale vegan handbags or vegan related products, feel free to ask me any questions.
Connect with me
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How to Find a Manufacturer for Your Product Idea (2022)
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