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In the highly competitive world of industry, outsource manufacturing has emerged as a vital strategy for businesses striving to remain competitive and efficient. Streamlining operations, cutting costs, and accessing specialized expertise is absolutely critical to sustained growth and success.

outsource manufacturing

Outsource manufacturing offers various avenues, and each option presents unique advantages, enabling companies to focus on core competencies while leveraging external capabilities. But how can you ensure success in this landscape?

To thrive in your outsourced operation, understanding and implementing best practices is vital. From choosing to the right location to prioritizing oversight and communication, you can unlock the power of outsource manufacturing and propel your organization towards increased market share, greater flexibility, and a better bottom line. Read on to learn how.

What Is Outsource Manufacturing?

Outsource manufacturing encompasses various options for businesses to produce goods or services through third-party entities. These options include contract manufacturing, establishing a wholly owned foreign subsidiary, and utilizing shelter services to operate a foreign factory.

Contract manufacturing is the traditional approach of outsourcing, where a business contracts with a third-party company to produce goods or provide services. This option allows companies to leverage the expertise and capabilities of specialized manufacturers while focusing on their core competencies.

Establishing a wholly owned foreign subsidiary involves setting up a subsidiary company in another country to handle manufacturing operations. This approach provides the parent company with direct ownership and control, enabling alignment with strategic objectives and allowing for greater flexibility.

Utilizing shelter services is another option where businesses partner with specialized companies to operate a foreign factory. These service providers offer infrastructure, resources, and legal support, managing administrative tasks such as payroll, taxes, and compliance. This option is particularly beneficial for entering new markets or navigating unfamiliar regulatory environments.

The cost of outsourcing manufacturing varies depending on the chosen option, including factors such as the selected third-party partner, local regulations, demand conditions, and transportation costs.

Outsourcing manufacturing offers several advantages regardless of the selected approach. It can result in cost savings by accessing regions with lower labor and operational expenses. External expertise provides access to specialized skills and advanced technologies, enhancing product quality and innovation.

Furthermore, outsourcing manufacturing allows companies to streamline operations, optimize resource allocation, and improve overall efficiency. The flexibility to scale production based on demand fluctuations without substantial investments in facilities or workforce is an added benefit.

Best Practices to Maximize Outsourcing Success

Maximizing the benefits of outsourcing requires following effective practices and implementing key strategies. Here are some essential tips to doing outsource manufacturing right:

  1. Prioritize expertise: Choose outsourcing partners based on their expertise and experience, rather than solely focusing on cost considerations. Opting for partners with relevant industry knowledge ensures high-quality outcomes.
  2. Set clear goals and expectations: Clearly communicate your objectives and expectations to your outsourcing team. This alignment helps ensure that everyone is working towards the desired outcomes.
  3. Foster open communication: Establish regular communication channels and conduct team meetings to promote collaboration, provide updates, and address any concerns promptly.
  4. Build strong partnerships: Seek reliable and reputable outsourcing partners who have a proven track record. A strong partnership built on trust and effective communication is crucial.
  5. Monitor performance: Regularly review the progress of outsourced tasks to ensure they are meeting quality standards and adhering to agreed-upon timelines.
  6. Clearly define timelines: Define clear deadlines for task completion to avoid surprises or delays for effective planning and coordination between your team and the outsourcing partner.
  7. Coordinate working hours: Determine mutually convenient working hours that align with both your business and the outsourcing partner’s time zones for effective real-time communication and smoother execution.
  8. Seek clarification when needed: Do not hesitate to ask questions or seek clarification from your outsourcing partner to avoid misunderstandings. 
  9. Consider cultural and language aspects: Take into account cultural differences and language proficiency to facilitate effective communication and minimize potential misunderstandings.
  10. Retain oversight: While outsource manufacturing offers external expertise, maintain an active role in the hiring process and decision-making related to your team for alignment with your overall strategy.

Remember to adapt these tips to your specific needs and objectives, as each organization’s outsourcing approach may vary.

Choosing the Best Outsource Location

Outsourcing manufacturing to the right location is crucial for businesses seeking cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and market access. While China has been a popular choice, Mexico emerges as a compelling alternative for several reasons.

  • Proximity and logistics: Mexico’s close proximity to North American markets allows for shorter supply chains, reduced shipping costs, and faster response times compared to manufacturing in China.
  • Free trade agreements: Mexico’s extensive network of free trade agreements, including the USMCA, grants preferential access to key markets such as the United States and Canada. These agreements reduce trade barriers, streamline customs procedures, and enhance market competitiveness.
  • Skilled labor force: Mexico boasts a growing pool of skilled workers, supported by technical education and vocational training programs. The country’s workforce is proficient in various industries, including automotive, aerospace, electronics, and medical devices.

Outsource Manufacturing Modes in Mexico

  1. Contract Manufacturing – Many businesses opt for contract manufacturing in Mexico, collaborating with local manufacturing firms to produce goods. This allows companies to leverage the expertise and capabilities of established manufacturers while benefiting from cost advantages and market access.
  2. Wholly Owned Foreign Subsidiaries – Establishing wholly owned foreign subsidiaries in Mexico provides companies with greater control over operations, including production processes, quality control, and supply chain logistics.
  3. Shelter Services – Utilizing shelter services is a highly effective mode, where providers offer comprehensive support for setting up and operating foreign factories in Mexico. This option handles legal, administrative, and operational aspects, enabling businesses to focus on core competencies while accessing Mexico’s benefits.

Manufacturing in Mexico allows companies to capitalize on its proximity to major markets, leverage free trade agreements, access a skilled labor force, and choose from various manufacturing models such as contract manufacturing, wholly owned subsidiaries, or shelter services. 

Following these best practices and establishing your outsource operation in an advantageous location will ensure future success. Outsource manufacturing done right can deliver incredible cost savings, market access, and a supportive environment for ongoing business growth.

It’s easier than you think.

Get in touch and we’ll show you how.