I spoke in my last Blog that our next Journey would be on the manufacturing process of our All-Season Heated Chair. We use two manufacturing companies, both of which are in China. One is our heating system manufacturer; including, the batteries and chargers. The second gathers all the raw materials and builds the final outdoor heated chair.
When communicating to international manufacturers, you have cultural and language challenges to overcome. We were fortunate with the manufacturer that was assembling our outdoor heated chair that we had an established relationship with one of their Managing Directors. He is from St. Louis. We were also able to meet his partner and other Managing Director when she made a trip to the States. However, most of the time we were communicating via email with a Project Manager. In order to communicate our product specifications, we sent Specification Documents, Scope of Works, photos and sometimes video. We used the same communication methods with both manufacturers. Patience and illustration (visual) are vital to effectively communicating your ideas, plans, etc. We had 3 samples developed and shipped to us before we arrived to the final sample and ultimate outdoor heated chair.
I recommend getting a Mentor/Coach or Product Designer to get involved at some point to review your details-final product and quality. When you are so close to a product, you might overlook details like hanging tags, fabric tags, quality stitching, packaging (shipping and in-store), etc. If you are working with manufacturers you do not know, you will want to interview and hire a 3rd party Quality Assurance person to investigate your manufacturer. Please make sure they send you video!! This is not as expensive as you may think. Please be careful that someone does not take advantage of you.
Manufacturing was one of our biggest learning curves and challenges. We stayed strong, patient and persistent to get the quality product, All-Season Heated Chair, we wanted. The next learning curve and extreme challenge of product development is Logistics. What is a freight forwarder, duty fees, FOB, LCL, etc????? Check out our next Chaheati Journey Blog-Logistics-Shipping of the Heated Outdoor Chair.