Offshore manufacturing helps you reduce costs, while being agile and staying focused on your core competencies. Ensuring that the relationship with your partner delivers on your vision will need careful planning, clear definition of expectations and thinking about your assembly operations well in advance.

One of the fears associated with outsourcing manufacturing is whether the partner will share your vision. After all, the products will only be as good as the hands (or machines in this case) that make them.
Think of them as a tool, reliable and good at what they do, but requiring precise input. This is not to say they do not add value in terms of experience, but communicate your expectations to them clearly.

Think of them as a tool, reliable and good at what they do, but requiring precise input. This is not to say they do not add value in terms of experience, but communicate your expectations to them clearly.

What are the advantages of outsourcing?

The choice between in-house production and outsourcing is tough to make. On one hand, improving manufacturing capabilities can accrue great value in the long run. But on the other, capital gets tied down reducing operational flexibility and growth opportunities.

Here are some of the benefits of choosing to outsource your manufacturing.

Lower labor, asset and operational costs: Manufacturing requires highly specialised equipment and skilled workers to design and operate them. They need to be in regular use round-the-year to be worthwhile. Thus outsourcing manufacturing to someone who already has years of expertise comes with big savings on this cost.

Support Increased Demand: Outsourcing manufacturing partners have large scale infrastructure in place, which makes them ideal to ramp up production at short notice.

Access world class technologies: Businesses involved in manufacturing usually have state-of-the-art infrastructure in place, allowing you access at a fractional cost.

Focus on core interests and delegate secondary processes: Having more flexible capital allows you to focus on growing your core business. A manufacturer who shares your vision can free you up to achieve it.

Here are 6 ways to ensure your partner stays true to your (now shared) vision:

  1. Talk to your manufacturing partner while you are still in the design phase. 
    The earlier you integrate outsourcing manufacturing into your process, the more smoothly your supply chain can flow. Often you’ll find that your partner’s understanding of their end of the work can guide your design to becoming production-ready.
  2. Understand what will it take for them to deliver on your vision
    Ask your outsourced partner to communicate clearly how long it will take, which raw materials will be used, how they will be sourced, etc. Some raw materials are harder to source than others. Seasonal variations cause differences in supply. Understanding the dependencies of your partner can help you make an educated choice.
  3. Ensure that there is minimal secondary work before the first draft is out
    Products often need secondary work before they become finished goods. Perhaps an additional operation needs to be performed on a separate machine, or assembly is required to finish the product.
    Keep the capabilities of your partner in mind while drafting the design. To reduce costs and cycle times, it’s advisable to minimise the secondary work involved.
  4. Define the final parameters clearly
    There are a wide range of criteria for testing, tolerance and other metrics that the manufacturer needs to comply with. Clearly define your expectations for what they need to provide, so the product meets the standards you dreamed for it. For example, the surface finish of your product might be of high importance to you. But if the manufacturer lacks this knowledge and focuses on say, reducing cost, your vision can go awry.
  5. Define specifications in-depth
    Sometimes the tiniest of things can snowball into an unending cascade of issues for your manufacturing partner. Consider every detail such as wall-thickness in a component, right sized fillet radii, gate, overflow and ejector pin locations etc. Providing insufficient information could result in entire batches of components going to waste. Hence the more information you share the better.
  6. Plan for assembly operations that drive efficiencies before you begin the manufacturing process
    No matter how well designed your components are, expect delays if they are tough or too expensive to put together. Plan beforehand to avoid last minute surprises and higher costs. Use kitting services for subassembly to save time and cost. Tie up with fulfilment partners so your products can directly reach your customers.
We hope these ideas will help you achieve your vision with outsourced manufacturing partners.

At Zetwerk, we realise the value of timely and reliable delivery partners. With a capacity of 15,000+ MT per month and 1000+ network facilities, we offer delivery as early as 7 days.

If you would like to understand how we can help you with outsourced manufacturing, get in touch with us here.

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