Get the latest inventory management insights and tools direct to your inbox

Business Growth, How to

5 Ways to find international manufacturers

BY Clara Lu 10 Oct, "13

You just finished working on an idea for a great new product with a niche market in mind that could be ready for it. However, the reality is that no local manufacturer has ventured into producing it. Research tells you that it will most likely keep production costs down if you produce it abroad. How do you begin your search for trustworthy international manufacturers? Here are some tips to help you find international manufacturers.

Research

One of the most crucial things an entrepreneur should do is research. Aside from the internet, talking to people who already have experience in outsourcing work overseas, such as consultants, lawyers and fellow entrepreneurs serve as great sources of information. They can give you good recommendations and help you decide whether these sources are what they say they are. This process may take some time at the beginning, but ultimately saves you more in the long run, once you build a certain level of trust with them.

Build a network

Great connections provide incredible value to your business, and the same goes for finding international manufacturers. There are many trusted online resources such as Alibaba.com, Thomasnet.com and Tdctrade.com that help you build a network of suppliers, manufacturers, and fellow business owners. Aside from these, public organizations in the United States, such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, provide assistance as well.

Know which questions to ask

Before booking the next flight out to your chosen manufacturers’ country, you can save costs by making a list of all the questions you want to ask. Many of the international manufacturers have local agents that can readily assist you. It could be about their company’s tooling and engineering capabilities, willingness to work with small sized companies, or capacity to specialize in materials not provided by other manufacturers. Ask if they could make a small trial run for you or even create a prototype.

Attend trade shows

Trade shows are an excellent way to expose you to more contacts, buyers and manufacturers. Narrow down your trade show choices by selecting the ones related to your product and your market. It can get quite overwhelming to choose due to the number shows available, but be sure to have your end goal in mind and avoid the many distractions can come along the way.

Keep in mind that you are looking for a partner

More than just finding an international manufacturer to produce your product, it is essential that you keep in mind the idea that you are looking for a partner that you can trust and vice versa. You are looking for a partner manufacturer that will take care of your product and help make your business grow.

newsletter-subscription

Subscribe for insights into building world-class eCommerce companies