Manufacturing or developing a product means that you will have to partner with a factory. Whether you are meeting with a factory for the first time or talking with them over the phone, you will need to set up a consultation.
Consider these tips to get ready for your consultation and make the most of your time.
- Have All Your Documents. Have samples and files, including a tech pack if possible, ready to send as needed. The best way for someone to understand what you envision is to send a a visual example that can speak to the material, design, and functionality of the product.
- Know What Your Goal Is. You should be able to answer “What service do you need?” Manufacturers work with many designers along various stages of the process. Being able to identify what you need will allow you to properly evaluate if this factory offers what you need.
- Listen To The Expert. The factory consultant should lead the conversation and offer his or her insight and advice. Initially they will ask you questions to asses your needs, but they will also offer advice. Be prepared to take notes.
- Be Honest. Whether you are new to the industry or not, it’s important to be honest during the initial consulting session about your abilities and limitations. Be honest about what you know and don’t know, and about what you can and cannot do.
- Come With Questions. Your questions should coincide with your goal. Prepare questions that will help you determine whether the factory’s experience is ideal for the project you have planned. Also, don’t be afraid to ask other questions that will help you along the manufacturing process. The manufacturer may be able to recommend another company for a different part of your production process.
- Talk About Costs. Talk about money and time. Get an understanding of how much it will cost to take on this project. This will help you avoid running out of money half way through a project. Since manufacturers have multiple timelines based on their clients, it’s important that the timeline you desire is realistic for their facility and team.
You still have options – a consultation is not a commitment. It is an opportunity to see if the factory is a good fit for you. If you don’t feel that it is, don’t feel obligated to continue working with that factory. You can continue searching for a factory that makes sense for you. In the case that you want to work with the factory, decide on next steps together.