The Manufacturing Process

When it comes to manufacturing in china, we are the experts. Manufacturing smart technology in China can be very complex and overwhelming. China Connect makes the process simple and transparent, so you can focus on what you do best.

Your Complete China Electronics Manufacturing Service Solution.

China Connect is the complete solution for manufacturing your smart tech, A.I. and Robotics based products in China. Through our extensive relationships and supplier network, we provide bespoke end-to-end solutions for your business.

Step 1 – Gathering Client Samples

The first step in creating a production ready sample of your product is to gather samples from you. This is a crucial step as it sets the benchmark against which we measure what your Chinese supplier’s produce. It’s important, even if the sample does not fully represent the result you are looking for. When manufacturing consumer smart technology, these samples become even more important, because of the complicated nature of their design.

Typically, we will send out a few samples to each supplier we are considering, prior to our face to face visits (Step 3). We will also keep one in our Australia HQ and another in our main office in China. These samples make it much easier when we are communicating with suppliers, and provide reference points when we are discussing specific aspects of your products such as colour, texture, finishing, and functions.

Step 2 – Searching For Your New Suppliers

We probably don’t need to say it, but there are a lot of suppliers in China. A LOT. And many will not meet your standards. Which is why it’s easier if we search for you.

Initially, we will search our existing network and then online in China using a Chinese search engine rather than an English one (such as Google) which provides much better results. Once we’ve identified a selection of approximately 10 – 20 suppliers for each component, we will contact them through WeChat and QQ, two of the largest chat platforms in the world. Most Chinese suppliers will use these platforms to communicate. We use it daily.

When we’ve established that a supplier is worth pursuing further, we will initiate email conversations and phone calls to discuss broad features of your product without disclosing your intellectual property. We will indicate that we want to send them an NNN agreement to protect your IP before discussing further. Once we have an agreement in place, we will pursue further detailed discussions with more specific specification and product drawings, etc.

When vetting new suppliers, some of the things we are looking for on your behalf include:
Are they too small? This could mean they might lack experience, expertise, machinery, and robust processes and systems.
Are they too large? If they are too big, it could mean that your product may not be very high on their priority list, which could mean not getting good volume breaks and make it harder to get changes implemented quickly.
Are they actually a middleman? It is very common for companies to sell components and products others make. We want to deal directly with the factory that manufactures the component we are after.
Are they easy to work and communicate with?
As you can see, finding the best suppliers is not as easy as a web search and a phone call. We want your product to be successful, so we put a lot of energy into finding the best suppliers for you.

Step 3 – Initial Supplier Visits

Once we’ve identified some promising suppliers, we conduct site visits. This is where it’s important to know what you’re looking for, as most people can put on a good show. But seeing how their factory is set up reveals a lot. Things we look for include:

Inward goods – how do they count, store, and quality check incoming materials and componentry tells us a lot about their systems. For example, do they use a FIFO (first in, first out) approach? Is there risk of damage to their supplies?
Processing – we look at how efficient they are with their processing and how much waste it might create. We watch how they handle goods when moving from one process to the next to ensure how they will care for your product and their attention to detail.
Testing – We investigate whether they have the expertise to test in-house or whether products will need to be sent away to a third-party testing lab.
Packing – We want to know whether they will protect products in packing and if there is a risk of loss or something being missed.
Storage – While your product awaits shipping, we want to know the likelihood of something getting damaged or getting mixed up with someone else’s order.
Relationships – we observe how they treat us as a guide for how interested they are in your business. We also note how they treat their workers as this gives us an insight into staff turnover, which could lead to inconsistency in production.
By being on site, we gain an insight into your supplier that is not possible any other way. By asking the right questions and seeing how suppliers react and respond, we learn how organised they are and whether they are the right people to build an ongoing relationship with.
And all of this means that you can be confident that your suppliers are the best-fit for you and you can have confidence that your product is being treated with care.

Step 4 – Getting Quotes

Once we have identified some great potential Chinese suppliers, it’s time to get detailed quotes. This is only possible if we give the factory all your product details including samples, engineering CAD drawings, full specifications, and expected order volumes. Without these, suppliers will be reluctant to quote, or they may quote higher prices to cover unforeseen requirements.

However, we will protect you by ensuring that suppliers have signed a legally binding NNN agreement (Step 2). Once we have this in place, and the supplier has all the information they need, we get a minimum of three quotes from each supplier. This gives us a better idea of pricing range and we compare these to other supplier quotes to help with price matching and in negotiations.

Step 5 – Signing Final Suppliers

Once you’ve received your quotes and everyone’s happy with the prices, it’s time to lock your suppliers in to manufacturing by signing more IP protection agreements.

It’s important to remember that the legal system in China is quite different to the legal system in many Western countries. What would be protected in your country might not have the same protection in China. However, by ensuring we have contracts created properly for the Chinese court system and stamped tells suppliers we know what we’re doing and if there were any plans to take advantage of you, they likely will not sign the contract.

Step 6 – Prototype Production

Now that you have some great final suppliers all signed up, we are ready to get into producing a prototype. In this step, the suppliers will create their own samples based on what you have supplied.

Initial testing on this prototype will be required to highlight issues before tooling begins.

Step 7 – Tooling

This step is not required for all products. It can also be quite an expensive part of the process. Tooling involves things like making molds for plastic components or cast metals and constructing welding jigs and assembly jigs.

We ensure suppliers sign a Tooling Agreement before tooling begins to make sure you retain ownership of any molds in case these need to be moved to a different factory in the future. 

Step 8 – Off-Tool Production Ready Samples

This is an exciting step. It is where the suppliers create a sample exactly to the client’s specifications using all final parts. There is usually a bit of back-and-forth with this step if designs and tooling need to be refined and tweaked. This is often required to make sure parts fit together and function correctly, and that they pass real-use testing. Welding and assembly jigs will also possibly be adjusted to ensure production is consistent.

This step adds time and costs, but it is essential to prepare for production. Once the samples are correct, they are signed off by the supplier and the client and become the new benchmark against which production is measured.

Step 9 – Pilot Production Run

Now that you have a great looking sample, it’s time to jump into a pilot production run. This involves the supplier (and their suppliers) producing a smaller volume with all the correct components, jigs, assembly steps, packaging, packing methods, and quality checks. This gives them and us time to find any issues in the process and gives the suppliers time to teach their teams about the product and the process.

The intention is that suppliers will be doing exactly what they will be doing in a full production run. It’s important to note that the pilot run becomes much less effective if there are still components not being produced using the correct molds. For example, if CNC parts are still being used.
A pilot run is an important step for high-volume products. Creating working samples carries much less risk than creating the same product in much larger volumes, when consistency and quality are essential. There are much higher financial risks if a high-volume run goes wrong. This is why we do a pilot run: to practice all the processes and test all the components at higher volumes. 

Step 10 – Production & Quality Control on Your First Order

We’ve found suppliers. We’ve protected your IP and product through signing the right agreements. We’ve created molds and tools. A great sample has been created and we’ve completed a pilot run.
It’s now time to jump fully into producing your product! But because we’ve tested and checked and worked together, this is not a scary step. It is a similar process to the pilot production run except we are now at full scale and risks have been managed and reduced to a absolute minimum. Any feedback gathered through the pilot run will have been implemented by suppliers and we check that any agreed improvement points have been actioned prior to production commencing.

It’s time to push the button and go! It’s an exciting time.

Well, it’s been quite a journey. We said China Connect Manufacturing would be with our clients from the beginning to the end and we meant it. Now that you have products manufactured and ready for shipping, our work doesn’t stop.
Now it’s time to conduct further site visits and check your product for quality on the first shipment. We ensure that the product leaves China and arrives at your intended destination in perfect condition. If our suppliers are not set up for exporting, we use a trusted third-party export company.
By this time, we expect that China Connect Manufacturing has shown you our commitment to protecting your product and brand in China and that you are now fully confident in the process.

Ready to get your project started?