Overseas Manufacturing can be profitable and rewarding when companies do it right. It can create better economies of scale, help diversify risk, improve and reduce the cost of manufacture and supply and allow your business to find new markets for your products.
Following are 5 ways that U.S. manufacturers can gain and keep control in overseas manufacturing.
1. Establish and Maintain Quality Control
Quality is one of the key factors in successful production abroad. Because businesses shift production offshore primarily to save money is no reason to sacrifice quality. The overseas workforce as a whole is constantly increasing their experience and expertise annually. However, you need to be aware that the overseas workforce can be unskilled with minimum experience to draw upon and therefore quality may suffer as a consequence.
That is why it is critical that quality standards are not only communicated clearly and effectively from the beginning but are periodically reinforced.
Manufacturing quality may not decline immediately. It may happen gradually over a period of time or several shipments. Businesses must do what it takes to ensure quality control measures that they put in place from the beginning. Then follow throughout the production lifecycle… and the next… and the next…
2. Keep an Eye on the Pulse of a Proven Production Process
Manufacturing is different offshore than it is in the USA. However, that should not come as a surprise to anyone. The country is different, the culture is different, the history is different, the language is different…EVERYTHING is different. Yet many USA companies expect things to happen in the exact same way offshore as it does here in the USA. Many have a difficult time wondering why something is done differently. If you are considering moving your production offshore or have already moved it and are experiencing unexpected issues it would benefit you to become more aware of the methodology, culture, and mindset associated with the offshore manufacturing process.
It is important to monitor all stages of the production process closely. Finding what seems to be an experienced offshore factory is no reason to think, “Well, I completed that…”. Then, you think all you have to do is wait for the delivery of your perfectly manufactured products. You should enforce routine inspections and establish effective reporting lines that allow you to keep track of progress as well as issues as they arise.
3. Establish Quality Standards
Establishing quality standards begins with realizing that no one knows the product like you (or your designers) do. From the start, you’ll want to communicate the CAD drawings, perfect samples, perfect and 100% tested and working prototypes. Likewise, your company must be sure to also communicate the documented testing and inspection criteria. After you’ve received a disappointing approval sample isn’t the time to start thinking about what you should’ve told the factory up front.
All of the above detail, including what issues you might have encountered in the making of the prototype could be helpful to the factory. No need to reinvent the wheel. If in doubt document and communicate it!
4. Protect & Enforce Your Standards
Be proactive in enforcing and reinforcing your standards if you find there are deviations, no matter how small. When (not if) something goes wrong and you receive samples or inspection reports that are not up to specifications that is the time to take action. Otherwise, you’ll receive defective or out of spec products and will have a much larger issue to deal with. It is much less expensive to deal with issues per-shipment than post-shipment. The farther away from the factory the shipment is the more expensive it is to correct.
5. Should you Consider an Experienced Outsourcing Liaison?
An experienced and reliable overseas manufacturing liaison company can solve and often prevent issues you do not know ever existed. A good overseas manufacturing liaison will not only help ensure you are ready to take your product to an offshore factory but has people on the ground to interface with the factory one-on-one, in person. They will study, understand, and communicate your quality requirements to the factory in that factory personnel’s native language as well as ensure the right materials are used in production. The most accomplished companies will also guarantee your products from manufacturing defects.
ITI manufacturing is a trusted overseas manufacturing liaison. We are an OEM contract manufacturer with 45 years of experience. We’ve worked with hundreds of U.S. companies in virtually all industries with a wide variety of materials and manufacturing processes. Call us today and discuss your offshore issues and concerns. In fact, we’ll be happy to show you how easy it can be for you to have offshore manufacturing success. 1-888-574-6823