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How to Find a Manufacturer

Post by on May 7th, 2024

How to Find a Manufacturer to Partner With for Your Project

If you have started a business and need the right manufacturing partner before you take on clients or are an industry expert seeking a partner that can match the professionalism your clients expect from you, finding the right manufacturer is essential to a successful project.

Manufacturers have the right skills, equipment, tools and capacity to make product development as efficient as possible. If you are an architect or building contractor, you can rely on a manufacturer for completed interior doors and other suppliers to help you deliver your client’s projects. This is beneficial to your projects from a logistical standpoint and crucial for completing projects on time as you build an excellent name for yourself.

Researching Manufacturers

Researching companies you could have a manufacturing relationship with may seem like a simple first step. With the wealth of information and options available, it can quickly become time-consuming and unproductive.

Knowing what to consider before you begin can cut your research time in half and get you one step closer to finding the right manufacturer for your project:

  • Browse online directories: Online directories are rich resources that list the details of thousands of manufacturers. The best part about using a reliable online directory is that many of the manufacturers listed have been reviewed or vetted. This information is usually also displayed so that you know which companies are legitimate.
  • Search NAICS codes: Have you found a product that models the artisanship you want for your own projects? Sometimes the information you need to get hold of the company is readily available, but if not, you may be able to contact the manufacturer by using The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) to look up the product. The NAICS is a federal standard for classifying business establishments and data on the country’s economy. With this system, each product must have a code that makes it easy to look up the manufacturer.
  • Head to forums: Forums might seem like nothing more than chat threads, but they contain gems of information that you cannot find anywhere else. That is because forums are people-centered, not business-orientated. Forums and social media platforms are places where other contractors and clients can share their recommendations and experiences with different manufacturers. Because it is opinion-based, it is wise to consider all information critically.

Once you have researched a few companies, you may compile a shortlist of the manufacturers you would like to contact and learn more about.

Ensuring Quality and Reliability

Projects depend on reliable manufacturers who provide quality products. Thankfully, there are a few avenues you can take to ensure quality and reliability from a manufacturer before you partner with them:

  • Check the BBB: The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is an organization that helps establish trust between buyers and manufacturers using an accreditation system. The vetting system complies with customer reviews, complaints and scam reports to build a comprehensive rating of various buyers and sellers.
  • Read reviews and get references: Reviews and references are lifesavers when it comes to determining the quality and reliability of a manufacturer and their product. A quick online search should bring up reviews or you could once again head to forums to ask other contractors for their experiences with different companies.
  • Ask for product samples: Once you have narrowed down the manufacturers you feel the most confident about, feel free to start asking for product samples. Samples are an excellent way to get an idea of the quality of the manufacturer’s products and the level of customization they can provide. It will also give you a feel for the company’s customer service and how well you can communicate your design needs. Keep in mind that while many manufacturers offer free samples, some might charge for shipping and a fee for the sample, especially if you would like a custom one.

You may also reach out to manufacturers and ask a few questions that give you a sense of the company’s reliability and whether the partnership would be a good match for your project’s needs. Speaking to a representative to discuss the following points will help you determine compatibility:

  • Does the manufacturer create custom products?
  • Can they accommodate large bulk orders, and what is the minimum order quantity?
  • What is the cost per unit, and what are the shipping costs?
  • What lead times can you expect?

Sustainable and Ethical Manufacturing

Sustainability and ethical workplace practices are strong indicators of a reliable manufacturing company. When values align, you have the opportunity to form a lasting and beneficial professional relationship with the manufacturer.

A good starting point for establishing that you are on common ground is meeting with manufacturers to talk over values. Together, you could discuss:

  • Where they source their raw materials from.
  • If the company aims to use sustainable raw resources.
  • What the facilities and staff working conditions are like.
  • What their values are regarding manufacturing and construction.
  • If the manufacturer adheres to standards and policies for environmental management.

If you are happy with the answers to these questions, chances are you have found the manufacturer you can work with to bring projects to fruition. The next and final step is establishing a lasting relationship.

Building Strong Relationships

Once you have found a manufacturer, the goal is to build and maintain a lasting relationship. Having a manufacturer you can rely on for your product needs goes a long way to completing projects successfully. Establishing a strong relationship with a manufacturer can be beneficial in other ways, too — they may offer you more cost-effective options, exclusive discounts, referrals and more.

Consider these tips for forming and maintaining a good manufacturing partnership:

  • View the relationships as a strategic partnership that you both benefit from. The collaboration helps both of you meet a common goal, and that is to complete projects that wow clients.
  • Set your expectations and ask the manufacturer what their expectations are as well. Are there certain lead times you rely on? Is there a payment plan they have established? Communicate these expectations clearly and effectively and have them in writing to fall back on.
  • Discuss conflict resolution at the beginning so you have an effective strategy should disagreements arise.

With a good contract or agreement in place, clear communication and strategies for maintaining long-term partnerships, you are well on your way to having a manufacturer you can rely on for all your future projects.

Partner With Manhattan Door Corporation

Finding a manufacturer to team up with is one of the stepping stones to fruitful projects and satisfied clients. Having a strategic, long-term partnership with a manufacturer is an excellent way to drive your own business forward.

At Manhattan Door Corporation, we value our partnerships with distributors and other clients. As a fourth-generation, family-owned door manufacturer, you can rely on us for quality commercial wood doors, attention to detail, excellent lead times and personalized customer service. Contact us today for a quote or to discuss how we can assist your business and serve your projects so that you become a customer for life.

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