The beginning of the manufacturing process is something which can be quite daunting – there is so much to be done, and so much to take into account. Where do you even start? Finding a manufacturer that you like, and feel you can work with, is just as important as finding one who can work to your specifications and make a product worth selling. The article below contains tips on how to find the best manufacturer for your purposes, to ensure that everyone involved in the process is happy.
Create a Prototype
The first step in any kind of manufacturing process, such as linear motion systems, is to make a prototype. This will give a visual indication of your ideas and your progress, as well as providing a means to see where your product needs to improve, and where problems may arise. Depending on the type of manufacturing being done, you will either be able to make your own prototype, and therefore do most of the troubleshooting on your own, or you will need to outsource production of a prototype to another company. There are many different companies which can help you to make up a prototype, no matter what type of product you have in mind.
Having your prototype outsourced can be helpful in a number of ways – the manufacturing company which is handling it will be more knowledgeable than you are on what to do if they see a problem, and in the best ways to handle construction, and so on. Obviously if you are simply making something small, for a small market, this doesn’t apply. But using a prototype manufacturing service can be invaluable if you are a new business who cannot afford mistakes.
Once the prototype is designed, it is time for troubleshooting. This is where having a manufacturing company to make things comes in very handy, as they have experience of what works best, and how to best meet the needs of any potential future customers. Having a prototype will ensure that you not only meet the needs of your customers, but also exceed them, by anticipating what they will want as a next step. When thinking about how many prototypes you will need, remember that most manufacturers will want at least two copies of what they are making for reference. If you are working with multiple manufacturers, then you will obviously need more of them.
Find a Manufacturer
Actually finding a manufacturer depends on a number of factors – what turnaround time do you want, what companies do you find easiest to work with, and (perhaps most crucially) what amount of material do you want produced on a day to day basis? Not all manufacturing companies are created equally, and if you want to be like actuator manufacturers and create a lot of product, you are going to need a bigger manufacturing company at your back than one person creating hand knitted doilies.
Manufacturers are best found and searched for through referrals, which can come from various places. Using referrals is something which can give you more piece of mind when looking for a manufacturing company, as you can rest easy in the knowledge that the person or company giving you the referral has already worked with the manufacturers, and so knows how they operate, and the people who are employed there. Remember that referrals work best if they come from someone who is directly involved in the industry, so stick to companies which are in the same work as you for the best referrals possible.
Remember that some manufacturing companies diversify in what they do – they can make multiple things at the same time. What type of manufacturer you end up having a relationship with will vary. Some people might find that these types of manufacturers are perfect for their needs, while others might prefer to work with a company which specialises. Since there are a number of things that can go wrong in the manufacturing process, it is always a good idea to make sure that you have ties with a number of manufacturing companies. Rather than simply keeping one in the wings, since this will still cause a lag in production time, have them both doing a portion of the manufacturing each, so that if and when problems occur, you can simply contact one or other of the companies, and ask if they can increase production to pick up the slack.
Since manufacturing is such a complicated process, the lead-up to it is particularly important. Finding someone to make a prototype, or making it yourself, and then finding someone who will manufacture it in the time and quantities you require is something which is of paramount importance for anyone, since the production line has to hold throughout the process for the business to turn a profit. This article was a very basic look at the steps which go into finding a manufacturer.