Updated: Aug 4, 2021
Hope you had a great weekend!
Thanks for sticking with me as I explore common R&D questions. Today we're wrapping up with a few tricks to find manufacturing vendors for development.
How to find good vendors? Here's a few methods that have worked for me:
Use a vendor portal like Thomasnet.com to find vendors.
Send mass RFI with their free account. Ask questions, and get mfg feedback from vendors.
Use an RFQ tool like MFG.com
Send mass-RFQ to many vendors at once. Pro-tip: Ask for referrals.
Interview diligently before awarding a PO.
Use a digital online manufacturing platform.
This works great for sourcing low-mid volume. High volume should still be with a high-volume manufacturing partner.
Xometry.com is an online digital manufacturing portal that matches parts to capable/reliable manufacturing companies.
Protolabs.com is another online digital manufacturing portal that specializes in quick-turn injection molding, CNC machining, additive manufacturing, and sheet metal. They have a good network of vendors.
Quality control (customer suppport) is handled by the platform, which can make direct mfg feedback more difficult.
I think of these as the 'McMaster Carr' of manufacturing. After I validate the manufacturing method, I'll go find someone that specializes to optimize cost.
Find a contract manufacturer that can source all the components, packaging, etc.
CM are necessary if you're not going to do assembly in-house. CM typically have good manufacturing partnerships, some even provide services in-house.
Hope this helps you in finding good vendors for your next project. Call me if you need help finding someone for your project.
Make it a great week!