One of the most difficult things about manufacturing is that the most productive and cost effective ways of getting the job done frequently changes. From off-shore manufacturing to competitive bidding, established methods are failing because the market is saturated.
Regardless of the type of manufacturing you do, the best methods are usually universal. Contracting is gaining traction because of the benefits of shared knowledge. It requires time and patience to make a successful relationship with your partner but the rewards are well worth the time and energy you put into it.
Begin early with the partnership. As soon as you have a new design for your product or component, you should get the partner involved. While you are developing the product, you partner will be able to make suggestions on process improvements, specification reviews, and design changes that will save you money.
Collaborate on cost analysis. This means being open with your books but in the end, your goal and that of your partner are the same. By analyzing the cost data as a whole, you can find the best ways to save on production, from suppliers to shipping.
Make functional designs. This applies to both the amount of time it takes to make a product and how the product is made. Your contract manufacturer can help you find better, more efficient ways to produce a product. This starts with the design, so it needs to not only be clear what you need, but the purpose of each part.
Create the right team to work with your partner. You want people who get along well with the contractors and who are open to collaboration for the best results.