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Do you know what to consider when selecting a manufacturer?

Hint: It comes down to much more than price!

Finding a manufacturer capable of executing your design idea is just the tip of the iceberg.

Ensuring the design idea can be turned into scalable production is an important aspect of the manufacturing selection process.

In order to assume a successful outcome and relationship with your potential partner, consider these factors:

1. Resource Availability

Securing a contract manufacturer with the proper capabilities, expertise, and resources are imperative factors of discussion prior to commitment. Is the manufacturer able to utilize their capabilities to execute your design? Meet the quantity needed? Offer satisfactory lead time? Do they have skilled and trained staff in place?

In addition, the more value-added services offered such as design support, material manufacturing, or material selection assistance, the greater opportunity to consolidate your suppliers. Does the company have strong relationships with material suppliers? In some cases, these long-standing relationships can lead to alternate material options to save on lead time or cost. The well-established relationships can contribute to a reliable supply chain, high quality products, and protect the integrity of your products.

A vertically integrated business model is another line item to place on a “desired list” for your next manufacturer. A business with structured vertical integration and the ability to handle your needs from design to full production all in one location results in improved supply chain management of material control, manufacturing stability, minimized risks, reduced complexity, and benefits lead time. These variables are likely to not only save time, but also plenty of headaches too.

2. Quality Management Systems and Certifications

Your manufacturer should not only have quality standard policies in place in their manufacturing process, but constantly audit and continually improve these policies.

What certifications has the company obtained? Do they have a designated individual in charge of their QMS? Do they perform internal audits? Customer audits? Certification audits?

Your manufacturer should have a quality management system in place to satisfy and exceed your manufacturing requirements. Does the manufacturer have a quality and regulatory manager who can discuss certificates, traceability, inventory management, quarantine, and shipping? A strict quality management system merits reliable manufacturing, consistency, and timely delivery.

It’s imperative the manufacturer demonstrates a commitment to safety and quality throughout the entire process. Make sure the supplier has an established process and clear procedures in place. All records should be easily accessible for all in the organization, detailed, organized, dated with revisions, and controlled in the same saved location.

Ensuring the information is kept confidential to keep your project between the parties is secured by signing a confidentiality agreement. After spending valuable time and resources formulating a product idea, you want to ensure information shared is secure and confidential. This is complete by signing a confidentiality agreement.

In conjunction, this leads to security measures. Does the company have a dedicated IT department? Are their consistent back up procedures in place? How often? What security measures are in place for digital information?

3. Keep the Long Term in Mind

Is the company able to scale up or down to meet your growing projections?

A contract manufacturer offering scalable production capabilities to meet growing demand is a long-term consideration for your partnership. Supporting your project from prototype all the way through to full-scale manufacturing allows precise traceability of each step of the production process.

Do they currently have a global reach? Production flexibility?

Points often overlooked or not considered when selecting a manufacturing partner are innovation, continual improvement efforts, and training advancement. With technological advancements frequently occurring, it’s beneficial to have an understanding of the manufacturer’s initiatives and desires of actively seeking new innovations. It doesn’t just stop at discovering innovations. What plans are in place when new technology, innovations, or equipment are needed? What type of training(s) are offered to the staff to ensure they’re well equipped in operating, executing, and creating consistent output?

4. Experience In Your Industry

Selecting a manufacturer with proven expertise specific to your industry is important. Oftentimes, a company having knowledge of the industry will already have experience and an appreciation for industry specific pain points. This familiarity can lead to solutions for even the most complex projects.

5. Location

A manufacturer with an accessible location in relation to prime logistics hubs is essential. A location with ease of receiving deliveries and sending out shipments on a regular basis ensures a reliable supply chain for production and shipment of your goods. A dedicated and qualified shipping department with a strong relationship with various carriers is something to consider too.

Bonus Characteristic


While a manufacturer having a servant’s heart won’t impact your orders, it’s always a great feeling knowing your business is going to a company willing to aid good causes. Some examples, PLITEK® extends its time and resources to support Special Olympics, Wounded Warriors, Hero Flights, and making a veteran’s dream a reality.

Discover PLITEK®

PLITEK® is a vertically integrated manufacturer with a global reach located near Chicago, a top logistics and manufacturing hub. Our vast converting capabilities allow us to process a variety of materials and complex part geometries from prototype to full production. Innovative manufacturing capabilities, proven expertise, consistency, added value services, and strict quality standards keeps PLITEK® a continual leader in manufacturing of die cut parts and converted materials for numerous industries.

Quality and innovation have always been driving forces for PLITEK®. We maintain a robust Quality Management System and are certified to ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 13485:2016 standards and is FDA, cGMP, and ITAR compliant. Most importantly to keeping current with certifications, many internal and third-party audits are performed to ensure consistency. 

Having an expert manufacturer with a well-established vertical integration will provide an impressive value to your project. Imagine the vast benefits of having a supplier with a wide range of capabilities and services on your team. PLITEK®’s capabilities include: precision die cutting, laser cutting, clean room film extrusion, slitting & rewinding, multi-layer laminating, adhesive coating, custom release liners, packaging & fulfillment, design support, material selection assistance, prototyping, clean room manufacturing, packaging, and a grand understanding of materials.

PLITEK® is an ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 13485:2016 certified global converting leader.

We look forward to working with you. To learn more contact