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RANT How difficult could it be when dealing with Manufacturers.

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Zedd9165

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Dec 22, 2017
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Hello Fastlaners,

I have been a long time member of Fastlane, walking the side walk for past couple of years even after coming across this forum with information equal to GOLD. Actions have been taken time to time but always failed. I believe that failure is something like a mirror, that actual makes you realize that there more to learn or work on. Below is my hurdle which is a temporary road block to my Fastlane.

I have this product idea and I have also found market demand for it. It has taken some time for me to raise the required funds which I felt would be sufficient for a humble for a start. While I gathered funds all these years to support my product's manufacturing, and cost of running a company full time, I saw other individuals coming up with similar products. This some how has validated that there is indeed a lot of potential for my product.

I'm having a tough time with manufacturers from my niche. In all these years of research and survey I understood that there are two types of manufacturers (excluding the agents that pose as manufacturers) in the Industry 1. Big Manufacturers & 2. Small Manufacturers. Both of them are currently posing as my entry barriers.

The Big manufacturers with good technology, man power, and skills hardly entertains start ups like mine. The benefit I would have in working with these kind of manufacturers is that their product quality is always the best and therefore, I always prefer working with them.

On the contrary the small manufacturers, their response time is good, they want more customers, they will extend their support to you on time but the end product is not upto the mark. Even their MOQs are sometimes are on higher side.

Since there are plenty of experts on this forum who deal or would have dealt directly with manufacturers I have couple of questions and would highly appreciate if someone could address them.

How do I introduce my self/brand to a new manufacturer when sending them an e-mail inquiry.
How do you tackle the MOQ issues while developing and testing a product for the first time in the market.
 

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Last edited:
Solution
Going from my personal experience, bigger companies will generally scoff you to the side if you're an individual or working on a smaller scale. They're looking for bigger fish with deeper pockets mainly so they can maximize their production facilities at all times.

What has worked for me was approaching smaller manufacturers and even reaching out directly to their head of sales/manufacturing (if they have one listed). I normally word my emails and conversations in a way that lets them know I am not a large corporation but that I'm bigger than just a single person. So in my emails, I always tell them I'm the "purchasing agent" or something similar and not the actual owner. That way I give off the perception that I'm a larger entity AND...

BrianLateStart

Bronze Contributor
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Jun 11, 2019
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I went through what you're talking about. You didn't state what kind of parts you're needing to have manufactured. Do you need injection molds, stamped metal parts, printed circuit boards?

I recently retired from working in engineering for one of the worlds largest appliance companies. I could get bids from any top tier company as an employee of the appliance company. As an individual looking to get my own parts made, they wanted nothing to do with me. I even had great contacts inside the manufacturers.

You didn't say what kind of parts you need made and how complex they are. How many are you wanting? Do you have good CAD models and drawings? Telling someone you have an idea and I'd like you to make it won't go far with any manufacturer.
 

bmarketguy

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Jan 19, 2021
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Also an ex engineer here. like what @BrianLateStart said, it really depends on what you're doing and how many you need. If you want to try and get something out there to test the waters, you may have to consider making some of it yourself. There are a ton of techniques out there to make your own parts 3d printing, laser cutting, cnc machining, even aluminum casting.

If its a relatively simple electronic it may be a great time to start playing with arduinos and 3d printing.

Good luck!
 

juresesko

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Say to them that you are inexpirienced and that you dont know if everything you have is enough to make the molds or what do you need. There one more things molds are a lot more expensive if you want to make them the best quality. So if you need a prototype making a mold would cost you nice moneys. Then is just numbers game there will be someone that will answer...
 

triodine

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Going from my personal experience, bigger companies will generally scoff you to the side if you're an individual or working on a smaller scale. They're looking for bigger fish with deeper pockets mainly so they can maximize their production facilities at all times.

What has worked for me was approaching smaller manufacturers and even reaching out directly to their head of sales/manufacturing (if they have one listed). I normally word my emails and conversations in a way that lets them know I am not a large corporation but that I'm bigger than just a single person. So in my emails, I always tell them I'm the "purchasing agent" or something similar and not the actual owner. That way I give off the perception that I'm a larger entity AND I get the bonus of being able to leverage better deals by saying stuff like "I'm sorry but my manager wants to go with X instead because of X reason".

I've found that to be more receptive since smaller manufacturers want to build and grow just like you. So if they can find a business on a similar scale to them and see the potential for both businesses to mutually grow, they'll want to make something work out.
 
Solution

Bekit

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How do I introduce my self/brand to a new manufacturer when sending them an e-mail inquiry.
How do you tackle the MOQ issues while developing and testing a product for the first time in the market.
What have you tried so far? What does your current introduction look like? What about it is not working for you?

If you haven't tried reaching out to anyone yet, my advice would be to not over think it.

I reached out to some manufacturers for the first time ever last spring. I just got on the phone and started with, "I'm looking to manufacture a product that I think you could help with. Are you currently available to work with new clients?"

Didn't know what I was doing, but it worked.
 

Zedd9165

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Dec 22, 2017
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India
What have you tried so far? What does your current introduction look like? What about it is not working for you?

If you haven't tried reaching out to anyone yet, my advice would be to not over think it.

I reached out to some manufacturers for the first time ever last spring. I just got on the phone and started with, "I'm looking to manufacture a product that I think you could help with. Are you currently available to work with new clients?"

Didn't know what I was doing, but it worked.

I have tried approaching some top manufacturers in my country who specialize in the products that Im willing to sell.

I usually introduce them with all my details and also my future plans (briefly) to give them an idea that I'm serious and I do have the potential to grow my market. The reason why I feel that they don't respond to me would be because I'm just starting to build my company.

Plus I sometimes feel that having a company e-mail would have a different impact on the overall conversation rather than just having an e-mail that ends with @gmail.com.
 

BrianLateStart

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I have tried approaching some top manufacturers in my country who specialize in the products that Im willing to sell.
I'm trying to follow what you're doing. At first I thought you designed a product and were looking for manufacturer's to make the parts for you. That's something I've done I could probably give you some help.

Your second post makes me think you might be looking to white label and existing product and put your own branding on it. There's nothing wrong with either approach. I have no experience in white labeling if that's what you're doing. I'm sure there's people here that could be of great help. Maybe clarify a little bit in what you're doing and you can get some better advice.
 

Zedd9165

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Dec 22, 2017
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I'm trying to follow what you're doing. At first I thought you designed a product and were looking for manufacturer's to make the parts for you. That's something I've done I could probably give you some help.

Your second post makes me think you might be looking to white label and existing product and put your own branding on it. There's nothing wrong with either approach. I have no experience in white labeling if that's what you're doing. I'm sure there's people here that could be of great help. Maybe clarify a little bit in what you're doing and you can get some better advice.

Hi Brian,

Thank you for responding. I initially approached manufacturers to produce commodities for me basing on few sample pictures which would give the manufacturer an idea of what I'm planning to get manufactured.

My plan was to come to an understanding these manufacturers initially and then provide them technical blue prints with all the details that they would require. This way I would know the MOQs of that particular manufacturer and how good would be their pricing and their lead times etc. Once I get these estimations I had plans to get the blue prints. This would save me some cash in the initial stages.

However, after getting in touch with some of the top class manufacturers, I came to know that both their pricing as well as their MOQs is way too much for a small firm like mine. That's when I decided to get in touch with the small manufacturers or whole sellers (last option) to test the waters and create a demand for my products.

However, searching a genuine small manufacturer isn't as easy as it is finding a reputed manufacturer who has his all details and testimonials available on the internet. Since I already have been working in the supply chain management for almost 6 years now, I know it could be a little risky when dealing with small manufacturers. Sometimes, they don't respond after they get their funds, sometimes they mess up the job etc.
 

James90

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Jul 2, 2019
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Hawaii
I’m currently going through the same motions as you. I’ve been sourcing a product that the technology exists, but no suppliers so far has it stocked off the shelf.

It’s a numbers game. Thus, it’s been a constant back/forth email with over 60 suppliers/manufactures. Found 2 solid leads.

This is what has worked for me so far.

Getting a domain name Johndoe@companyname.com
Manufactures will take you more seriously.

Being honest with my MOQ. I rather have full transparency from the start if I end up building a relationship with that manufacturer.

And yes, smaller companies are more willing to work with me. Larger companies won’t give me a time of day once I mention MOQ and usually their pricing is way out of my budget anyways. Although it all depends.

Sourcing manufacturers through tradeshows.
Example: Say you want to design your own furniture.

  • Search furniture trade shows
  • look up exhibitors
  • email each exhibitor/supplier
  • I use gmail streak app to organize the emails

My emails usually go like this.

Hi There,

I'm James, my group is seeking an blah blab blah with parameters between blah blah blah that can communicate via blah blah blah

After communicating with another supplier, I’ve become unsure if this application exists in the industry yet… I’m hoping to verify with your organization.

I wish to discuss more R&D capabilities with you to learn more about your organization's processes for new product development.

I apologize if this isn't the right point of contact, if so can you please point me in the right direction?

Best regards,
James



Hope that helps
 

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Zedd9165

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Dec 22, 2017
84
66
59
27
India
I’m currently going through the same motions as you. I’ve been sourcing a product that the technology exists, but no suppliers so far has it stocked off the shelf.

It’s a numbers game. Thus, it’s been a constant back/forth email with over 60 suppliers/manufactures. Found 2 solid leads.

This is what has worked for me so far.

Getting a domain name Johndoe@companyname.com
Manufactures will take you more seriously.

Being honest with my MOQ. I rather have full transparency from the start if I end up building a relationship with that manufacturer.

And yes, smaller companies are more willing to work with me. Larger companies won’t give me a time of day once I mention MOQ and usually their pricing is way out of my budget anyways. Although it all depends.

Sourcing manufacturers through tradeshows.
Example: Say you want to design your own furniture.

  • Search furniture trade shows
  • look up exhibitors
  • email each exhibitor/supplier
  • I use gmail streak app to organize the emails

My emails usually go like this.

Hi There,

I'm James, my group is seeking an blah blab blah with parameters between blah blah blah that can communicate via blah blah blah

After communicating with another supplier, I’ve become unsure if this application exists in the industry yet… I’m hoping to verify with your organization.

I wish to discuss more R&D capabilities with you to learn more about your organization's processes for new product development.

I apologize if this isn't the right point of contact, if so can you please point me in the right direction?

Best regards,
James



Hope that helps

Hi James,

Thank you so much for the insight. I did register an business e-mail and that when on of the manufacturer responded. Well, I believe the game is to keep approaching manufacturers until you find someone who meets your requirements.

I guess in this game I will be e-mailing more than 100+ manufacturers to get 1 or 2 potential leads.

But actually appreciate your advise. I'm surely gonna work on it.
 

Walter Hay

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Sep 13, 2014
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I normally word my emails and conversations in a way that lets them know I am not a large corporation but that I'm bigger than just a single person. So in my emails, I always tell them I'm the "purchasing agent" or something similar and not the actual owner. That way I give off the perception that I'm a larger entity AND I get the bonus of being able to leverage better deals by saying stuff like "I'm sorry but my manager wants to go with X instead because of X reason".
That's a good approach except for the fact you should avoid describing yourself as an "agent". Call yourself Purchasing Manager, and you will get more responses.

Readers of this thread will find som relevant stuff in this thread:

Sourcing Alibaba (Product Creation)

There are only 18 posts so it won't take yoyu long to run through it.

Are @Zedd9165 and @triodine wanting to source in the USA , China, or where? If I knew which, I could probably help.

Walter
 

Zedd9165

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Dec 22, 2017
84
66
59
27
India
That's a good approach except for the fact you should avoid describing yourself as an "agent". Call yourself Purchasing Manager, and you will get more responses.

Readers of this thread will find som relevant stuff in this thread:

Sourcing Alibaba (Product Creation)

There are only 18 posts so it won't take yoyu long to run through it.

Are @Zedd9165 and @triodine wanting to source in the USA , China, or where? If I knew which, I could probably help.

Walter

Hello Walter,

Its been long time that I have interacted with you. Coming straight to the topic, lately I have started receiving responses from the manufacturers. The reason that things are working out now is because, I have a proper business e-mail and a designations like Procurement Executive or Manager.

These titles change from situation to situation and manufacturer/vendor to manufacturer. This has been helping me a lot and the manufacturers tend to take me a little serious when your have a business email address plus a title in the signature.

Walter, I'm looking for manufacturers in Vietnam, Turkey, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Philippines. China would have had been my preference but India where Iive has stopped doing business with china.
 

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