How to Find a Manufacturer of A Product? – Free Quote
Every time an innovator builds a new brand, they ask how to find a manufacturer to make their brand. Innovating, designing, and researching is just the beginning of developing a product. Any great product won’t succeed if it can’t be made at scale and at a price you can afford.
Making a new product is a process, just like everything else. It’s important for startups and established companies to find a manufacturing partner for your products with the correct people and processes.
But don’t worry, it’s the same for every physical product. You may find the following tips helpful in finding a manufacturer to make your products on time, within budget, and to the customer’s satisfaction.
Table of Contents
Map Out the Ideal Manufacturer Profile
Before find suppliers for your business, ask yourself a few questions.
- Do you need suppliers with strong engineering capabilities (to develop new products)?
- Do you need them to have a wide range of designs from which you can choose?
- Do you want them to focus on low cost? Or is it high quality?
- How big should they be? This is a very important criterion for the reasons described below. You will encounter factories that fall into one of these three tiers, and their performance and pricing will vary greatly.
The following are my general recommendations on the subject of supplier size.
- If your order is very small, you may need to work with a trading company that will place your order in a Tier 1 factory and (hopefully) keep a close eye on production.
- If your order is large enough to work directly with a manufacturer, but not large enough to be of interest to a large factory, go with Tier 2 (about 250-800 workers).
- If your order is considered large and you find that a large company is actively pursuing your business, then Tier 3 can be beneficial to you.
You’ll have more confidence in the final product if you’re more specific with potential product manufacturers. Quality products will take longer to deliver if the manufacturer doesn’t communicate amenably and prompt.
Make sure you know how to make the specific components of many modern products. This often requires sophisticated technology and advanced skills. Manufacturers need to hire subcontractors who specialize in certain areas because of a new paradigm. You’ll most likely get components from around the world no matter what manufacturer you choose.
How to Find Out Who Manufactures a Product?
Finding a company’s manufacturer is more difficult and often requires internal contacts or industry knowledge. For example, we work with many consumer electronics brands, so we know their factories, but we can’t reveal them due to confidentiality agreements, and the factories can’t reveal themselves too. However, if you go to a trade show or find a factory, you may find out a company’s manufacturer.
If you want to find out what manufacturer a brand uses or how to find the manufacturer of a product on amazon? For reference, here are some methods to find the manufacturer of a specific product.
Order a Sample from the Seller
For one thing, you can simply order their items, and look at the tags of those items, and often time, it will say who either distributes or manufactures any given item.
Search Google or Visit Website
In addition, you can go on their website and many of them often list the vendors that they work with, generally somewhere in the footer or right underneath it.
Check out the titles of some of the items they are selling – many of them may feature the name of the distributor or supplier as the item was created by that given supplier in the first place.
Also, you can simply google some of the company’s distributors. You’d be surprised by the results you may get.
Use Custom Data
Use custom data website or search google with “Brand” AND “Panjiva”. Panjiva is just an example of custom data websites. You can use any others such as importgenius. Input the brand that you want to look up such as Apple, then you will know what manufacturer a brand uses(most for big brand)
Ask for Referrals
Try to connect with some people related to your industry via LinkedIn. Ask these professional networks about their suggestions; some of them may even become a different official of your expected brands. They will help you get connected with the manufacturers directly.
Search on the B2B Platform
Besides, different B2B portals like Alibaba(use picture search), Tradeling , eWorldtrade , Amazon, etc., can be a good source to connect with the direct manufacturers. Different top brands usually list their items at these portals and find buyers for their trading needs. If luck enough, you can find out what manufacturer a brand uses.
The Truth of How to Find a Brands Manufacturer
Most companies that outsource their products are constantly looking for factories that can offer said products at a lower price while still maintaining or improving quality. By the way, even if a company makes their own products, they will try to do the same thing.
If a company has more than one product and they outsource the manufacturing, you can bet they have more than one factory and each factory sources materials from a variety of other contractors. I don’t know of any company (or factory) that produces every finished product.
So, how to find a brands manufacturer?
- You can call the company and ask who makes their product (they probably won’t tell you),
- or you can become part of the industry and start attending trade shows and hire an agent to find and approve the plant (or plants),
- or you can try to find the shipping box for the product you are interested in and see if it has a manufacturer’s mark on it … usually has. You may even be lucky enough to find a shipping document attached to the box, which will reveal more information than the company wants.
If you are looking to manufacture a similar product, forget it. If you are trying to blame the factory for a failed project, forget it (it’s the responsibility of the company who provide it). If you want to know how much it costs to do something, forget it (costs are always closely guarded).
How to Find Manufacturer of A Product?
1. Use Alibaba
Alibaba connects you with manufacturers from China. It’s a common marketplace to find existing products, but you can also use Alibaba to connect with manufacturers to create custom products. Simply search for the products you’re looking for and browse through the various suppliers and manufacturers. By the way, you also can looking for other China online wholesale websites.
2. Use Free Online Website to Find Manufacturers Directories
Another place to find a manufacturer for your brand is free online supplier directories. These directories act as manufacturer catalogs that contain profiles for hundreds or thousands of manufacturers, wholesalers, and suppliers. Below, we’ve listed a few of the most popular ones for both domestic and overseas suppliers:
Online US Wholesalers and Distributors Directories
ThomasNet – quote and buy online platform
Maker’s Row – Made in US products
MFG – Manufacturer directory
Dollardays.com – electronics, office, food, and more
Liquidation.com – well respected and a variety of product conditions
Big Lots – US and Canada – closeout deals
Tuesday Morning – luggage, electronics, toys, home, and garden categories.
Gabes -branded closeout stock
SaleHoo – membership
World Wide Brands – paid directory
Price Master – lots of different categories
Lotus Light – health, beauty, and other categories
UK Wholesalers and Distributors
Here are some UK Wholesale Suppliers for Amazon:
Esources – directory – free and paid options
The Wholesaler – directory
Gem Wholesale – stockist
3. Search on Google
In recent years, we’ve become accustomed to being able to easily search Google and find what we’re looking for in the first few search results. However, many suppliers haven’t kept pace with the internet or Google’s algorithm changes. Their websites are usually old, sparse on information, and have poor search engine optimization.
So how do you find a manufacturer of a product on Google? For possibly the first time ever, you’ll need to explore page two of Google search results and beyond. You’ll also want to use a variety of search terms. For example, words like “wholesale,” “wholesaler,” and “distributor” may be used interchangeably, so you should search for all of them.
It may help to make yourself familiar with Google’s search shortcuts to improve the quality of your searches and, thus, your results.
4. Use Referrals
Some of the best leads can come from referrals. Don’t be afraid to ask connections in your professional networks if they have any recommendations or if they know someone who might. Look for individuals who’ve found success in an area you’d like to pursue and see if they’re willing to share their contacts.
Social networks have made it much easier to get the word out, so make sure to use these channels. Join Facebook groups and other online communities of ecommerce business owners and see if anyone there has a glowing review.
As you do start to uncover suppliers, even if they aren’t the right fit for you, be sure to ask them if they can point you in the right direction. Being in the industry means they’ll likely have great contacts and would be happy to refer you to an option that might be a better fit.
5. Use NAICS Codes
How do you find where a product is manufactured? A possible way is by searching for the NAICS code.
NAICS is the North American Industry Classification System, and pretty much every single manufacturing industry and product you can think of is attached to a NAICS code. Sometimes manufacturers and suppliers list products by their NAICS code, which can make manufacturers and suppliers easier to find, especially if you’re using professional directories.
You’ll also want to make sure you properly vet your potential manufacturer. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few possibilities, dig deeper in your research to make sure they’re credible.
Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if there have been any complaints filed, browse the manufacturer’s Facebook page reviews, and use those Google search tricks to query the company name + reviews to see if any red flags come up.
Lastly, when you decide how to find a manufacturer for your product, where you make it might be the most crucial decision.
6. Sourcing Company
If you are a newbie and you are ready to develop private label products, sourcing company is also a good choice. They will help you understand the entire process from development to receipt, and once you have a basic understanding, you can learn to do the whole thing yourself.
Local Sourcing vs. Global Sourcing
You might be asking, “are manufacturer near me better to work with than overseas?” The answer is a bit complex.
So many U.S. companies manufacture their goods overseas because of the labor costs. It can also be a plus that there are so many overseas manufacturers, but it can be difficult to find the right one for you. China and other places offshore make a lot of stuff for a reason.
You can find overseas manufacturers on overseas directories like Alibaba, but you can’t always be sure that you’ll find them trustworthy and long-term partners. There are many other Asian manufacturing countries with strong economies, so don’t just focus on China when other Asian countries are strong. Alternatively, you could nearshore in Mexico or another country in the Americas.
Even with a good overseas factory, there are a lot of issues to deal with, from quality control to labor to intellectual property theft to sluggish shipping to payment disputes. There will also be import, customs, and compliance processes. All of them have multiple steps and middlemen involved.
Frequent trips overseas cost money, and you have fewer opportunities to identify problems before making payments when you don’t have a local presence to oversee and manage the manufacturer. Remote management can be hard, especially with time zone differences and language barriers. No matters if you can visit the site personally regularly, a cultural barrier usually gets in the way.
Finding a local supplier can help your business save time and money. Here are some of the top reasons why you might consider sourcing locally instead of an international manufacturer.
The advantages of local sourcing.
- Local sourcing is great for PR, it allows you to demonstrate your investment in your local community.
- This is great for local suppliers who will benefit from serving and proud of the local community.
- Local sourcing enables you to see exactly what you are paying for as you are able to travel to suppliers for development, management and site inspection purposes.
- Sourcing specialty products from local suppliers becomes much easier as you can visit them regularly to explain your requirements face-to-face.
- Shorten supply chains, which may (if lucky) lead to greater predictability of lead times.
While local sourcing is great for public relations, here are some of the main reasons why international sourcing might be the way to go.
Disadvantages of local sourcing.
- Close ties with local suppliers can lead to ethical issues when selecting suppliers.
- If you’re terminating your contract with a local supplier, it could generate bad publicity locally.
- You may not be able to find quality products in your own country.
- Economic impacts in your home country may affect deliveries and supply chains.
- You may develop resistance to change, especially when you need something innovative and new.
- The suppliers you choose may depend on you as their main source of income.
10 Questions to Ask Overseas Suppliers:
If you followed the advice on identifying potential suppliers, you may have found some interesting suppliers. The next step is to make sure they are telling you the truth and that they are reliable.
How do you handle quality control?
Do your employees and company have any certifications?
Do you make anything in our industry?
Is most of the production going to be done in-house, or will you have to outsource some?
Does production cost go over what you’ve quoted?
Who owns injection molds if they’re hard tooling?
How much do you need for the minimum order?
What the incoterms you can offer?
What is your payment process?
Will I be able to talk directly to the production manager in charge of my product?
Do you have any reference companies in my industry or nearby?
Who pays for rework or fixing the process if we don’t get what we expected?
Even if you place a one-time order, you should take a little time to check that the potential supplier is legitimate. You don’t want to be the victim of a scam, do you?
How can I Best Position Myself as an Attractive Partner to Manufacturers?
If you have never approached a manufacturer, it can be daunting. Some suppliers may provide generalized responses or not respond at all.
To ensure that the factory you contact takes you seriously, be as professional as possible. Make them understand that you are serious. You can do this by already having a professional e-commerce site set up for them to browse.
Keep any emails concise and clear. Describe the product you want to manufacture, including materials and dimensions. Your request should be simple and easy to understand. You also need to ask about pricing for several different quantities related to your business.
Avoid requesting quotes for lots that are too small to be credible, but at the same time, don’t promise more than you can handle.
What Risks Should You Consider When Choosing A Manufacturer?
As a small business, when find a manufacturer of your brand, you certainly want to get your product to market as quickly as possible. However, it’s important to make sure the companies you work with reflect your values and goals. Below are some of the potential risks you may face when entering into a manufacturing agreement.
Bad labor Practices
If your company asserts that it cares about its employees, you should ensure that this value extends to your manufacturing partners. Failure to do so creates a PR risk, even if there are no other issues. When Find a manufacturer partner abroad, find out how workers are paid, whether their working conditions are safe, and whether they comply with existing regulations.
Some foreign manufacturers are based in countries where corruption is rampant, so do your homework. Ask to see the financials of potential partners and ask them to provide proof of other partners. By finding only experienced manufacturing companies and conducting regular audits, you can vet your partners to see if they are acting in good faith.
Your company’s intellectual property (IP) is important. It makes your product unique and differentiates you from your competitors. Unfortunately, there are countless stories of foreign companies misusing corporate intellectual property. To prevent this, you can do things like use multiple suppliers to source your materials, trust only companies you already have a relationship with, and make sure your legal protections like contracts, patents, and trademarks are ironclad.
What if something goes wrong in the future?
A good product specific contract is essential to cover foreseeable issues such as product defects or supply chain delays, and can also include a comprehensive clause to address the unknown.
The contract should outline who will bear the direct costs of producing additional products if necessary, as well as the indirect costs of increasing shipping costs or increasing customer churn.
Also, you should learn how to do quality control during your production.
Tips for Finding Manufacturer for a Product.
Manufacturing custom product isn’t just about putting your product together. They take your design and make it into something you can use. You don’t have to worry about the manufacturer sourcing all your raw materials, off-the-shelf parts, and hardware.
To name a few, they’ve got to set up a manufacturing process, test their product, and hire skilled workers. There’s a lot to do, and that’s why choosing the right manufacturer is so critical.
Although referrals from peers are great, you shouldn’t rely on them solely to find a manufacturer for your business. Referrals are good, but each manufacturer has its own perks and ways to make it happen. Don’t just rely on their salespeople for your decision. Even though they’re nice and knowledgeable, they won’t run the production process.
A Big Mistake to Find a Brands Manufacturer
Some potential suppliers of your product will offer much lower than average prices. How is this possible?
- Some suppliers want to start developing products with you, and they will use strategies to raise prices along the way (usually after a deposit wire transfer for the first order).
- Some other suppliers simply don’t know what the cost is. Even if you find it in their showroom, they have never made it before. After you send them a purchase order, they will want to know where and how to make it. This is also a bad sign.
So, how can you do this?
You may see several very similar quotes from different manufacturers: this is the “market price“. Eliminate all “outliers” that make the price 20% above or below average.
*(If you are interested in buying above market price to get above average quality, keep the highest price quoted).
Mistake for Finding a Manufacturer to Make Your Product
Small businesses make a big mistake when find manufacturer of a product partner too fast. You can finally get it on shelves after it’s designed. It might lead to long delays or failure if we hurry this decision. Ask questions, check references, and take your time. Ask them how they make your products.
-You can also discuss your product design with their manufacturing engineers. If they say everything will be fine, you won’t have any problems. It’s hard to make stuff, and unless your manufacturers were involved in product design, they probably have some questions.
-You likely need a partner who knows much about manufacturing since factory sourcing is crucial to product development. To ensure you get the best manufacturer for your product, they need to know what to look for. Sourcing agents can help. Choosing a sourcing agent, however, means you’ll be able to verify they’re independent and don’t get a kickback or commission.
-Another option is trading companies. They fill your orders for you. Their job is to do all that for you and then charge you. You don’t have much control and end up paying more long-term with this type of sourcing. Still, it’s super fast and effortless.
You’re Better Off Partnering Up With An Expert
If You want to learn how to find a manufacturer of a Product, it’s also possible to work with product sourcing companies like Supplyia to handle these things. Based in the China, we help companies and entrepreneurs develop products from idea to production, including research, design, and sourcing.
Take advantage of our global network of designers, engineers, and manufacturers. Once production starts, our local reps can make regular site visits to confirm the manufacturer delivers on what they promise. We’ll update you throughout the production process with photos and reports. They speak the language and understand the culture, so you can build trust with them.
Knowing these vetted resources and having a network of them will save you a lot of time and hassle, along with expensive mistakes. While it can be risky to source overseas, you can be sure some reputable manufacturers will prioritize your needs.
No matter how eager you are finding a manufacturer to make your product, take your enough time, ask questions, ask for references, and find a manufacturer like Supplyia to help you through the whole process.