Whether you have an existing business and you want to find a new way of doing things, or you’re starting a new venture, you may find that the best option is to work with a foreign manufacturer. Anytime you’re creating a product that you plan on mass-producing and selling, you’re going to need to partner with a manufacturer.
Of course, you may source products domestically, but that’s not the most cost-effective way to do things in some cases. You might not even be able to find a facility that’s specialized enough to provide you with what you need.
When you source internationally, costs are likely to be lower, but there are other things to think about along the way. The following are some of the most important things to keep in mind before partnering with a foreign manufacturer.
Paying someone internationally can create its own set of challenges, and there have even been situations where people’s emails have been intercepted, and they’ve sent payments to hackers and cyber criminals rather than their manufacturer. The best option can be to find a third-party payment facilitator with security standards in place.
Of course, always be wary of manufacturers who want advance payment.
If you use the right payment facilitator, you may be able to negotiate lower rates by paying them in the currency they choose, and in a way that’s going to save them the most money.
The Downsides of Foreign Manufacturers
Even though the prices may be lower, you’d be well-advised to do some research into the things that can go wrong if you rely on a foreign manufacturer.
First, the reason the costs are lower is because many of these manufacturers don’t have labor protection standards in place. If something happens and your business is caught up in it, it can be a significant problem for your branding. No business wants to be in the midst of a scandal because of poor labor conditions.
There’s also the problem of quality. There is a stigma that international manufacturers don’t produce the level of quality you could get from a domestic supplier. Of course, this isn’t true across the board, but it’s worth thinking about.
Finally, a big concern is the time it’s going to take to get the products into the country once they’re ready. The customs and import process can last for months, and it can be a nightmare. This can lead to significant delays in ship time.
None of these issues may ever arise, but being aware of the potential can help you prepare for any worst case scenarios.
Be Aware of Differences in Culture and Communication
Finally, do yourself a favor before you start doing any in-depth communication with your suppliers, and learn a bit about the country’s cultural standards and how they typically communicate.
A lot of the roadblocks people experience with international suppliers boil down to a lack of understanding in terms of how to effectively communicate. You want to be honest and manage expectations, and you should keep your emails simple. If you make emails too long or complicated, a lot can get lost in the messaging.