East West Manufacturing Blog

5 Questions to Ask Every Contract Manufacturer

Written by Andy Reese | May 19, 2015

You are searching for a Contract Manufacturer (CM) and you have leveraged Google to narrow down your search to a handful.  You’ve researched their websites thoroughly and now it’s time to engage.  You trade emails, maybe execute an NDA, and starting the ‘dating’ process by getting to know one another either by phone first or later face to face with the team.  You have lots of questions swirling in your head because there is potentially a lot of risk at stake if you choose incorrectly.

Before you engage with a contract manufacturer make sure you have peace of mind about these 5 questions:

1. Do you feel important? 

Is the volume you need too big for them to handle or too small so that your production will be bumped for a larger customer?

2. Are they transparent?

Do you get the sense they are being completely honest with you or do you feel in your gut they may not be sharing everything that will impact your supply chain?

3. Do they want to make your product or partner with you? 

Do they just want to make your design and move on or are they offering DFM (Design for Manufacturing) advice and alternative materials and components to reduce your total overall cost?

4. Are they experienced? 

Is this a manufacturing company you are working with or a one person consultant?  How long have been manufacturing globally and do they understand the process, culture, and logistics needed to be successful? 

5. Do they understand your process? 

Do they have the technical capabilities to understand what it takes to make your product from initial mold to surface requirement of the final product?

There is a tremendous amount at stake by selecting a contract manufacturer that becomes a liability to your company.  Take your time, do your due diligence, and ask lots of questions!