Whether you’re a new entrepreneur working on designing some exciting products you want to bring to the market or a veteran business owner who’s always thinking ahead to the latest and greatest offerings that can be added to a range, it’s essential to find the most suitable materials.
There’s no point coming up with a fabulous product, after all, if you can’t follow through with prototypes and saleable goods that deliver on your vision. It can be tricky to find the perfect materials that give you a balance of quality, durability, and affordability, which are easy enough to work with.
If you’re at the point now where it’s make-or-break when it comes to sourcing materials, read on for some tips to help you find the best possible options for your needs.
Come Up with a Maximum Budget
Wherever possible, it’s wise to come up with a maximum budget that you feel comfortable with and can afford to spend on materials, so you don’t end up going overboard. Understand what price you need to cap total materials costs at to still make a profit. Once you have this number, it’s much easier to tell quickly if the quotes you get from or see listed by providers are worth exploring further.
If you’re struggling to know what to budget for this side of things because you have no idea what’s likely, it pays to research industry standards for some guidance.
Define Your Top Priorities
Next, define your top priorities for the materials you utilize for products. There are multiple factors to consider, and you should try to place them in order of importance for your business so that when you evaluate options, you can tell which ones meet your needs the best.
For example, there’s the price, the performance, the sustainability, location, appearance, and likely durability of materials that will have an impact. Although you want materials that stand out for all the right reasons in as many different areas as possible, in reality, you are sure to have two or three things that you place more importance on than others.
Allow Yourself Plenty of Time
When sourcing materials for your business products, don’t leave everything until the last minute. If you’re going to find the best possible options, allow yourself plenty of time to research, make a shortlist, communicate with potential suppliers, and get quotes. After that, you’ll want to check out some samples and test some materials, negotiate terms and conditions and pricing, and wait for ordered materials to arrive at your plant or other manufacturing location.
Rushing all of this will mean you don’t give yourself the best chance to find not just the ultimate goods but also the best prices and develop strong relationships with vendors that will help you over the years.
Familiarize Yourself with Material Options and Learn About New Technologies
Another tip is to familiarize yourself with material options as soon as you can so that as you look at options, you discern what the various material types can offer you, and you can understand the relevant terminology used by sellers. Get to know what ingredients are in various materials and how they’re formulated. Educating yourself like this will help you see which questions need asking when you chat with potential suppliers.
It helps, too, to learn about new technologies that might make your product cheaper to produce or more innovative in some other way, such as durability, weight, how it can be used, and so on. For instance, increasing numbers of materials get made from recycled plastic bottles and other waste these days, which can help you hit sustainability targets for your business. There might be more natural or healthier options to investigate, too. One such option is antimicrobial zinc ion technology, a soft, durable material used to help protect products thanks to the mineral zinc.
Attend Trade Shows and Exhibitions
There are many ways to source materials for your business, including online. Researching on the internet can be a fantastic way to start and give you many ideas. However, it also pays to get out and explore options in person. Attending trade shows and exhibitions can be very helpful.
At these events, research and development firms and manufacturers, designers, and other vendors showcase the latest materials they’ve come up with and demonstrate and explain how they work. This means you can see a lot of potential materials in one place and learn heaps of information in a day or two, saving yourself time.
It’s always nice to see options in the flesh, since most exhibitors have samples. This visual component will help you better understand what different materials offer and how they could help you create excellent products.
Finding the right materials for your business offerings is one of the essential steps in developing new wares for your business. Follow the above tips to make this process run more smoothly.