So you have hardware products and have arrived at this page for one of two reasons:
- You currently have a product or product range that you either manufacture yourself or you have manufactured by a contract manufacturer. Whether it be that you are looking to reduce costs, or whether it be that you aren’t happy with your existing vendor, you are now in a position to find a new manufacturer for your hardware products.
- You have a newly developed product or prototype that you’re now wanting to get manufactured. You have no idea where to start and so you’ve found yourself on Google looking for answers.
This article aims to enlighten and enrich the minds of both audiences. So let’s get started…
Now days, with the power of the internet it is fairly easy to source most things. A few clicks here and there and boom you’ve ordered yourself a brand new mobile phone at half the cost of what it is at the local retail store. You’re absolutely ecstatic and super proud of yourself for finding such a bargain. Until ofcourse, the courier arrives and you unwrap your new purchase to find a cheap knock off phone that is not what was described in the online listing. You jump online to contest your purchase and you find the seller has closed shop – and you’re confronted with the dreaded 404 page – website not found. You’ve been scammed!
Much in the same way, the experience of finding a reputable manufacturer that you can trust to deliver a high quality end product while respecting and protecting your intellectual property, is quite painstaking and cumbersome. However you can ease the pain and simplify the process by bearing in mind a few important points
1. Know What You’re Looking For
The first step in finding a manufacturer for your products is to know what you are looking for. Ideally you will have a design or prototype ready accompanied with both 3D CAD renders and 2D engineering drawings. You will have some knowledge of the manufacturing processes and techniques required to produce your product. You will know whether there are any specific certifications that your product will need to be able to have it sold in-market, and you may also have an idea of the type of facilities and capabilities your manufacturer might need.
2. Finding The Right Partner
If you take a look today on Alibaba.com or GlobalSources.com you will find hundreds if not thousands of suppliers who claim to be able to manufacture your products at dirt cheap prices. They will come with fancy profiles, and product photos that look legitimate. However, buyer beware for what is too good to be true – usually is. There is about a 55% chance that you will actually be speaking with a legitimate factory when you connect with prospect manufacturers over such platforms. Many times, you will run into ‘middlemen’ or ‘traders’ who are simply agents that have ties with real factories. These middlemen or traders will present themselves as companies however in reality they will be 1-2 guys sitting in a room who will take a cut for every new deal they bring in for the actual factory. So what can you do?
- Pick up the phone and ask questions – there is no better way to flesh out and get a sense of who you’re dealing with than getting on the phone and speaking directly with the prospect. Ask them about their business, their history, size and leadership, their processes, who they work with, where they are based, how they treat intellectual property, how they work, what are their minimum order quantities like, what are their standard shipping and payment terms, and are they insured? Don’t be afraid to get technical either.
- Ask for photos of the factory.
- Ask to sight certifications.
- Ask for product samples to be sent to you.
- As a test of legitimacy, ask if it would be possible to visit their factory – even though you may never intend to go, this question will separate the wannabe’s from the real deals.
3. Looking For Scale
Many manufacturers look for customers that will keep their factory running. If the factory is not running, it is losing money and that is not good for business. As such, many manufacturers will have an inclination towards working with customers that have products that will be purchased in large volumes on a regular basis so as to keep their factories operating at capacity.
You’ll want to keep this in mind when looking for the right manufacturer to suit your project. Going with the biggest and best is not always desirable as this comes with it’s own set of challenges. Generally the larger the manufacturer, the greater the inflexibility. It takes longer to turn the gears which make a bigger company tick, and as such, a bigger manufacturer may not be able to give your project the attention it deserves.
On the flipside, if you go with someone too small and inexperienced – you could end up getting no where or with a product that doesn’t meet your expectations. It is therefore even more important that you question your prospect manufacturer thoroughly to ensure they have the capabilities and experience to meet your expectations.
4. It’s Not All About Price!
There are two breeds of manufacturers that can be found on platforms like Alibaba.com and GlobalSources.com. Those that want to work with you and grow with you, and those that simply want to trade goods for a given price. We call the later type – price sellers, and effectively if you are to work with this group, you are termed a ‘price buyer’. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but you need to be sure you know what you’re in for.
When it comes to price buying and selling, you have to remember a very simple rule – “you get what you pay for”. You will find several sellers online that will claim to give you the same product at 30% the cost of what competitors might be selling it for – yet when you transact with said suppliers, 90% of the time these products will be full of defects, packaging will be a miss, and the production quality will be poor. When you pick up the phone to the manufacturer to contest your purchase, you’ll be met with hold music and support tickets that go round and round in circles.
The simple way to ensure you are getting what you’re paying for is to ask for samples. Do not fall prey to ‘we will give you a better price’.
5. Protecting Your Intellectual Property
Last but not least, you’ll want to make sure that the partner you work with can be trusted with your intellectual property.
Are they going to take your product and sell it to the next 10 odd people that want to buy it?
Are they going to take your designs, modify them and then pass them onto the next prospect buyer?
The reality is, irrespective of legally binding agreements, patents and trademarks – Murphey’s law states that if “something can go wrong, it will go wrong.” In countries like China and India, where labour is cheap and manufacturing overheads are low – you will find hundreds of prospect manufacturers for your products – however they may not all be as honest and transparent as the next. This is where you will need to carry out a bit of your own due diligence in ‘sizing up’ who you’re actually getting in business with.
It is better to avoid situations where your IP is at risk by ensuring you pick the right manufacturing partners. Ask yourself, do they have the same values as you do? Do they speak openly and honestly? Do they do what is right? Are they willing to open up and admit to their mistakes? Are they transparent in how they work? Many of these questions will only be answered once you get into an open dialogue with the manufacturer – however you should bear them in mind so that you know you can work towards building trust with the prospect.
By now you will have gotten a good understanding of the type of questions you will need to be asking your prospect manufacturer and the key points that you’ll need to bear in mind when looking for the right partner. You will know that it’s not all about price, and that finding a good manufacturer is a bit like finding a good business partner – you need to make sure you understand them and they understand you, expectations are clear up front and that you operate with each other’s’ best interests at heart. These facts and points of consideration will hopefully now allow you to make the right choices when choosing a manufacturer for your hardware products.
Delware are an OEM Hardware Manufacturer based in Haryana, India. With over 30 years experience operating across Architectural, Agricultural, Building, Fire Safety, Scaffolding, and Trailer industries, Delware today is the one stop shop manufacturer of choice for several leading brands globally.
When searching for brass fittings suppliers or brass manufacturers in India, Delware is a top contender. Delware also ranks highly amongst ss nut bolt manufacturers, stainless steel bolts and nuts suppliers and aluminium manufacturers in India.
If you are on the lookout for OEM brass parts manufacturers, aluminium die casting manufacturers or stainless steel fasteners manufacturers in India, get in touch with Delware via the contact us page to learn how Delware can help you grow your business. You can also learn more about Delware and it’s history here.