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5 Rules for Contract Manufacturing in Asia

Contract manufacturing in China is still a top strategy for most companies that require an efficient, cost-effective method for new product launches. US-based companies have been working with China for contract manufacturing for about three decades now and have learned that doing business in China requires careful navigation — especially when it comes to manufacturing. Here are the top things to consider when contract manufacturing in China:

Business Plan

Before venturing into the journey of finding a manufacturing partner, it is helpful to have a sound business plan or at least a break-even analysis for your product/project. This plan is not required to be shared in its entirety with manufacturing partners but rather is used to demonstrate your understanding of your category and the opportunity available in the market. Having the foresight and courtesy of sharing important elements with partners will go a long way. A company should be able to quantify and back up forecasts and projections for anticipated product volumes to establish credibility with partners such as a factory boss or owner.

Product Design

Designing a product while keeping the manufacturing process in mind (DFM) is another critical piece to consider. Simplifying designs can reduce the need for expensive tooling. Understanding how designs affect aspects of manufacturing along with providing factory partners with 3D drawings and material specifications such as primary/secondary packaging can streamline the process of taking a design to the assembly line.

Finding A Manufacturer

Finding a reliable, efficient, and cost-effective manufacturer can be a painstaking process given the abundance of factories in China creating a large array of products. Your goal should be to identify a direct link to qualified, fully audited suppliers. You want boots on the ground to oversee tooling, sample coordination, on-site manufacturing oversight, quality control, and logistics. The supplier or consultant must have a bilingual staff.

Finding a good manufacturer from China can be a tedious task. In this case, you can choose to hire a sourcing agent to help you out. A China sourcing agent can not only help identify reliable suppliers but also handle everything: requesting quotes, finalizing a supplier, drawing up payment terms, asking for sample runs, and so on.

Like QTC, the company has experience in sourcing and manufacturing a wide range of products. Most of its team members have over 10 years of experience in the industry. QTC provides many professional manufacturing suggestions to clients for free and handles from raw material to final products. Its IPQC system will make sure every product is in good condition and the company always believes “every customer deserves a high-quality product.”

Quality Control

It is important to take steps on the front end of your project to ensure a factory can practice proper quality assurance processes so that quality control is found in every lot of production before shipments are moving across the ocean. It is critical to have testing requirements for pass-fail on fit, finish, and performance and specific criteria such as dimensions and tolerances. This should be laid out in documented form preferably in a quality manual. To receive a large order of products only to find that the quality of those products does not meet standards can be an extremely costly mistake.

Protect IP/Documentation

China has differing regulations and legislation concerning the business which makes working with manufacturers in China inherently riskier. Always register your product’s trademarks in countries where it is produced. Without this there is no chance of any favorable judgment should your product be released in that marketplace whether at retail or online. Theft of intellectual property is a common concern. Regardless of the confidentiality agreements or non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in place with a Chinese contract manufacturer, when designs and even finished goods are in the hands of other employees this exposure can lead to significant challenges when protecting IP.