10 Steps to Bring a Product to Market – Start Your Own Company
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You will need to contract a manufacturer to start production on your product. Although US manufacturers are usually easier to work with, it can be very difficult to find one who is willing to produce your product. US manufacturers can also be cost prohibitive. US manufacturers will have a much quicker turn around time and it will be much easier to finalize the product design and make any changes. You have to weigh what is more important for you when considering US manufacturing or overseas manufacturing. Most inventors end up choosing overseas manufacturing due to cost restraints.
. Follow the steps below to find a manufacture
Step 1. Be sure you know the production term for your product. For example, is it extruded plastic, thermoset plastic, machined, stamped and a host of other terms that distinguish different ways to make products. You will have trouble finding the right manufacturer without being able to describe the production process accurately. If you don’t know the process name itself try contacting these groups:
- Your local inventors club, which you can find at www.inventorsdigest.com/resources/inventor-organizations These groups typically have monthly meetings and they often have prototypers or other engineers who attend who can help you understand the process needed to make your product.
- Your local SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) organization, www.score.org. This organization typically has several retired plant engineers or related people that can help recognize the type of production you need to make your product.
Step 2. Find potential manufacturers. I found the best ways to do this are by:
- Check the MacRae’s Bluebook, www.macraesbluebook.com which lists manufacturers by state by category.
- Check the Thomas Register, www.tomasregister.com, which also list manufacturer by category.
- Look for trade associations for the industry which will typically have a membership directory.
Step 3. Shortcut – Rather than contacting companies and evaluate whether or not they could make your product, I’ve found it useful to contact instead companies that make the equipment needed to make your product. For example, if your product requires injection molding equipment, contact manufacturers of injection molding equipment and ask the salesperson there to recommend people in your area that have the right type of equipment. You can also tell the person that you are looking for companies that would produce small run. Tell salespeople selling the equipment you need a manufacturer to own often give you the best list of manufactures to contact.
Step 4. Call companies, see if they can produce your product and get an estimate for small and medium volume production appropriate for your part. If could be an order of 500 and 2500 parts for one product, and 50 to 5,000 for another. This way you can see if the companies might be a good fit for you. Don’t be discouraged if companies don’t want to quote you. Just keep calling till you find one that wants your business.
Choose your manufacturer carefully since poor quality or delays in shipping can sour your relationship with distributors, retail stores and customers.