Part 6! We almost feel like the Harry Potter Series (my daughter would be proud of that analogy). Each week we have been addressing the due diligence and selection process when deciding to outsource wire harness manufacturing. Today we will explore taking a tour of a custom manufacturer. In particular, Touring a Wire Harness Manufacturer.

Below includes previous topics on this discussion:

Outsource Your Wire Harness Assembly Process – Part 1

Selecting a Wire Harness Manufacturer – Part 2

How to Find a New Wire Harness Manufacturer – Part 3 

Interviewing a Wire Harness Manufacturer – Part 4

Discreet Questions to Determine Character Compatibility and Financial Viability – Part 5

It is Now Time to Plan a Visit and Take a Tour

So you continue plunging through the due diligence process to select a custom manufacturer.

You have performed dozens of Google searches to narrow down the field.

You have evaluated plenty of websites and social media pages until they all start to blend together.

Hopefully, several companies are standing out from the crowd.

Emails have been exchanged and phone calls have been made to break the ice.

There may be one or two that really seem like head and shoulders above the rest.

You are feeling good.

It is now time to plan a visit and tour each facility.

A physical visit to top candidates in person is vital with your decision. You might even want to consider a surprise visit (“Hey, I was in the neighborhood” – even if 500 miles away).

Here is an excellent article from the Harvard Business Review regarding plant tours (Even though this was written 20 years ago): https://hbr.org/1997/05/why-and-how-to-take-a-plant-tour

Eyes Wide Open and the Attitude of a Harsh Critic

It is extremely important to go into the tour with eyes wide open and the attitude of a harsh critic.

(Actually, this was just a great excuse to get Judge Judy into one of our blogs).

What to Look for When Touring a Wire Harness Manufacturer

Below is a list to consider when Touring a Wire Harness Manufacturer:

  1. Do you find the building and property presentable or unkempt? (Unmowed grass, disheveled parking lot, garbage, broken windows, etc…)
  2. Office presentable or unkempt? (Top of the line everything or dated to the 1960’s)
  3. Are you warmly greeted?
  4. Management, staff, and employees pleasant and welcoming?
  5. Do employees look happy and hustling?
  6. Are tools and equipment organized and well maintained?
  7. Are the warehouse and inventory efficiently organized?
  8. Is the Shipping dock clear of clutter?
  9. Are you impressed or underwhelmed with the team and operation?
  10. Are there any red flags that make you uneasy?
  11. Do employees have cell phones out?
  12. Check kitchen area – is it clean or organized and dirty?
  13. Are restrooms clean?
  14. Are there any key employees that do not come out to meet you?
  15. Evaluating the quantity and quality of staff, does the company seem to be top heavy?
  16. What are the years of service of the management team?
  17. Be prepared with tough questions regarding your product and process to determine if they are indeed experts in their field.
  18. Is the management team short and brief with you? Is this a good sign that they are focused and busy or are they rude and distracted?
  19. On the other hand, if they meet with you for a long period are they too lackadaisical or not busy?
  20. Do they seem eager to earn your business or desperate?

Outsourcing your product production to a custom manufacturer is similar to finding quality daycare for your child. You need to find a company that you Trust, Trust, Trust!

There is a saying that if something is not a “HELL YAH” then it is simply a “No”.

Check back next week for Part 7 of our series on Outsourcing.

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