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An American business purchasing products from foreign countries certainly creates many challenges. When working with a foreign company there can be some difficulty with achieving a positive final outcome.

A few issues that can arise include:

  • Misunderstandings due to language barriers and “lost in translation”
  • Challenges with manufacturing products
  • In addition, the difficulty of repairing products 

Communication Issues in Doing Business Abroad 

Doing BusinessWorking with other countries opens the door for communication gaps. This could be due to a simple misunderstanding. On the other hand, the gap could be caused by “lost in translation”. In other words, language barriers or translation challenges that create unwelcome errors. 

Whether the communication is happening through emails or even over the phone, barriers exist. These communication barriers can prevent the foreign company from fully understanding the needs of the American company.

They can also cost the American company more money on materials. This can happen due to different terms of products or even various means of measurement. Sometimes in these cases, the foreign company may make assumptions. However, if those assumptions are incorrect, the entire product could be wasted. It can be difficult to bridge the gap of communication which costs the company significant time and money.

Manufacturing Issues

Another issue that can go along with communication includes problems with the actual manufacturing process. If there is a gap in communication there is also a chance that there will be difficulties instructing the foreign country on how to manufacturer the product. If instructions are misunderstood or they have incorrect translations, the foreign business will have a difficult time producing the product.

When there is an issue with manufacturing, there is often a need for a representative from the American company to go on location to the foreign company. Travel costs run high. Especially when traveling abroad. In addition, traveling will also take up useful time that could be utilized for other projects.

Commonly, you can trace manufacturing issues back to communication. However, with no communication gaps, both companies would be able to achieve success through all the stages of production.   

Repair Issues

Another issue that can come from poor communication is damage. Some damage may occur during manufacturing or shipping. If the foreign company attempts repairs, the situation could become worse. Especially, if there was confusion with producing the product in the first place. Furthermore, it is difficult to troubleshoot a problem when they are not in physical proximity.

A company cannot plan for repairs on goods damaged during shipping. There will have to be replacement of pieces when damage occurs. There is no guarantee that repairs will actually fix the problem. However, even if the repairs provide a short-term solution, both parties need to focus on a long-term fix as well.  

Communication, manufacturing, and repair issues are serious concerns. These are all problems that can happen when doing business outside of America. When language barriers exist, it is difficult for everyone to understand the solutions for these problems.

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onshoring custom manufacturing

Onshoring

Falconer Electronics Inc. is seeing a strong upward trend in onshoring custom manufacturing. As a United States based contract manufacturer for over 30 years, we have witnessed many ups and downs in manufacturing.

Recently, it seems like more and more conversations revolve around bringing manufacturing back to the States. One particular reason is due to poor quality products produced in foreign countries. 

Outsourcing production to a manufacturer lends tremendous benefits. Especially for a small business or a start up. However, there are numerous challenges and threats to outsourcing manufacturing operations. Therefore, these threats increase dramatically when you outsource to foreign countries. In addition, outsourcing abroad brings many hidden costs.

These determining factors include the heavy cost of monitoring operations as well as quality control. There is also a lack of intellectual property protection as well as extending the supply chain.

Consequently, these are all reasons a company benefits when onshoring custom manufacturing their products instead of offshoring.

Check out these excellent articles:

“Small Businesses Find Overseas Factories Lead to Colossal Headaches”

“The American Onshoring Trend Is Gaining Momentum”

Benefits of Onshoring Custom Manufacturing

This positive trend with manufacturing operations returning to the U.S. holds great promise. Especially for small U.S. manufacturers. The outsourcing of production abroad to foreign countries certainly carries a negative impact on the U.S.

Therefore, terms such as onshoring, reshoring, and redesign manufacturing are generating a new buzz. Onshoring drastically improves lead times. It also cuts inventory levels. For example, at Falconer Electronics Inc., being located close to vendors narrows the supply chain.

Like Falconer Electronics, other companies in the U.S. are also realizing the many benefits to manufacturing products Stateside. However, this is after decades of losing U.S. manufacturing jobs. The majority of which went to lower cost countries such as China.

Consequently, wage gaps are shrinking between China and the United States which delivers another onshoring benefit.

In addition, the U.S. offers superior infrastructure, automation, education, information technology, and transportation. This may be arguable, but since we are biased, we certainly think we hold an edge. 

Risks with Intellectual and Proprietary Information  

Onshoring custom manufacturing  while partnering with the right company dedicated to your success delivers powerful results. 

The positive impact improves everything from strategy, supply chain, staffing, and operations.

Control over the protection of intellectual property is another one of the many benefits. Especially since there is a huge vulnerability when relying on foreign suppliers. Meanwhile, the threat of stolen proprietary information and processes decreases dramatically in the U.S. 

The loss of proprietary information to a foreign supplier brings devastation to a company. Most noteworthy, legal recourse and recovery is challenging at best. As a result, a company has more control when they choose onshoring compared to offshoring.

Quality Control in Onshoring Custom Manufacturing

Quality control is another serious issue. Separating product development and manufacturing operations can be extremely detrimental. If prototyping and product development are conducted in the States while production heads overseas, quality and consistency may suffer greatly.

Managerial focus, when operations are halfway around the world, lends  a significant disadvantage. Partnering with experts who possess vast experience places you in a position of strength. Close proximity to vendors allows site visits which in turn consistent quality inspection.

Meeting with vendors and suppliers face-to-face creates the opportunity to build long-term trusting relationships. The opportunity to see your products in production while also meeting the actual individuals producing your product delivers incredible value. 

Wrapping It Up

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