How to Approach a Manufacturer with Your Idea

presenting your idea to your contract manufacturer

As a first-time OEM or start up, presenting your idea to a Contract Manufacturer can be an intimidating task. While there aren’t many reasons that a manufacturer wouldn’t work with you (aside from monetary and manufacturing capability constraints), at Fieldtex, we not only want to see OEM satisfaction with the final product, but we also want to see success for the product in your target market.

Presenting your idea to a manufacturer is a good way to practice pitching your product to your potential market and Customers, and if done right, can help you build a long-standing business relationship with a potential manufacturing partner.

After generating your idea and conducting market research, the next step is Choosing your Manufacturer and beginning the process of bringing your product to market. Deciding whether to manufacture domestically or overseas and making sure to extensively research potential manufacturers and is integral to the process.

It’s not a bad idea to reach out to more than one internal Prototype and Design Department or a custom product consultant to establish the feasibility of the project within their company. This can help weed out manufacturers that are unequipped and don’t have the manufacturing capabilities.

Some OEMs meet with Product Engineering firms prior to manufacturers; Fieldtex is proud to have its own internal Engineering and Design Department to simplify the process as much as possible.

When approaching a manufacturer, its important to be prepared, professional, clear, and concise; this could mean less alterations and sampling rounds, ultimately leading to your product hitting the market sooner.

Some manufacturers have a Request a Quote Form (like us!), which helps the manufacturer learn a little about your concept and purpose prior to a formal meeting (this is likely something you will find while researching different manufacturers).

Note: First impression (be it through contact form, email, phone call, or a meeting) is truly telling, and helps in building a good relationship from the ground up with your contract manufacturing partner.

Having questions prepared for the formal meeting and a brief but informative business plan will show initiative and business-mindedness.

Common Questions to ask a Manufacturer:

  • What are your production minimums?
  • What is (or ‘How long is’) the prototype and sampling process?
  • How fast can you turn around an order of XX amount?
  • What are your common lead times?

After presenting your idea, pricing is established based on quantity and material choice. Finding the perfect manufacturing partner in terms of timeline, capabilities, experience, and appropriate pricing can be a longer process than some expect; as a start up business or solo OEM, it can be difficult to dedicate sufficient time. That being said, this decision can affect the trajectory of the future of your business, and should have time dedicated to it.

Fieldtex is a Domestic Contract Manufacturer with over 40 years in the industrial custom product industry. Learn more about our custom product capabilities here.