You have a good idea for what you want to make. Now, you need to find someone to physically put it together. Often, this is where new businesses run into trouble—sourcing someone to make your products or equipment can be a challenge, especially when you’re trying to keep things local.
Here, we’ll go over how to find a manufacturer near you who can produce what you need.
How To Find A Manufacturer, Know What You Need
First off, you need to know exactly what you need to produce. You want to make sure you find someone who has the capacity for the size, volume, and technical specifications you need for your product, so make sure you have those down before you start searching.
On top of that, there are different types of manufacturers. Contract manufacturers produce items on your behalf, and you might need a different type of manufacturing process depending on what you’re producing.
The types of processes you’ll encounter include:
Repetitive manufacturers have continuous processes on dedicated production lines. These processes run constantly and are dedicated to producing the same product in large volumes.
Discrete manufacturing uses the same space to produce a wide variety of different items. Space may be altered depending on what needs to be built.
Job shops don’t have production lines. Instead, they’re arranged into production areas, where each area is dedicated to specific products or product types. They tend to be high on labor and low on automated processes.
How To Find A Manufacturer, Going Local
Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, it’s time to start searching.
Search (really search) Google
One of the quickest ways to start searching for a local manufacturer is to do a quick Google search. A short query of “manufacturers near me” should turn up quite a few results, but be aware that not everyone will come up on page one.
In fact, many manufacturers sites haven’t really kept up with the times, so to find a good manufacturer, you might need to move on to page two or three.
As you search, you’ll find manufacturer websites that provide a bit of information on the company’s processes and capabilities, making online searches a great tool for how to find a manufacturer for your needs.
Search online directories
Other online resources you can use are professional manufacturer directories. A few of these include:
In addition, it might be wise to look up the NAICS manual, which is a classification system for different industries and products. Each product has a code assigned to it, and you can use those codes to find manufacturers for your products in the above-mentioned directories.
Note that when using these directories, you may have to pay a small fee to get full access to your search results. A possible way around this is to use a public library, which may already have subscriptions to the directories you need.
The final way for how to find a manufacturer, and perhaps the most applicable to local manufacturing, is through referrals.
Talk to your connections in the industry and see who they’ve worked within your area. Even if you end up finding manufacturers who aren’t quite what you need, you could still get some direction from them since they tend to be familiar with the companies in their industry.
How To Find A Manufacturer, Choosing The Best One
Once you have a decent list of local manufacturers, you’ll want to narrow it down to the best one for your requirements.
Consider their reputation
Start off by looking at their reputation. If you found them through a referral, the chances are pretty good that they have a good standing in their industry, but you’ll still want to do a little digging anyway.
Online reviews on Google and social media can give you a good idea of their reputation. In addition, a quick look at their Better Business Bureau rating can further support your findings.
Other factors to consider include employee turnover rates or past regulatory compliance issues. If they tend to have high turnover, you might not be able to rely on them.
To be able to create the best product possible, the manufacturer you work with will need a sound understanding of what they’re doing. That comes with experience.
To assess their level of experience, look at more than simply how long they’ve been in business. Ask them questions about the best way to manufacture your product, such as where to source materials or what design features would work best.
The more guidance they can give you on these matters, the more likely they are to produce quality results.
Examine technical capabilities
The technical capabilities of their staff and facilities are a key issue. For instance, if you’re wanting to create massive steel tanks for a brewery, you’ll want someone who has the capacity in their facility for that type of work.
One great indicator of technical ability is if they’re already producing something similar to what you need. If they are, you’ve got a good candidate.
One final matter to look at is your own experience interacting with them. Manufacturers are frequently involved in more than just the fabrication process. They often help with design and consulting, making it absolutely vital that you be able to work with them over the long haul.
If you get along with them and they’re on top of communication, you’ll likely have a partner you can trust.
Locating The Best Manufacturer
In your quest for how to find a manufacturer, you need to carefully run through these steps and factors to ensure you’re making the right decision for your business’ livelihood.
Doing your due diligence when locating potential manufacturers will save you time and stress down the road when your product(s) are being manufactured.