China not only has continued to develop its manufacturing expertise, it also has a highly developed and reliable infrastructure able to successfully support the huge volume of manufacturing and exporting required. Toys, electronics, medical products, plastic products, industrial components, and just about any and everything you can imagine, is manufactured in China. Many of these items are component, “standard” factory items mass manufactured to specific, pre-determined specifications.
Some factories are private/contract factories manufacturing name-brand items for international companies for export only. Then there are factories specialized in custom manufactured goods. These factories are unique in that they are flexible, adaptable, and have a “we can make it” attitude.
The good news is the custom factories are capable of manufacturing beautiful products to just about any specification, using specific manufacturing techniques and materials. The bad news is that each of these factories has their own unique set of expertise, experience, sub-contractor relationships, throughput, quality standards, and limitations. Therefore, you must choose wisely.
Depending upon your particular item, and your business situation, the following are a few things to consider when searching for a custom manufacturer in China.
Expertise in Manufacturing Processes Required
As previously stated, custom factories have a “we can make it” attitude. This is commendable, but sometimes their belief in their manufacturing expertise exceeds their actual ability to produce the consistent quality companies require. Therefore, having a level of verification the factory actually can perform, along with the technical expertise to consistently perform the manufacturing techniques with the materials you require, is crucial.
Reliability and Understanding of What is Acceptable
A Chinese factory’s view of reliability may be different from yours. Therefore, precise communication is critical as to:
- What is expected
- What is to be done
- What level of variance is acceptable
- If “equivalent” raw materials can be substituted
- Level of in-process inspections…and many other details important to the success of the project.
Factory Size and Throughput Capability
Finding a reliable factory with the expertise you need is a wonderful accomplishment. However, if that factory is not the right-sized factory, you’re setting yourself up – and the factory – for failure. Ensure the factory’s workers and physical plant can keep up with what you believe your growth will be. If not, you will be out beating the bushes for another factory sooner than you think. It’s not just a question of “is the factory big enough”; the factory must be “right-sized”. Equally important is to take care to avoid a factory so large that your project is not important to them. This is an entirely different dynamic you don’t want to experience. It’s also a good idea to ask about the factory’s large repeat customers, and if their typical or seasonal reorder schedule coincides with yours.
A Clearly Written Contract
To protect its interests, a client company should have a comprehensive, written contract. Oral agreements offer insufficient protection, especially when language barriers and cultural differences are considered. A well-written contract, in Chinese, leaves no doubt as to what is agreed upon.
Partner with ITI Manufacturing for Peace of Mind
ITI Manufacturing has 43 years of expertise sourcing and managing projects in Asia for US-based companies. In addition to the basic considerations listed above, our China staff is deeply entrenched into the manufacturing landscape of China. They keep current with the changes in laws, regulations, and happenings on the factory floor level. They are physically in factories daily; and from our registered office in Ningbo, our China staff knows how to source the factory that is right for your particular item and business situation.
ITI also manages your offshore supply chain and guarantees no manufacturing defects. US companies have been relying on ITI Manufacturing for years. We take that responsibility seriously, and are humbled by the trust our customers have in us to faithfully manage the manufacture AND logistics of their products.
We would be pleased to help you sort through any challenges with overseas manufacturing you may have; or, if you’re new to China manufacturing, call us first to avoid making the unintentional mistakes companies make. Partnering with ITI Manufacturing means avoiding these mistakes. To work with a reliable Chinese manufacturer suited to your particular product, call and speak with one of our experts at (281) 242-7030.