In the path of products being manufactured there is no button to push and have gadgets come out the other end. The initial product idea and industrial design are just the beginning. Unfortunately many are willing to just ‘hand it over’ to the manufacturer. They have a team, you’re assured. Not to worry. Later in the process you will come to realize that this is more effort than just ordering up a cake. Manufacturing is a collective effort of a group of people. Everyone together working out all the details that lead to perfection. Or at least within the spec of acceptable almost perfection. Imagine if the baker had to make a new recipe every time a new order came in. So many iterations of trial an error would be required before getting to that beautiful cake. Any failures would end up as waste, cutting into the profits of the bakery. Now turn that analogy back to product design. If your team opts for the ‘hands off’ manufacturing route, how many wasted cakes would they be willing to invest before telling the customer it is good enough to go to production? Depends on their standards. We are fortunate to have found a team that we trust, but there are plenty of others who asked the customer to lower their standards in order to get to production. Who’s eyes are on your product? Will they see to the quality that you want to stand behind? Who’s hands are on your product? Are they invested in your success? A CM with integrity and pride in their process will support you and your product but in return you as a company must invest in them. Invest in the relationship. Going to the place and meeting everyone face to face will do more to ensure quality than shouting about deadlines over con-calls. Allowing space in the budget for a fair profit margin for everyone involved will lead to a team that is ready to support your project, whatever the pitfalls. These relationships are not just a business transaction, this is an opportunity for connection.