By the time a company is in the market for a manufacturer, they’ve already invested considerable time and money into product design and development. Finding the right manufacturer can be the difference between seeing this prior investment through to a profitable completion or experiencing a host of potentially costly problems. That’s why it’s critical for businesses to conduct due diligence when selecting a product manufacturer.

At Pivot, we’re a top contract manufacturer specializing in assembly manufacturing, electronics manufacturing, original design manufacturing, product prototype manufacturing, and more. We have a proven 40-year track record of partnering with entrepreneurial startups and established enterprises alike to help them design, develop, manufacture, and successfully launch their products in domestic and international markets. We’ve been around long enough to know what it takes for a manufacturer to successfully deliver. Regardless of what manufacturer a business may ultimately choose, it’s important to start the search with the following questions.

What is the manufacturer’s MOQ (minimum order quantity)?

Depending on the product and the manufacturer, minimum orders can range between dozens and tens of thousands of units. Before taking any further steps, it’s important to ensure upfront that minimum orders fit within a business’ budget.

What is the manufacturer’s sample pricing?

A business owner should be able to see and handle samples of a product before committing to a full order. Sample pricing ranges can vary just as much as MOQ’s, so it doesn’t hurt to get multiple quotes. Some manufacturers may even provide certain samples at no cost.

What is the manufacturer’s production pricing?

It can be tempting to ask this question first, but it’s a moot point if a business can’t afford a minimum order or obtain samples. When asking about production pricing, ask about the price for different quantities to determine how the manufacturer scales their discount structure.

What is the manufacturer’s turnaround time?

Some manufacturers may quote a very competitive price, but further investigation will reveal this comes with extended turnaround times. For some businesses, a long turnaround time isn’t a problem and the cost-savings can be well worth it, but for others, it can spell disaster.

What are the manufacturer’s payment terms?

Unless a business is well-established (or a repeat customer) it’s not uncommon that a manufacturer may require pre-production payment in full. Since inventory constitutes a significant cost for fledgling e-commerce companies, if a manufacturer offers payment terms from the start (or on future orders), this may be a boon to a company’s cash flow.

What other companies has this manufacturer worked with?

A manufacturer is only as good as the company they keep. When choosing a manufacturer, consider companies similar to your business and reach out to them for information about manufacturers they’ve had positive experiences with. With a little research, businesses can discover which manufacturers have produced for well-known brands, ensuring that these manufacturers have already been visited, audited, and thoroughly vetted by major industry players.

What quality assurance practices does the manufacturer have in place?

No matter how competitive their pricing, stellar their communication, or quick their turnaround time, a manufacturer who doesn’t deliver on quality doesn’t have a leg to stand on. While it’s one thing for a manufacturer to provide a few quality samples, it’s another thing for them to deliver the same quality in what may be exponentially larger batches. Businesses should inquire about whether manufacturers implement quality assurance measures throughout the production cycle since inspections and testing conducted only at the cycle’s end cannot guarantee that interior components are without design or assembly flaws.

What is the manufacturer’s production capacity?

For startups, relatively small production capacity may seem like the safest bet, but it’s also important to think ahead: if a business closes a larger-than-expected sale it won’t want to be in the position of scrambling to locate a manufacturer with greater production capacity rather than smoothly scaling for success.

At Pivot, we’re more than happy to answer any questions you may have to help you choose the manufacturer that’s right for your business. Contact us today and see what we can do for you.