Customer service tips for contract manufacturers

If you’ve decided to work with a contract manufacturer, you’ve made a great move for your business that will be able to increase production and maintain efficiency. A contract manufacturer relationship should be a great one with open communication and teamwork between you and the manufacturer.

This is why it’s important to understand what makes for a good contract manufacturer and what are some customer service expectations to have of your manufacturer. Take a look at a few tips for things to look for when establishing a contract manufacturer relationship and how to do your part in order to benefit your business too.

Be open about the work you need

First, you’re going to want to select a partnership early on in the process to establish what you’ll need from them from the start. You’ll have a better chance for success if you partner with someone early because you’ll be able to determine the numbers and go over the logistics in order to meet your timeline needs and get the best results for the quality you need.

Your CM will be able to give you a quote, discuss manufacturing methods that suit the product best, and expectations can be established for all parties.

You’ll want to be clear about what you expect as far as the work you need, the timeline, your expectations, and discussing anything that could affect the project flow. Your CM needs to be clear about the expectations in return, what they are capable of, and what can be done if any problems occur during the process.

Do a test run

Next, you’ll want to be able to do a sort of test run to see how the fit and function work in a beta build. If you have to make continual changes during the process, you will waste time and resources. If you are willing to put in more time at the beginning of the process to make sure you are getting it right, then you will end up saving time later as the process becomes more streamlined.

Get everything in writing

You’ll have many questions and it’s a good idea to get everything in writing to avoid miscommunication. Ask the right questions and have a response in writing from your CM. You’ll want to know things like what type of capacity your contract manufacturer can perform, what the turnaround time will be, and what your CM will do to help you cut costs in terms of areas such as packaging and transportation.

Both parties should be flexible

While you’re expecting your contract manufacturer to be flexible if you request design changes or other needs, you need to be flexible too. Sometimes unknown design iterations are needed that weren’t expected in the original planning stages.

You’ll need to be prepared in the event that the schedule must be altered or additional capital is required to complete the project. While the planning stages prepare both parties as much as possible, things may come up along the way. The most important way to receive good customer service is to do your part too. Good communication from the start and throughout the process, along with written agreements, flexibility, and preparing for those “just-in-case” scenarios are what will allow you to get what you’re looking for and for your CM to provide you with the best customer service possible. Make sure to choose a CM early that shows that communication is a top priority too.

handshake signifying a business partnership