Finding a manufacturer is one of the biggest hurdles any e-commerce company faces when starting out. The manufacturing landscape is full of frauds and, more often than not, you'll meet a factory who claims to meet your requirements, but ends up producing poor quality products.
Finding the right factory can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years, and is even more critical for startups who are strapped for cash.
This article will share how cutting manufacturing production costs and lead times through Eximfix can save you money and time.
What is production lead time?
Production lead time (or manufacturing lead time) is the period of time between a merchant's purchase order being placed and the manufacturer completing the order. A short production lead time is better than a long production lead time, as it ensures customers get products quickly.
To secure the highest profit margins, working directly with the manufacturer is almost always the best method. Oftentimes, retailers will start looking for a manufacturer using open databases such as Alibaba.com, GlobalSources.com, HKTDC.com, or Made-In-China.com.
With all the trade companies and wholesalers pretending to be manufacturers on these sites, sorting through them all can be overwhelming.
Alibaba is flooded with trading companies and wholesalers that act as middlemen. Be aware that these wholesalers and trading companies take a cut on top of the actual cost from the manufacturer. These trading companies and wholesalers sell products they obtain from manufacturers at a raised price. Learning how to avoid Alibaba scams can help your business save money and time.
So, with scammers out of the way, where do you start looking?
How to find a manufacturer
Here are some tips to help you find a manufacturer.
Understand the regions where your products are manufactured
Most manufacturers actually produce the same type of products in the same region. This is because manufacturers want to be in close proximity to the raw materials required and/or there are smaller factories nearby that produce necessary components nearby.
In Turkey there are certain cities that are known for producing specific products. For example, textile manufacturers are mainly located in İstanbul, Bursa and Denizli Provinces.
By locating where your product is predominantly manufactured, you will have several manufacturers to research and pick from. Learn more about why you should manufacture .
One way to find a manufacturer is in-person at Fairs and trade shows designed to connect manufacturers and wholesalers with buyers and exporters.
Attending these enormous events will give you an opportunity to meet a vast number of suppliers in person, in a relatively short time period. It is not rare for buyers attending the fair to talk over lunch or dinner with the potential factory. It is also common for potential buyers to be invited or request a tour of the manufacturer's factory. Visiting your manufacturer will allow you to build some rapport with your potential factory.
Obtaining a Fair invitation can make it easier to get your visa to visit the country, where the fair is held.
A plane ticket and a few days' stay to go meet your potential manufacturer can be a good investment if you're looking to start an e-commerce company. Meeting your manufacturer in person will give you an opportunity to develop a strong understanding of your potential supplier, which will pay off in the long run.
Find a factory with an existing mold
Most injection/precision molds cost thousands of dollars. If you have a product that has 4 pieces requiring 4 molds, it will be a hefty fee to just produce the mold. You have to pay this fee upfront in cash before any manufacturing begins. Also, the process to create your molds can take weeks.
Try to find a manufacturer who has produced near-identical products to the ones you're looking to produce. This permits you to use their existing molds, meaning you don't have to spend the money or time shaping your own.
For most products, a manufacturer will probably have existing molds you can take advantage of. Be specific on what you are trying to produce and the parts necessary to produce your prototype. Then do a thorough search to find existing molds you can utilize.