Mert Bulut (Founder @ Mezz Solutions: Product Maker, China Supply Chain Expert) Sourcing, Product Developing, Electronics

Lives in Shenzhen, China. Provides supply chain solutions, sourcing, manufacturing, product and project management. Helps customers to manufacture mobile accessories, consumer electronics, audio, WiFi, IOT, smart, connected products. Founder and CEO at Mezz Solutions.

Recent Answers

As you are developing the gym bag, I assume you already have the expertise on the material selection, design elements, quality expectation.

For manufacturer selection, 3 things are important.
1- Quality. How do they control their quality in mass production? What is their general approach? To save the day or continuously improvement?
2- Pricing as usual.
3- If they are really know what they are doing? Are they only manufacturing products or also designing/developing? For how long are they doing the business and how capable are they? This will help you to speed up your project, they can help you to solve the problems from the beginning. In design stage, prototype, manufacturing. They will also help with material selection as they have long time experience.

Let me know if you have any further questions. I am happy to help.

Many times, I have been doing this for over 10 years and became a part of my life, not only a job.

I will mention the milestones as below.

1- Validate your product idea. Use surveys, just talk with your friends, the people around you. Collect some data on your potential customers' wishes. What kind of design, material, quality, function, etc. they would expect from your idea. Because when you have the idea, you usually see the good sides of it and skip validating your idea with your market. After you launch your product, you start to get feedback from your customers and you realize that some of these issues can be solved at the very beginning you just missed it!

1- Make the industrial design. 2D and 3D drawings are necessary at this point.

2- Make a prototype, via 3D printers it became so convenient these days to have a simple, fast prototype. If you are not familiar with this, I am sure someone around your friends can help you. Or you can use professional services, if you search by Google, you will find plenty of companies around you.

3- After you finish the prototype, check if it really meets your product requirements. Cross check with your friends, people around you, collect their feedback, take notes for necessary improvement points.

4- Based on all the improvements, create your updated 3D design and do the mechanical design so that your design can be manufactured in massive scale.

5- If there is no complex system, electronics in your system, just a regular contract manufacturer service will do your job.

6- You can find your own tooling supplier for creating the plastic and metal parts or your contract manufacturer can use their own tooling partners.

7- Final assembly will be done in your assigned contract manufacturer. And better you perform a quality check/outgoing product inspection for your final product. So that you won't have any bad surprise when you receive your goods.

Let me know if you have any more questions, need any support, I am happy to help with all the stages I mentioned above.

There are 2 ways you can proceed.

1- Keeping the same supplier but improving the process.
2- Changing the supplier

The first choice and the most feasible way is to proceed with option 1 above. I assume you are far away from the supplier so it is not easy to visit the supplier anytime. Probably all the warnings, phone calls, e-mails aren't effective to change this kind of an attitude either. In this case, you can hire a local company or person to be your front face and run the project on behalf of you. Visiting your supplier regularly, giving more pressure and solving the problems and getting answers at the site directly.

And the worst case, even this may not work. If they are not willing to do the things you request, not willing to improve, then they really don't care about the business. Being in the manufacturing industry so long, there is one thing I learned that if the supplier is really not willing to do something after all the trials, efforts you make, just stop wasting time on it and move on to another one which can fit you better.

One important question here, does the design belong to them or you? If it is your design, you should get this design and move to another manufacturer. If the design belongs to your manufacturer, for sure they won't give it to you. But they are also not willing to improve your business and communications. Then do let them kill your business. Do your own design and choose your own manufacturer who is really more professional, willing to work with you.

Either way, make a change asap, don't wait for your business to be affected.

Let me know if you have any further questions, we can hop on a call. I am happy to help.

First of all, you should have agreed on the minimum order quantity (MOQ) in the very beginning of the project. No matter what the product is, 100.000 for MOQ is too much and not reasonable.
1- Find alternative factories who can accept lower quantity and try to get even lower price than your original factory.
2- After you found the alternative (you don't need to validate samples yet, don't lose time), use this info on your current factory to leverage. Tell honestly that if your factory cannot support you on the quantity, you will move to the other factory.
3- If your factory is really caring about your business, he will listen to you.
4- If not, just approve the samples from the other factory and move on. Don't get into any financial trouble because of this factory. They are not the only factory producing this product in whole China.
Hope this info helps and let me know if I can support you further. I am in Shenzhen for 8 years and very familiar with the environment here.

Best Regards,

I have been in the electronics industry for 12+ years and 8 years in China directly handling the supply chain. I gained great expertise for each step from A to Z during product design, testing and supply chain control Even the good factories may face quality issues if you don't treat well. You can start taking actions with below questions.
1- What are the return reasons? Design related, transportation or manufacturing related? Classifying the defects from the field will help you to analyze the problem faster. Assuming here the problem is related to your manufacturer so
2- If the outgoing inspection is done by the manufacturer only, you need to add a 3rd party inspection control before shipment. If you don't have your inspection team, you can find a professional 3rd party inspection service.
3- You need to increase the inspection standard and make it tighter. I believe BS6001 standard, sampling level 2, AQL Critical: 0, Major: 0.4, Minor: 1.5 can work for you. Applying these 3 parts will help you to minimize the defected products in the field. But this is not enough. You need to solve the problem from the beginning that it won't happen again
4- For each defected unit ask an 8D report from the factory. Push them to dive into the root cause of the problems in their facility.
5- Using a professional 3rd party service apply a process audit to the factory. You need to understand where are the risky parts not only in in their manufacturing line but also in their overall operation.
6- If you are seeing any material problems, dive into the their Incoming Quality Control department. Any defected material released from IQC to the production line is a bomb waiting for exploding. You need to make sure that IQC is doing their job properly. If needed you can ask them to increase their incoming quality inspection standards. Don't forget that the more problems you fix in the early stage and fix, you will have a more reliable product and you will be more relaxed afterwards.
7- If the factory is receiving any defected materials from their own suppliers, then you may need to apply even a sub-supplier audit. All these actions can be taken easily if your factory is cooperative. If not,
8- Change your supplier and work with a more responsible factory.
These 8 items would be my main and basic control check points. If you have any questions, I more than happy to help.

It is difficult to make risk-free shipments for the battery of the products. But you can minimize the risk. The most effective way is to start working with a reliable battery cell in your product. This will solve most of your problems.
Moreover, pay attention to work with a factory which has enough equipment to test batteries. Not only outlook and function check but also a comprehensive life cycle and safety test with a strict AQL. Make sure that their incoming quality control team is doing the process regularly for each lot. Ask your factory to provide these IQC reports to you. If you have a chance, go and check in person, or do it via a 3rd party company.
Besides this, in the outgoing inspection process, you can repeat these life cycle and safety tests based on an agreed sampling qty. This will help you to verify that the IQC of the factory is doing their job.
Another suggestion, please make sure that your batteries have date codes on it and do not let your factory to use more than 3 months old battery. Considering the production and transportation time, when your customer receives the products, your battery will be probably 6 months old already. Usually the brands give 6 months guarantee to the end customer to replace their batteries which in total accumulates to 1 year from the production of the battery to the customers' 6 months usage time. This is usually the warranty that the battery suppliers.
There are also proven design requirements for the batteries. If needed, I would like to help with further information.


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