East West Manufacturing Blog

12 Ways NOT to Pick a Contract Manufacturing Partner

Written by Andy Reese | November 10, 2016

[Editor’s note: A lack of sarcasm will make reading this post far less enjoyable and potentially dangerous to your global manufacturing career if you follow any one of these.]

Sometimes you just have to have a little fun with your work. Thus, in the same spirit which gets me dirty looks from time to time, here are 12 Ways NOT to Pick a Contract Manufacturing Partner. (Why 12? Because everyone else just settles on 10!)

1.  ALWAYS take the lowest quote.

No matter what. Throw away everything else you know and pick the company that is the cheapest price. Period!

2.  Adhere to the belief that sourcing consultants ARE manufacturing experts.

Sure. Four years’ experience buying toys from Asia qualifies them to manage your critical-to-function, automotive level PPAP, high pressure die cast aluminum components and sub-assemblies. And I’ve got some prime farming real estate in the Mojave I’d like to show you.

3.  Source from a guy you once met on a plane to China.

This story ALWAYS end well. And there’s never multiple layers of margin on top of margin accompanied by (air quote) “Direct Access” to your overseas factory. (Remember, sarcasm.)

4.  Handle all the logistics yourself.

You can book a truck, select a steamship line, understand customs duty and harmonized tariff codes, and negotiate better than the biggest and best 3PL and logistics companies in the world. Not to mention that you have so much free time from running and growing your business that you’d love to swim in the minutia that is global logistics

5.  Don’t inspect your final product until it unloads from the container.

Um…smh, as the kids these days say.

6.  Stop inspecting your product after the first shipment because factory direct never sees quality diminish (unless your team is actually in the city of the country where your product is made).

7.  Do not take up your CM’s offer to travel overseas to see the factory and meet the people who’ll make your product.

Seriously. Who has time for that kind of transparency?

8.  Only buy in container load quantity.

Because tying up all your cash in inventory is a solid recipe for business success.

9.  Non-disclosure agreements are for suckers.

Share the secret sauce of your product and everything, with everybody, as often as you can. Who cares about Intellectual Property?

10.  Move production out of China immediately.

Go on! Ignore 50 years of global economics and supply chain knowledge.

11.  Make sure the company you pick has limited engineering experience.

You invented it, designed it and know more than any other engineer on the planet.

12.  Don’t ask questions

                                                      Which is it? Yes? No? Wait...both?

Assume your engineers and C-team are right, 100% of the time, and assume all the words on the outdated website with the small font and stock images from your Contract Manufacturing Partner are spot on.

And there you have it! The 12 most sarcastic faux business, global manufacturing partner ideas you should never do! Kidding aside, folks, we want to help you make good business decisions. Here's a straight up blog post on finding the RIGHT contract manufacturer. 

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