How to find the right contract manufacturing partner

It may feel tedious to do so much work upfront before making the call, but not doing so could cost your business big time. Take a look at the work you should before choosing a contract manufacturer so that you can hopefully choose the best partner for your brand.

When you’re working with a contract manufacturer for the first time, you will likely wonder how to know if you’ve chosen the right partner. There is no right or wrong way to choose your contract manufacturing company, but you can do the research upfront to make sure you are being deliberate in your decision.

Capability and equipment

Any contract manufacturer you are going to consider working with will need to discuss with you their capabilities, capacity, and equipment they will use. They should be able to should you a summary of services they can provide, the types of work they do, and what they do vs. what they outsource.

Do they have the capacity to handle the size of your project? You may even ask where you stand amongst other clients regarding the size of the project, because being the smallest client may mean you won’t get much attention while being the largest client may mean the company has never handled this size before. Find out more about the type of equipment and technology they use to make sure it will work for your needs.

Staffing and experience

Next, you’ll want to make sure a contract manufacturer has enough personnel to work on your project and the experience to do so properly. The point of outsourcing this project is so that someone with more expertise in production can make it more efficiently than you, so it’s important that they do indeed have the skillset.

They should have a project manager, a manufacturing lead, a project engineer, and staffing in compliance, purchasing, and technical departments. They should have a staff that is ready to work on the floor for the assembly line. Find out more about their hiring process and training for staff. Does this contract manufacturer seem to have plenty of experience in the industry and have they worked on this type of project before? 

The process and compliance

Now you’ll want to talk more about the process of the design and manufacturing to see if it matches how you would want your products made. You will need to discuss how difficult it’s going to be if something needs to be changed during the process, like the direction of the project or a budget cut. Can they handle a timeline change in the middle of the project?

A very important element of this project is going to be the compliance process. Talk to your potential contract manufacturer about how your product will be introduced to regulatory agents and what type of regulatory experience they have, especially in the countries you want to sell your product to. It’s important that you meet regulations with health, environmental, and safety codes.

Financial stability and reputation

Lastly, make sure you discuss a contract manufacturer’s financial stability. If they can prove they are in good financial shape, along with their suppliers, you won’t have to worry about your contract manufacturer or their subcontractors going out of business.

This could be a huge disruption to your business. Find out more about this potential contract manufacturer’s reputation, to see if they’ve had a history of equipment failure, schedule delays, inventory issues, and more. You’ll want to see how they score with the FDA and BBB as well to ensure they are legal and compliant.

The most important part of your decision on a contract manufacturer is to make sure you are managing your expectations, but also doing the research to find a great fit. Use these tips to go in on a contract with a contract manufacturer you trust.

handshake between new business partners