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How to find the best manufacturer in 10 steps?


10 steps to find the world’s best factory.

Finding the best factory is a key step towards becoming a leader in your segment – both in quality and price. In this article I will list ten key indicators that let you differentiate between middlemen, low quality manufacturers, traders and the single world’s best factory of your product. If you follow these ten points closely, you will find the world’s best factory for your product.

Chinese Factory Sample Room

How to start your search for the best factory?

Inserting your required product into the search field of Listthe.com.
You will see your product's major suppliers and their data. Now use the following ten steps to determine the best factory:

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10 key points to determine the best manufacturer among Listthe's search results.
10 steps to find the best manufacturer.

01

Choose manufacturers of great brands.

You will want to use factories that supply large re-known quality brands. Large brands with a strong quality image put a lot of time and effort into finding the world’s best manufacturer. Choosing their suppliers is like having their sourcing department work for you. My experience has shown that factories of high quality brands stick closest to their clients’ production requirements and are the most reliable manufacturers all together.

02

The more clients, the better.

You want your manufacturer to have many different customers. Some factories only supply one or two multinational corporations, which fill all of their production lines. Having many customers, means that the factory will very likely also accept your order and offer a reasonable price.

03

Stay away from factories with no re-orders!

Make sure the factory's clients have re-ordered multiple times over a time span of multiple years. Re-orders over a long span of time are one of the best signs for fair prices, high quality and high reliability.

04

Follow your country's peers.

Make sure the factory targets a country with comparable quality standards to your own. A factory with German clients is likely to meet European quality requirements, but unlikely to meet Indian target prices.

05

Check your factory's track record.

You want your factory to have a track record of multiple years. Some businesses quickly rise, fall and disappear with the last customers' payments. Don't take that chance.

06

Good factories stay focused.

You want your factory to fully focus on your required product. The wider the variety of products, the smaller the product knowledge. However to produce a leading edge product, a factory must know its product in depth.

07

Don't be fooled by fancy websites.

Stay away from factories that spend a lot of money on marketing. Fancy websites and great online profiles are a sign of struggling to survive. Factories make websites to target small companies, if they can’t get enough big clients. This means, the big companies found a better factory. Go find it too!


Chinese Factory Front
A South American client hired Listthe to inspect Samil Hanoi Vina in Vietnam. Samil Hanoi Vina is one of the world's largest and most high quality skate shoe manufacturers. Like most of the best factories, they do not have a website.

08

If they don't speak English, they don't know your country's quality requirements.

"The cheapest Asian factories don’t speak English." That's often true. These factories focus on their local market and on low quality products. If their quality was good enough to be sold abroad - they would hire English speaking staff.

However, there are exemptions. Some none-English speaking factories work with international traders to outsource the sales-communication and to be guided through international quality requirements.

This is one of the rare cases, where working with a trader and a none-English speaking factory can be your best option.
Great examples are Nantong Goldenbell Fitness Equipment and Jinan Emerson Skateboard Trucks. Both work as intermediaries making sure, that your quality requirements are met by factories with little international experience.

09

If a factory has difficulties understanding clear product requirements. Don't explain, Leave.

Choose a factory that understands all requirements and gives clear answers. If a factory has difficulties giving clear answers, chances are, they don't understand you. You don't want someone, who doesn't understand you, to run your production!

10

Go after production hubs.

Great factories are often located in product-specific production hubs. Dumbbells are manufactured in eastern China, around Nantong. Skateboards come from Guangdong. These hubs often enable synergies making every factory better. However, this is merely an indication, not a rule. There are many great factories outside of production hubs.


Which data source shall I use to search for factories?

It is most important to base your research on unbiased sources of information. The most commonly used source of information, is also the most biased source of information. It is information provided by the supplier himself. Traditional 'Factory-sign-up-profiles' which are widely spread on the internet, are biased in two ways: 1. the ranking is based on how much a supplier pays to the platform host. 2. The data provided on a supplier’s profile was written by the supplier himself. The best way around this problem is independent 3rd party data. For factory data, this means Listthe.


Why not take any supplier, that offers to arrange my production?

Finding the best manufacturer is important if you want to have high quality products, low production prices, financial safety and satisfied clients that suggest your product to their friends and colleagues.
The best manufacturers have years of production- and product know how, which leads to an on-going high quality. Each step of the production is perfectly planned and closely watched, leading to products which are perfect down to the detail.

In contrast, generic factories often increase production speed to become price competitive to their specialized peers. This leads to a lower quality and a high number of production rejects. Not only will buyers not recommend your product, they can even get injured by using faulty products. As importer and brand owner you are liable for these injuries.
The factory you want to find, produces the newest inventions for the world’s leading brands. On the long term your company will be granted access to these innovations, if you stick to the right factory.

Chinese Factory Front

What should I know before contacting the best factories?

The best factories put all their time and effort into manufacturing. This means, that they do not invest time in marketing. The don’t set up websites or factory profiles. They don’t consult brand owners on what they should produce.

The best factories’ goal is to manufacture with the least amount of distraction. Advertising and emails are considered a distraction. Often you will only find large high quality brands working with these factories, because their production-vs-talking-ratio is the highest. This is the kind of factory you will want to work with!

The other 99% of suppliers are mostly middlemen who trade the best factories’ products, factories that lower their quality to stay competitive, and newcomers that have not yet reached a comparable economy of scale.

The best factories only work with the best brands. You don’t yet have to be big, but factories have to believe that you will be soon. Factories determine your chance of becoming a leader based on the professionalism of your communication and order management. Your production inquiry has to be clear, concise and complete starting from the first e-mail. You have to be clear on what you want to produce.

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