Any kind of custom manufacture needs open and easy communication between the factory, the end users and any other interested parties, like the corporate office, engineering or design firms. Communication in the manufacturing is the key to making design and material decisions or changes in a timely manner. Imagine trying to access a factory on the other side of the globe like China when the specifications change at the last minute on a short run of production! Language barriers become obstacles that are difficult to overcome when there are deadline pressures.
If the product has to be shipped from a great distance, it is critical that it arrives undamaged and completely conforming to the specifications. Often there are problems with delivery, with damage, and with the product quality. This is the greatest reason to use a manufacturer who can work with your needs in a timely manner, even when there are last minute changes in materials or other specifications. When time and quality are of the essence, better to speak a common language to be able to explain the deadline.
Custom manufacture often requires sophisticated labor skills that take years to develop. Having an experienced work force is a critical factor for short run production because the products must to properly designed and constructed with very little error. In a mass production situation, the learning process might produce several hundred products that are not of the best quality – some of those products may still make their way into your shipment, even though they could be flawed.
A smaller production run in an experienced factory must be able to product the highest quality of product very quickly in order to keep their manufacturing losses to an acceptable level. Once your order is shipped to you, if there are any problems with the parts, you can immediately begin to work with the manufacturer to correct any problems. It is a usual practice to ship a sample to the customer to sign off on before the entire production run is completed.
Materials and labor can be much cheaper outside of the USA. This has persuaded many companies to close their American manufacturing facilities and to start production relationships with companies in countries which offer lower employee costs and material costs.
As a manufacturer, one has to be sure that the materials that are used for the products are both of a sufficient quality and can be reliably duplicated in a foreign manufacturing plant. Unreliability of the quality and “same-ness” of the raw materials can cause tremendous problems when the products are distributed. For instance, if a fabric is to be dyed before construction of a garment, but the quality of each dye run is not consistent, manufacturing the garment will not be a smooth process. This example can be applied to many different raw products: metals, fabrics, glass, food stuffs, and hardware to name a few.
An China manufacturing agent is committed to keeping workers working, to giving customers consistent high quality products that conform to their specifications, at a reasonable price. These commitments make sense in a company that typically manufactures custom goods in small or short runs.