Things You Should Know Before Manufacturing in China
One of the most significant and exciting moments in the product development journey is moving the project into the manufacturing phase. If you have reached it, congratulations! Champagne? Maybe a little too early. If you are still finalizing the prototype, stay focus and be patient. No matter where you are standing right now, as long as you aim to manufacture your product, you should read this article.
If you are a hardware startup looking for a place to manufacture your product with a limited budget and if you are missing Shenzhen, China, you are missing a major piece. Forbes pointed out that when it comes to building hardware, “all roads lead to Shenzhen.” Over the years, some people go to other Asian countries, for example, Vietnam for manufacturing. However, China, especially Shenzhen still possesses exceptional speed, experience and efficiency.
After all the research and consultations you had with your mentor, finally, you decided to join the club and give it a try in China. Now what? There are things to keep in mind and get ready whenever you will be manufacturing your product. Let’s take a look at them one by one.
A golden sample of your product should already have all the technical problems sorted out and be ready for you to grab and present it to your potential investors. More importantly, the prototype will be used for analysis by a prospective manufacturer.
Optimized BOM (Bill of Materials)
A BOM is a complete list of all the components, assemblies and other materials required to build a product. Also, it includes instructions on gathering and using the materials. After optimizing your BOM, it is very likely for you to remove the redundant parts and excessive expenses off of the list. Here is a free BOM template we created for you.
Manufacturability refers to how difficult it is to manufacture your product. Products with low manufacturability usually mean they are tough to produce due to many reasons like complex assembly and non-standard design etc. This is where DFM (Design for Manufacturing) can jump in and play.
Eventually, you will want your product to have the highest manufacturability, and you can drop them at almost any manufacturing factories and provide very little training and unique equipment.
Manufacturing Cost Estimate
Your estimated cost for manufacturing should be in line with your total budget plan. Some people tend to underestimate how much the tooling process and certifications can cost. In general, you can talk to your manufacturer and get an idea of their suggested retail price, aka, MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price). An ideal estimation for a product run should be less than 50% of the target MSRP, in order to keep the operation profitable.
Quality and Test Assessment Plans
Your quality assessment plan should serve as guidelines when you inspect the product and make sure it is working just as you expected. The test assessment plan addresses all the tests the product need to pass to be recognized as functional, reliable and safe. Having all these plans ready before manufacturing will help you understand what to expect from the factories and what to look at when reviewing them.
Packaging Design and Review
Some people get the idea that packaging design is easy and can be done at the last minute. However, the fact is your packaging design is just as important as the product itself, and it deserves 100% attention from you. You should never assume packaging design takes a little time and you can start doing it after manufacturing. Packaging is the first impression of your product, and no one in the world would want a bad first impression. Also, it can take months just to finish the packaging design, plus the time you are going to spend on manufacturing the boxes/bags or whatever the packages will be. So take it seriously.
It can’t be emphasized enough that how important documentation is. You should lay down all the materials related to your product and the production process on paper. These materials include BOMs and PRD (Product Requirement Document) etc. If you have any questions about what and how to document during the product development process, drop us a line and we will help you figure out!
It doesn’t take much effort to imagine how strenuous it is to find a trusted manufacturing partner in a place on the other side of the world where you have probably never been. However, where there is a will, there is a way. Here are a few things you can try that would potentially help you find the right manufacturing factory.
Search online – Well, good luck with that
The Internet is powerful. Google is magnificent. However, neither of them can guarantee the right manufacturing company for you is on the search results page. It’s not about the accuracy of the search you performed, nor the advanced algorithm that Google updated frequently. It’s the lack of information about the companies on their websites, the partial statement of their capabilities (for example, capacity, FCC and CE certifications) and qualifications (for example, business license and registration record), that could fail you.
Nowadays, more and more people are inclined to try finding manufacturing factories on Alibaba. Its system can help you narrow down your search to get more specific results.
Tradeshows and exhibitions – Way much better choice
Chinese manufacturers are seeking ways to connect with the world and ride the wave of globalization. They realized how important it is to talk to their prospects face-to-face and showcase who they are and what they can do for them. Therefore, they go to tradeshows and exhibitions with English-speaking employees onsite to meet hardware entrepreneurs and companies like you. If you already have the plan to exhibit or attend, then double the fun by setting up meetings with the manufacturing factories at the event.
There are a lot of tradeshows and exhibitions happening every year around the world. One of the biggest event organizers in Asia is Global Sources. They host tradeshows and exhibitions of such kind mostly in the second half of the year.
Find a trusted and experienced middle company – Recommended!
A trustworthy and resourceful middle company will help you save an enormous amount of time and energy. Depending on the scope of their work, they could offer services from DFM (Design for Manufacturing) and BOM Optimization to help you spot the perfect manufacturing factories, work with them and manage your projects for you. This might be a bit more expensive option compared to the other two options. However, think about the time and work you can save and put into business development, marketing and getting funded and so much more things you have been thinking about but couldn’t find the time to do.
It is also worth mentioning that do not hesitate to plan your visits to the factories, middle companies or even just the destinations where you want to do the production run. To know who you will be working with is an essential step to build mutual trust. Take your time to understand what you are going to sign yourself up for before emptying your wallet.
Are you planning to work with Chinese manufacturers? If yes, what are your questions/hesitations/confusions? Let us know in the comment sections below!