Contract manufacturing is known as out-sourcing of custom manufacturing service. It’s widely used by many product development companies or established brands who don’t want to invest facility and workers on product manufacturing. So contract manufacturing would be best choice.
Even though contract manufacturing is a very common terminology of product manufacturing, however few of us know how exact a contract manufacturer runs a project. Here below we would like to share the five important processes of contract manufacturing production.
Confirm product specification and request with client
Prior to a mass production, it’s very important to confirm every product specification and request between contract manufacturer and its client. Even though the company(client) might had released some document(drawing, BOM, samples…) to their contract manufacturing partner. However most of products have to be optimized for many different reversions. So the product manufacturing process, product structure, material, color, finish, etc must be confirmed before we move a product into mass production. If not, there will result in mistake or misunderstanding.
Production(or out-soucing) of components.
Once the production order is confirmed, we need to get all of components(like plastic parts, metal parts, electronic parts) manufactured or out-sourced, meanwhile, some standard parts(screw, spring, packaging material…) can be bought parallelly.
Most of contract manufacturer has their own injection molding shop where can directly produce plastic molded parts in-house. However some of them don’t have it, so they have to order plastic parts from another plastic parts manufacturer. Personally we suggest to find a contract manufacturer who has their own mold tooling and injection molding shop in house, as it’s easy to control product quality as well as lead-time.
However, few of contract manufacturers have facilitated with all of manufacturing shop including metal parts and electronic parts manufacturing. But electronic production line is very commonly equipped for many contract manufacturers.
Components Quality Inspection
When all of material or components are collected in the warehouse, the contract manufacturer must get all of them inspected and qualified before moving forward for mass production. Normally, QC staff would check out dimension, appearance, and fitting test. This is to avoid mistakes and minimize defective rate while mass production. If any deviation found during the inspection process, we can quickly take re-work or replace process for those components.
Manufacturing process control is the most vital step while contract manufacturing a product. Most of time a hiring company(the client of contract manufacturer) would not able to send some QC to the manufacturing site of contract manufacturer. So the contract manufacturing company must take quality control for their manufacturing process. On the other hand, different level of contract manufacturers provide totally different quality standard. For instance, a small manufacturing company with few workers can never take strict quality control, a medium size of contract manufacturing company can also not be able to provide systematic quality control like a large manufacturer(like Foxcomn, Flextronics, Jabil, etc).
During the production process, all of workers and QC should be well-trained so that they understand customer’s requirement and quality criteria. And IPQC should check out each workstation every minutes. Final QC should check out finished products by QAL quality standard.
Packaging and Logistics
You may think the packaging is not as important as other process. Actually you are totally wrong. At opposite, product packaging is one of the most important process of contract manufacturing. If you directly ship the goods to your customer, the packaging style or quality will directly affect the customer feeling, meanwhile, a poor packaging could not pass a drop test, and the product could be destroyed easily while transportation. At this time, the hiring company and contract manufacturer must communicate the packaging clearly while production.
There are lots of choice for contract manufacturers to ship the goods to their client. You might choose ocean shipping, airline shipping, or railway shipping. And different logistic way offers different transportation time, cost, as well as different rate of import tax. Normally a light goods can be shipped by air shipping, but large size or heavy goods should be shipped by ocean shipping as its shipping cost is much cheaper than air shipping or railway shipping.