If you’re manufacturing inventions, it’s a common practice to find a Chinese manufacturer that already makes similar products. Working with China can be faster and less expensive than working locally.
Brett Larson recently joined the MAKO team as our Senior Product Strategist or in other words, he joined as our invention manufacturing guru. Brett has spent a lot of time working in China on sourcing. We thought we’d touch base with him for some insights and tips on working with China in the manufacturing process. Here is what he had to say:
One of the most important things about sourcing in Asia is to go in with what your manufacturing partner will require in order to produce the item. This means having all your technical files like 2D line drawings, 3D CAD files, electrical schematics, Pantone colours, assembly instructions, and the list goes on.
Just like in real estate or other aspects of business, negotiation is expected and even encouraged when you manufacture your invention in Asia. Negotiation shows you’re business savvy so make sure you work with someone who knows how to negotiate.
Learn about the culture
This is critical in doing business overseas. We are all well aware of the culture here in North America but often we have little to no knowledge about the culture in other countries. India, for example, has a holiday pretty much once a month. China shuts down in the fall, the spring and almost the entire month of February. Since there is nothing you can do about it, it’s important to plan accordingly and be aware of these differences so it doesn’t slow you down when manufacturing inventions..
Find a service partner
Finding a service partner to work with you when you start, even if it’s just temporary, can add a lot of value. There is a level of maintenance that needs to be completed as you go through the process to manufacture your invention. Maintenance like logistics, supply chain, quality control, quality development, process improvement, and that’s just to name a few. A service partner can help with all these steps.
Develop a relationship
Once you have established a supplier, expect for it to be a long-term relationship. Go into the relationship with a positive attitude. This will not only help the quality of your product but it will also help with pricing and logistics down the line. Managing and developing this relationship is so important in every step of the development process.
These are just some of the things to keep in mind when working with China or other countries overseas while manufacturing inventions. What are some of your tips? Share them with us on social media.
About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!