Choosing someone to build your product is a very big decision that many hardware companies face. For those companies that have little to no experience working with contract manufacturers (CMs), evaluating the relationship can be difficult. It’s pretty straight forward; working with your CM should be easy. Here are 5 signs that indicate you’ve picked the right CM for the job.
1. Responsiveness- How responsive is your CM? Do you hear crickets or is there always someone around to help you? Let’s face it; there will probably be last minute changes on your design. Some of these changes can be missed without a responsive CM.
2. Communication- Communication should never be difficult with your CM. Life Happens… your CM shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to you when problems crop up. Whether it’s an obsoleted part or a question about your design, your CM should be contacting you before moving ahead with a decision that could impact the performance of your product.
3. Proactive Processes- Are you constantly holding your CM’s hand? All designs need input from a manufacture’s prospective and your CM should be providing you with DFM (design for manufacturability). They build products day in and day out and know a thing or two about tweaking designs to save cost and/or improve functionality. Don’t be afraid to lean on them for help.
4. Product Fit- USA or China? While manufacturing in China is commonly talked about and publicized, many startups are beginning production in the US. There are many factors to take in to account when deciding whether or not to manufacture overseas, however that is a topic for another blog.
5. Reliability- How reliable is your CM? Do you have confidence in them or are you always second guessing what they say? Trust plays a big part in any successful relationship. If you can’t trust your CM to produce a quality product in a timely manner then maybe it’s time to look elsewhere.
Bottom line- if your CM is holding you back then maybe it’s time to move on.