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Futureworks Incubator
August 31, 2017

Video & 7 Lessons from Connecting to Manufacturers Workshop at A/D/O

Futureworks Incubator’s Connecting to Manufacturers Workshop at A/D/O from SecondMuse on Vimeo.

Futureworks Incubator’s recent workshop at A/D/O in Greenpoint focused on connecting to manufacturers, brokering deals and negotiating pricing. The Connecting to Manufacturing discussion was led by Voodoo Manufacturing Cofounder Jonathan Schwartz, Boyce Technologies’ Tom Powell, RockPaperRobot Founder Jessica Banks, PENSA Cofounder Marco Perry, PlayDate Founder Kevin Li and NYCEDC’s Stacey Weismiller.

One gem in particular: Work with manufacturers who are transparent about their limitations, lead times and production costs.

We’ve shared the most important takeaways here, a video of the workshop as well as photos from the event. A big thank you to our facilitators and to A/D/O’s Ben Scheim. Futureworks Incubator is an NYCEDC initiative that’s designed and run by collaboration agency SecondMuse. Sign up for future workshops here, and join Futureworks on Instagram and Twitter.

Seven lessons on connecting to manufacturers

  1. Always know who the point person will be for quality assurance, and always have one person who is overseeing each step of the production process. This will make it easier to troubleshoot when things inevitably break down. – Marco Perry
  2. Consider your supply chain early in the design process. Design your product knowing who will be able to own each step of production, and what their lead times will be. This will make operations strategy and troubleshooting easier in the long run – Kevin Li
  3. Work with manufacturers who are willing to be transparent about their limitations, lead times, and production costs. You also want someone who is accessible, who can be reached during an emergency – Jessica Banks
  4. Be resourceful when searching for suppliers. When I would visit manufacturers, I used to write down and Google the names of the suppliers whose vehicles were in the parking lot. Flip a chair (or any other object) upside down, and often you’ll learn who made it – Stacey Weismiller
  5. Find a manufacturer whose’ production capabilities best fit your product design, but also be willing to adapt your design to the production capabilities of the manufacturer. Good partnership with a manufacturer begins with flexibility and proactive problem solving. – Tom Powell
  6. A sign of a good manufacturing partner is when they ask many thoughtful questions. This demonstrates that they understand and are interested in what you are trying to accomplish. Many manufacturers will over promise, telling you what you want to hear – Jonathan Schwartz
  7. Someone that is pushing towards a product and towards success looks better to manufacturers than someone with their hand out. – Tom

Favorite Resources:
Trade Shows
Society for Mechanical Engineers
Fab Tech
MD&M East

Supplier Sourcing
Makers Row

Large Suppliers

Customs Data
Import Genius

Finding Manufacturers
How to Find a Factory to Manufacture Your Product (with quote from Marco Perry!)

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