As we know, plastic parts is used for nearly every products that we developed today. You can get it manufactured local or via China OEM manufacturers. However it’s not easy to find a right OEM manufacturing partner in China, as there are tons of plastic components manufacturers, broker, or sourcing companies. If you are new to source plastic parts in China, please just read our articles below, and you will benefit lots of knowledge and skills that you might need.

You’re sure that you can get your needs fulfilled in China, more cheaply, more quickly and at good quality. The perfect tripod – low cost, high quality, low price. Normally you only get to choose two of these, the third takes dedication and focus and will only result from close partnership with your suppliers.

So now comes the part that looks scary – but in reality it is just a sequence of tasks.

How best to eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Finding and managing supply chain can seem hard, especially when you don’t speak the language and you’re starting from zero – so read our guide; we aim to demystify the process and show you how to eat the elephant.

The truth is, it can be hard – and many people make it hard for themselves by making unwise and confused decisions and by communicating poorly. Building relationships takes time and a modicum of care – and it may require compromise and some cost. But you’re investing – making your product better/cheaper/faster and return on that investment, while not guaranteed, is there to be had.

Just remember the first rule of business; TANSTAAFL.

There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

Achieving that happy state – with a quality product, on time, on budget, in your hands – requires that you follow a few simple rules. And they’re really no different from the rules you already operate under, if your business is more than an idea.

Audit and understand the suppliers – don’t take the first offer as if there’s a drought – even if you’re thirsty. Everyone wants good customers – so it’s ok to make suppliers work for your attention – though not resorting to being mean and ornery usually gets better results.

Communicate clearly – set high expectations, as you would in any deal and push to enforce them. When information is needed, provide it in a usable form, quickly.

Build relationships – if your contact sees you as a valuable property as well as a good person, most will react well. Where you can, tell them your story and hear theirs. Be careful not to over promise, and be wary of that from others.

Where do you start?

The hardest part is developing reliable networks – and you will not get this right every time. But by following some simple, best practice approaches, you will be able to achieve excellent results at modest prices, with shorter timetables and great quality outcomes.

Use your networks – you already know someone who knows someone.

Use Alibaba.com.

Use Made-In-China.com

These two sites need you to set up accounts for effective use, they have clunky interfaces and awkward messaging – but both are invaluable tools. They put you in touch with a wide network of suppliers – and both organisations filter and review their advertisers, so your risks are immediately lower.

Use RFQ’s, structured within these (and similar) sites – careful wording and good supporting documents right at the start will get things moving along nicely – and you’ll mostly get replies from suppliers who can handle the language barrier.

Offer a single point of contact – don’t let the communications become tangled and messy.

Business English in China is startlingly good – which can lull you into overconfidence, so take care to be really clear. When a supplier says they understand, ask them to explain. When they say “yes” they likely mean yes – but when they say “yes yes yes”, maybe explain again!

Be prepared to handle a LOT of responses, because you’re addressing a BIG sector in China – whatever it is you’re trying to source! Chat with the sales person, be responsive and they’ll really want to help you. Remember that the person you are talking to is generally experienced in their field and there to win you business by serving your needs. It’s rare to meet deception about the ability to serve – once the foolish have self excluded by failing to

Validate pricing – prototypes, services, tooling and parts

As with any business transaction, price matters. You’re trying to build a product – if it costs too much, it’ll fail. Get tooling and component pricing from your local supply chain, or use your past experience to estimate – price is not the only factor, but it IS the only factor if it’s too high.

You’re looking to OEM MANUFACTURERS your needs in China, price must be a big driver so it helps a lot to have set your expectations.

Having 3+ suppliers in your ‘stable’ will help with this. But remember, serial quotations without buying can really aggravate these would-be partners, so tread carefully and – where you can – spread work out and give encouraging feedback to anyone you don’t select. Extra allies can be a Godsend, when the proverbial hits the fan.

Even better, if those 3 suppliers can be not too far apart. You may be able to work remotely with them – but you’ll get a much better experience if you can go see their plant, encourage their pride, eat dinner with them and strengthen ties.

If you don’t yet have the certainty of prototypes for a final design test, you may get these made through the OEM MANUFACTURERS you select – or direct from a prototyping agency. Rapid prototyping can save you from disasters – and it can be a high cost and take a lot of time. If your design process included this stage, you do NOT need to be pushed into doing it again – but please please do not cut metal WITHOUT this.

Be aware of taxation issues relating to special economic zone borders. Don’t pay hidden taxes.

Assess based on tooling capability

There’s a balance to be struck between tooling quality and durability. Moulders have their preferred tooling suppliers. You should look at examples – generally they’ll be happy to show off their quality. And if they’re not, that should ring alarm bells.

If you can, get a tooling engineer you already trust to assess their work.

Tool quality matters a LOT when you expect volume to be high. If you think you’ll eventually need 10 million parts, don’t try to tool for that too early –  build tools for the volume you need soon – and try to maintain flexibility

Assess based on materials/process knowledge and quality

Not all OEM manufacturers are the same. Try to understand their skills and experience, their materials, processing and assembly knowledge and their flexibility in guiding you (and in being guided by you, if you know your stuff).

You can reduce the number of respondents, filtering to fit your needs. The factors to consider when deciding between offers are often unique to each part or assembly – but there are general rules too.

If your volumes are high, does the supplier have the right tooling experience and moulding capacity?

If your volumes are low, are you too small for the supplier?

Can the OEM MANUFACTURERS assemble your product to a high standard? Can they handle preparing work instructions? Packaging? Kanban systems? Purchased parts supply chain?

If your materials or process needs are out of the ordinary, is the supplier appropriately experienced and confident?

Can the OEM MANUFACTURERS ship you some work samples? This can have a big impact on your confidence and understanding. They’ll usually be proud of their best work and they’ll want to show it to you – but you’ll have to pay the cost of freight.

Does the OEM MANUFACTURERS offer you design guidance? They’ve an interest in making their lives easier and your parts better, so the better suppliers offer thoughts about design changes. Be open to this, if their expertise seems good – but don’t make changes just because they ask – you know your product best.

Schedule and quality delays hurt badly. Make your deadlines clear – and hold to them. Police the planning, so you know in advance when your slack is likely to be challenged.

Evaluate by standards and certifications

You must make sure, early on, that you choose a OEM supplier that offers the quality standards that your business requires.

Does your end product have to comply with certifications and standards? Are there restrictions in supply chain qualification – common in military, medical, avionics and other areas?

Most Chinese OEM plastics companies will not be able to serve in these more restricted roles – but plenty will. Be clear about this in your RFQ from the start and respondents will mostly self exclude.

Do they operate to a properly policed quality system? Many will claim it, some will actually live it, this may be important to you and it may not.

Shortlist made, what’s next?

With what appear to be good quality quotes from several suppliers, you face the toughest moment – commit to an order.

If budget and scale allow it, you SHOULD visit. The suppliers will welcome you and fall over themselves to help. And nothing offers more confidence than your presence – showing commitment.

If your project is small for that cost, can you source an independent auditor/QA to stand in for you? This is a low cost exercise and it can be invaluable.

Payment – negotiate your terms, do not give ground on this – 3 or 4 payments at milestones pre-agreed offers both parties security. Getting money into China isn’t easy, so look for suppliers who work through an HK partner/subsidiary.

Up to now, you should have some basic idea and skills on how to source your plastic parts from Chinese OEM manufacturers, right? If you still have some query or request, you can contact Innowelltech team to help you out. Our experienced and profound team will definitely provide you best OEM service. We are looking forward to hearing from you.