Stay Local: 5 Reasons to Choose a Domestic Manufacturer
When you’re considering where to manufacture your products, all roads seem to lead to Asia. While this seems like a common practice, it’s not always an easy one. We’re starting to see a trend towards locally sourced products. Having trouble figuring out where to go? Here are 5 reasons why you should consider going local.
Dealing with a team overseas can sometimes feel like you’re playing the Telephone Game. Differences in time zones, language barriers and long flights can all lead to a breakdown in communication which in turn leads to significant issues in getting the best quality product to consumers. All of this only further complicates navigating a different culture and finding a reliable source of production.
Manufacturing locally means clearer communication to your production team. Being able to have conversations face-to-face (or at least in the same time zone) means tweaking a design can be done in half the time and issues can be dealt with right away. You’ll have much more peace of mind when you’re positive your team knows exactly what your expectations are at all times.
Contrary to popular belief, just because labor costs are low in places like China, doesn’t necessarily mean overall production costs will be low as well. Quality versus quantity definitely comes into play here – would you rather produce at a larger capacity with an overall loss in quality, or produce at smaller quantities in order not to sacrifice quality? The latter is possible with domestic manufacturing due to several factors – no transportation costs cutting into your budget; smaller minimums domestic manufacturers; shorter lead times resulting in better cash flow.
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One of the main arguments against outsourcing is that expecting impeccable quality just isn’t always realistic. As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” The sad reality is that low cost services sometimes mean low quality. The ability to go straight to the source and catch any and all mistakes as they happen goes a long way towards maintaining a high standard as well. Things like certifications, registrations and continuously improving technology also mean brand owners going with can rest easy knowing they can take pride in their products.
A shorter supply chain means less disruptions and shorter lead times. Transportation issues, resource shortages and tragedies all affect your ability to receive product in order to sell to customers. Perhaps the best example of this comes from The Economist, “Zara, the main clothing brand of Inditex, a Spanish textile firm, is famous for making its high-fashion clothes in Spain itself and in nearby Portugal and Morocco. This costs more than it would in China, but a short, flexible supply chain allows the firm to respond quickly to changes in customer tastes. It sells the vast majority of its outfits at full price rather than at a discount. Its decision to stay close to home has become its main source of competitive advantage.”
With more and more news coming to light about some of the conditions faced overseas, companies and consumers alike are making it a point to stay local. Domestic manufacturing not only means keeping a close eye on the production process but ensuring that certain standards are met, such as paying livable wages and maintaining safe working environments.
Not only do companies have a responsibility to their fellow humans, but to the earth as well. Small scale production means less waste in our landfills (a common result of products made, in many cases, simply to meet overseas minimums) and an overall control over what materials are sourced where and keeping the process as sustainable as possible.
Ultimately, while it may seem like a hefty investment for a small business owner at first, in the long run, keeping it local is probably the best choice overall for both you and your customer’s satisfaction.