As an entrepreneur, when you start working with a contract manufacturer in China, it can be tempting to simply not ask any questions and just trust that your Chinese partner will do everything necessary to manufacture your product correctly, on time and within budget. However, doing so can end up costing you precious time and money if you run into any issues with the product later on down the road or don’t receive what you expected from the manufacturer. That’s why it’s important to ask these 5 key questions every time you work with a new contract manufacturer in China.
1) What materials are available?
Some of the materials that are available for contract manufacturing include metal, plastic, and rubber. These can vary depending on what industry the manufacturer is focused on.
For example, if the manufacturer is focused on metal, they will be able to provide manufacturing services for metals like steel and aluminum. If they have a wider focus on plastics or rubber, then they may be able to manufacture more items that contain these materials.
This is important because it will give you an idea of what your options are for this particular company and how wide their capabilities really are. Knowing which types of materials they work with will also help you decide which type of contract manufacturer might be best suited for your needs.
If you’re looking for someone who can handle all types of products, then you’ll want to find someone who works with as many different materials as possible. However, if you need someone who specializes in one particular material only (for example, metal), then finding a company that focuses only on metal products might be better.
2) What techniques do they use?
Contract manufacturers use many different techniques. Some of these include injection molding, extrusion, and machining. They may also specialize in one or two of these manufacturing processes.
For example, if you’re interested in making a product with key metal components, it would be best to work with someone who specializes exclusively in metal injection molding. By doing so, you can ensure the highest quality products and efficient turnaround times.
In addition, you may want to ask what they can do regarding special coatings and logos. If you have something that requires extreme heat resistance or chemical resistance, it would be best to work with someone who has experience dealing with these types of coatings.
3) Do they have minimum order quantity
One of the first questions you should ask is what their minimum order quantity is. If they don’t have any, then you should probably keep looking and find one that does. This is a red flag for indecent quality.
If they do have a minimum order quantity, then you should find out exactly what that is. If you’re on a budget, this is important because it will give you some flexibility and cost control when it comes to production runs. You’ll be able to experiment with different designs and sizes of products without committing too much money or ending up wasting an excessive amount of product inventory.
It’s also possible that there are other benefits to having a higher order quantity, such as being eligible for wholesale prices or receiving discounts.
4) How Long Have They Been in Business?
One of the first questions you should ask is how long have they been in business. Ideally, you want a company that’s been around for at least five years and has experience with your industry. If not, it’s worth asking about their team’s experience and what they’ve accomplished over the course of those years.
For instance, a contract manufacturer might have experience working with other brands or companies within your niche. Once you find out how long they’ve been in business and what they’re capable of doing, it’ll be easier to decide if they’re the right partner for you.
It is not only about how long they’ve existed, but also their history of working with an international customer. If they are able to provide references, then it will make your decision much easier. Their past clients can either confirm or deny whether they will provide excellent service as well as quality products. The relationship between the customers and manufacturers are quite important so this question is worth asking when you meet them in person.
In addition, if possible try to talk to the owners directly and find out more about their background. In order for them to grow successfully and continuously learn new skills, these factors are crucial especially when thinking about potential expansion. Asking these types of questions before hiring a contract manufacturer will help both parties understand what type of expectations each side has from one another from the start!
5) Do they offer in-house design?
If you’re looking for design services, it’s important to find out whether the contract manufacturer can provide them. If they do, there are follow-up questions you might need answers to.
Does the manufacturer have an R&D department? If so, how many people work there? What are their credentials and what are they working on now?
If they don’t have an R&D department or if they only employ a small team, it might be difficult for them to get work done quickly or meet your expectations. In that case, you may want to consider hiring another company for design as well as manufacturing.
Good candidates for China contract manufacturing don’t come by easily. Shield Works is one of them with over 17 years of experience, spread out over the vast array of the industry in the region. Our background is the UK, and our expertise is in China. This combination means we’re knowledgeable in affordable China-made products. We would be happy to help your company be successful, if you’re interested! Contact us today!