Every business needs to try to gain and retain a competitive edge if they are going to survive and prosper in such a cutthroat trading environment that exists within most industries, which is why it can pay to look at the possibility of an overseas manufacturing option.

Here is an overview of how to investigate the possibility of having components or products made overseas and what is involved to make it happen. There is a look at why China is still considered a major player when it comes to manufacturing options, plus an insight into how to source suitable contacts to meet the right standards.

Made in China

If you are thinking about outsourcing your manufacturing requirements and are considering an overseas location where you will find a setup that is big enough to cope and offers cost-effective pricing, China is probably going to be one of the primary places you are going to think about first.

There are plenty of other countries who have worked hard at creating a manufacturing structure that attempts to rival what China has to offer, such as Bangladesh, Thailand, and more recently, Vietnam.

However, it has to be said that no country has yet been able to rival the infrastructure that China can offer you when you are looking for a go-to solution that meets all your requirements.

That is not to say that arranging a manufacturing contract and getting exactly what you want the first time around is a breeze.  That is why someone like ITI Manufacturing can help you find the right option and help you negotiate all the hurdles you might face in getting things up and running.

Well connected

A couple of major factors that will be really important to you if you are going to go ahead with plans to get your product manufactured overseas are cost and how uncomplicated it is to arrange.

Dealing with the aspect of setting up a system that is easy to follow and operates seamlessly, the good news is that when it comes to manufacturing and how things can often work in China, you should find that all the components you need are all within close proximity of each other and there are good lines of communication.

What this means is that you should be able to find a factory that provides the plastic and tooling you might need, next to a factory that provides the raw materials, and close to that, a factory that can assemble everything, with a packaging solution close by at another nearby factory unit.

A large proportion of the Chinese manufacturing community is often well connected and the way that the facilities have been set up, it is feasible that you can get everything done from start to finish through a network of contacts that talk to each other, and might be related in some way, either commercially or personally.

The trick is finding the right people to make all this happen.

Manufacturing by region

Another fundamental reason why China is a popular manufacturing option is that many specific types of product are made by region.

What this means is that if you are looking for an electronic product these are almost exclusively made in the south of China in Guangdong province. If it is tools, metal, DIY products that you want, Zhejiang province in the Shanghai area is the region that specializes in these items. Head to Beijing and the Hebei province for textiles, chemicals, ceramics, and food products.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means of where to go and what is made there, but you should get the general idea that most types of product are made in a specific area, which can often make it easier to track down a manufacturer who can give you what you are looking for.

Compliance and certification

You will no doubt be aware that you need to arrange a manufacturing process that complies with certain standards laid out by regulatory bodies such as the Consumer Products Safety Commission in the U.S.

If you are unsure whether a declaration of conformity will suffice or if independent tests and certificates are needed it would be a good idea to talk to someone who knows about these issues and can guide you on what you need to comply with all the necessary standards and codes.

You should also think about products that might be difficult to import because of safety concerns and restrictions, so check import regulations and see whether that piece of the jigsaw can allow you the chance to explore the idea of manufacturing overseas.

By Mike Stewart “I help North American companies achieve their offshore manufacturing goals. I work with three major company types: Entrepreneurs who have a product idea and do not know where or how to begin, companies that are currently manufacturing in the United States and are considering offshore manufacturing, and companies that are currently manufacturing offshore and are having issues.”

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