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Product Development in China
THE SOURCE CODE BLOG
Over the years we’ve been contact by many individuals who possess an innovative or cool new product idea (in their eyes) which they want manufactured in China. Their primary reason for contacting us is they know we have access to multiple Chinese manufacturers and assume because it’s China they’ll be able to develop their product cheap, easy and fast.
What these individuals and sometimes small corporations fail to understand is no development projects undertaken in China or, any other country for that matter, happen inexpensively, effortlessly or quickly.
Through our experience we’ve learned once we initiate a new sourcing project:
- There’s always hick-ups both large and small.
- It never happens swiftly.
- Additional capital is generally required.
This by no means is a ground breaking revelation to anyone who’s been associated with a product development process however when you’re dealing with matters of great personal interest, people’s enthusiasm for obtaining a product can often cloud their better judgment.
Which is why we’ve come up with some tips for individuals (or companies) looking to utilize Chinese manufacturing to make their vision come to fruition.
- Do not circumvent the process – Take your time to determine your best fit supplier based on your organizational needs of: quality, price, delivery and development capabilities. If you pick solely based on one of these items (such as price) you are much more likely to end up unsatisfied.
- Keep it as simple as possible – Complexity in product design, input materials or machinery needed to produce the product will most certainly come back to haunt you in the form of: production delays, input material shortages, equipment malfunctions, higher finished costs and increased potential for sustained quality issues.
- Designers should be close to production – While I know not a reality for all individuals or small companies. Our best practice indicates, you have a much better chance of staying on schedule (and cost) when production and design can talk in real time and better yet be able to make regular visits to the factory.
- A proto-type does not equal production quality – Once you have a proto-type which meets your quality and price requirements, refrain all urges to jump straight into production. Continue to take it slow and request several trial orders where you will receive small production batches. It may temporally be more expensive but this way you’ll know the factory can exactly duplicate their lab proto-type in a production setting. Trust me this is a valuable step to take.
- Never settle – After your production is up and running constantly provide feedback to your supplier. There will be surprises so be prepared. Although by staying on top of each order you’ll be able to review areas for quality fade or packing inconsistencies and avoid situations where you end up with a container full of unsellable material.
That’s it for today. Stay tuned for the next weeks post.