The Process of Finding a Qualified Manufacturer for a Product
Where products begin
Every great idea has a beginning from those created by the genius of Thomas Edison to the visions of J. Robert Oppenheimer. The issue for most grand and majestic ideas is if anyone really needs what exists in someone’s mind. Thus, the first step in the advancement of an ingenious invention and innovation is whether it is marketable and if people will really want it.
In many ways, especially in the computer age, the key for introducing and selling a concept is researching its potential demand. For improvements on existing products, it can be a fairly easy process since the demand for the product exists. All that is needed is to discover if people are willing to purchase a new version of it. This process can be seen in Mike Lindell’s introduction of “My Pillow”, a known commodity in a new form.
More radical ideas can have a harder road to face since 90% of them do not make it to market. In this case, research will become more challenging since there isn’t any existing data. There are several marketing research firms that can investigate consumer attitude. Unfortunately, they require capital investment, which can be substantial depending on the depth of data requested. For non-industrial consumer products, there are companies that will assist in the introduction of a new idea and help with legal paperwork and the patenting process. Again, there is cost involved.
A helpful step in the initial stages is to create a prototype of an idea in physical form or using an AutoCAD rendering. Potential investors, market researchers, and producers react far more favorably to a practical example than a set of formulas and abstracts. These facsimiles do not have to precisely duplicate the concept but simply give the substance and form of an idea.
After completing research, developing a prototype, doing data collection, and other facets of the initial steps of creation and having found a product viable, it is time to make the decision regarding production and distribution. Unlike large corporations with extensive facilities, newcomers to industrial production do not have an infrastructure to produce their products. They have to rely on the good graces of established companies to give them a helping hand.
There are multiple factors regarding the choice of potential producers. The obvious first decision is financial. There are several companies willing to introduce and produce new products. It is what has helped their businesses grow. The unfortunate part is how much the inventor has to relinquish to get their serves. Many well-known products began in a basement or garage by a visionary designer. In many cases, we don’t know their names, because they gave up rights to their invention to a producer.
Before beginning the search for the right manufacturer, it is a good idea to have in mind how much has to be given up to put the product on the market. The best and wisest decision is to enlist the services of a patent lawyer who can create documents of agreement and offer advice regarding the pitfalls of entering into contracts. They can create official paperwork that outlines intellectual property agreements and official branding rights. The central concern will be emphasizing the ability to control the trademark of a product and ensure copyright protection.
Armed with sufficient research and legal documentation, it is time to find the right company to take your idea and put it on the market. It is important to keep in mind that a producer may have the equipment and machines to make a new product but not the necessary supply chain and distribution network. This can be discussed during the early negotiations and may add an extra step to marketing your product.
There is a necessary step that has to be completed before looking for the right supplier and is the major part of selling. When the idea for a product arises, it comes with a vision for change. That initial concept has to be defined as a selling point when approaching producers.
Preparing a Product Concept
Every advertiser knows that they do not sell products. In reality, producers sell an idea such as “Built Ford Tough”, “Get the best night’s sleep”, or “The quality goes in before the name goes on”. Marketed products sell beauty, strength, performance, convenience, or value and many other concepts. It is important to determine how a customer will benefit by purchasing what you have to sell.
Though this may seem to be difficult, in reality, it is the main reason products are produced. Many of the concepts people envision are designed to make things better. People will not buy something to make someone else rich. They will buy things that will enrich them. Finding the purpose and reason for your product is the first step in making it marketable. The research phase may have already solved that problem.
Regardless of the product, there will always be someone who has something similar or better. It is a fact of American consumerism. As strange as it may sound, developing an understanding of competitors can be a great asset and provide a way to make a product unique and different in comparison to the ideas of others. One of the main tenets of advertising is making a product standout in a crowd.
Every product has features, characteristics, and capabilities that make it distinctive and exceptional. Finding those special attributes is essential to marketing the product to the public and future producers. In many cases, at the inception of an idea, an apparent need arose that motivated the desire to make a product. That key element is relevant to convincing producers.
General Supplier Research
In recent years, manufacturers and large corporations have been using offshore labor and resources to produce their products or parts. Most of Apple products are produced in China while Nike and Adidas use far eastern countries as a way to produce their products. This tendency has been popular and profitable but has become a drawback. American consumers prefer to purchase products that are American made.
When making the determination of whom to approach about producing a product, it is important to research where the company has their products manufactured – domestically or offshore. The key factors in this decision include budget, the target market, and type of product.
There are many benefits to using domestic and local manufacturers. Americans tend to have greater trust in products that are produced in the United States. They feel that they are supporting the American economy by doing so. When choosing a local producer, there is the convenience of being able to watch production, view the process, and be able to react to any issues with the added benefit of having control over quality.
Products are useless unless they are delivered to market. One of the recent issues with offshore production is the breakdown in the supply chain. Shipping problems, foreign government interference, and multiple other factors have caused many companies to reconsider and abandon international sources. When logistical issues arise, they are much easier to handle when they are local and don’t involve the laws and regulations of a foreign power.
The most obvious issue regarding offshore manufacturing is the language barrier and cultural habits. A large corporation opened an office and factory in Spain. When they inspected the operation, they found that their workers arrived early in the morning but left in the middle of the day for several hours. According to the mores of the American culture such neglect is unheard of. In the culture of Spain, it is a necessity since the middle of the day is extraordinarily hot. Added to the inconveniences of language differences and culture is the time for conducting business with a portion of the operation positioned thousands of miles away in another time zone.
There is an ongoing debate regarding the practicality of taking production and manufacturing offshore. Much of the discussion centers on the profitability of offshoring where labor is cheaper and resources more available, which is balanced against the costs related to the supply chain and on time delivery. In some cases the decision of whether to offshore or not can be answered in a very practical way. Offshore production may be the only solution if an onshore producer cannot be found.
Methods for Finding a Manufacturer
Through research, interviews, and other forms of investigation, the decision on what path to take regarding a manufacturer is now narrowed down to one of two directions – onshore or offshore. For either of these scenarios, there are further considerations that will require expert assistance from professionals experienced in the different types of manufacturing.
If the decision has been made to use an offshore producer, the next step is to choose the country. Since every country has regulations and requirements regarding foreign nationals using their resources, it is important to seek the help of a professional experienced in the country’s practices and laws. The process of offshore manufacturing is very complex with several potential pitfalls. Someone who knows the landscape can assist with regulations, key people, the language, customs, necessary paperwork, logistics, and other pertinent issues. They should also be able to provide a list of other international manufacturers and the issues they have had to face in the selected country.
Looking for a local domestic manufacturer can be somewhat similar to looking for employment and may require sending several letters, setting up meetings, and interviewing potential candidates. As with any relationship, the best method is to get information from your network and friends. Networking through various social media such as LinkedIn can assist in finding contacts as well as speaking to fellow entrepreneurs, attending trade shows, and creating lists of suppliers.
Using a Supplier Database
Supplier databases provide detailed information regarding a selection of producers, manufacturers, and suppliers by region, products, and services. By simply entering the name of a proposed product, the database provides a list of potential producers. In most cases, the initial list is too long and varied, requiring it to be whittled down to producers that exactly meet the criteria for the product. A precision search can be achieved by taking the initial list and entering specifications that more closely match what is to be produced.
Most people search the internet using one of the popular and easily accessible search engines. Though it is very convenient, a general search engine is not precise enough to match the requirements for finding the right manufacturer to fit a new product. Supplier databases are designed to make it easier to find the right producer with the tools and skills to meet what is needed for a new product, regardless of its design, requirements, or application.
Popular search engines list search results by companies who have paid for their position on the results list, which may not mean that they are the best fit for making a new or unique product. Supplier databases can be drilled down to the exact group of companies that are best for the job, at the right price, and knowledge of the rights and privileges of a new inventor or designer. The little guy, with a small shop down the street, can be lost on a large search engine but easily found in a supplier database.
After all the preliminary steps have been taken and approved, a supplier database is the perfect option for finding the right producer. The ease of use and vast quantity of information can offer direction and insight into who and what is available. The decision of where to take your ideas and make them a reality will be streamlined by an online supplier database.
Developing the proper terms for filtering suppliers
Once the initial search is completed, it is necessary to delimit the choices to criteria that specifically meet the needs of your project. When making this determination, there are several factors to consider such as related categories, types of suppliers, the ownership of the supplier, and their geographical location.
Across the top of the IQS Directory search results screen are categories to consider that are related to the initial search. To gain more information regarding the industry, in the upper right corner are two buttons, one for additional articles and the other for the specific industry. Underneath the list of producers is the button giving access to more companies. Using the keywords “metal fabrication”, the directory gives a general list that can be simplified to a specific form of metal fabrication such as aluminum, stainless steel, steel, and many others.
Category options can be filtered by company type and location. Company type reduces the number of possibilities to ones specifically meeting the needed criteria. The locations option lists the states where a company does business and includes Canadian Provinces and their markets.
Ways to narrow down a supplier list
By studying the list of potential manufacturers, a short list of candidates to contact regarding assisting in producing your product is available. The search results page offers the option to request a quote, a button to the right of each company’s name. To assist in completing the quote, a convenient pop up allows you to select the company you wish to contact and space for you to supply your information and a brief description of your project.
The tools of IQS Directory streamline the search for companies that meet the requirements of a job as well as providing valuable information regarding manufacturing practices. As the leader in OEM directories, IQS provides the highest quality service and information to help producers and their customers connect.
How to Find a Manufacturer Using the IQS Platform
IQS Directory is designed to make finding the proper resources easy, convenient, and reliable. When a developer is looking for a manufacturer to produce their product, they can pinpoint their search by first entering key terms and words in the search box located in the middle of the IQS Directory main page. The search results provide a list of potential manufacturers and producers. The company profile link has a brief description of the company’s focus and press releases as well as related industry information.
The IQS platform search box is used to enter keywords and provides suggestions for the best matches for thousands of product and service categories. Since the research and preparation has been completed, it should be easy to choose the manufacturer for your project. The IQS platform displays a complete listing of companies and producers ready to provide services and supplies to fit any project and includes matches for products and service providers with company names and descriptions.
The importance of an RFP or RFI
The last and most vital step in the selection process is creating a request for information (RFI) or request for proposal (RFP) that is specific and focused enough to present to a supplier. The RFI lays out the plan, specifications, and requirements for a project with a detailed description of each section of the process. It has to be carefully written so that prospective suppliers have a clear picture of the direction to be taken.
A great deal of time and thought has to be used in creating the RFI. To ensure that it is concise and descriptive enough, it should be worked and reworked until it gives the best possible outline of what is to be produced and what operations will be necessary. When completely perfected and edited, the RFI should be sent to potential suppliers who have the ability to complete the project.
For many years, business decisions were based on hard facts such as profit margins, turn around times, and costs. At the end of the 20th Century and into the 21st Century, there has been a slow shift in business decisions from hard facts and figures to more humanistic and psychological parameters. In many ways, it is a paradigm shift that has been considered since the 1980’s. Though a potential business partner may have all of the necessary manufacturing capabilities, it is important to consider how they deal with their staff, customers, and peers. Their behavior and relationships in those situations can be critical for judging their ethical standards.
There is a tradition in the interviewing process where applicants create a set of questions to be answered during a job search. The jest of the questions is to determine the match between the company and the prospective employee. This concept also applies to finding a producer for a new product. The decision to partner with a particular company can be a life long relationship that has to be carefully considered. During the RFI creation process, a set of questions covering the full spectrum of the project should be designed for the final selection interview.
As with any business venture, there are key factors that have to be adhered to in order to be successful, which include a company’s history of experience with a product, their ethical and quality standards, their willingness to develop a close and mutually beneficial productive partnership, and a proven record of success as well as testimonials from customers. It must be remembered that once the contracts and documents are signed, you are committed to a long and successful relationship.
This is a brief outline of the steps to be taken when deciding to introduce a new product or service. It is a simple guide and outline. Using resources, such as IQS directory, can provide more guidance and detailed information regarding the next steps in the process. The ease of access and wide range of information from IQS Directory makes it the perfect solution to finding the right company to fit your requirements. For concise detailed data for any project or job, simply click on iqsdirectory.com to find a solution to meet your needs.