Manufacturing in India: A Company Perspective
by Becky Trowbridge, on June 21, 2017
Have you ever wondered about the best way to communicate with a potential manufacturer?
I recently had the opportunity to talk to Anish Jain, owner of Streamline, about manufacturing in India. We also discussed best practices for Amazon sellers who are interested in sourcing from India.
The Rise of Apparel Merchandising
While many merchants likely associate production outsourcing with China, India also has a strong manufacturing culture. “Our company was established in 1986 and since then we have been manufacturing and exporting fashion jewelry and fashion accessories primarily for the U.S. market,” Jain said. In fact, his company has produced nearly 37,000 unique designs over the past thirty years.
In Jain's experience, apparel and accessories have become increasingly prevalent on the Amazon marketplace. These items are at high risk for copying or counterfeit, so private-label sellers should ask plenty of questions when choosing a manufacturer:
- Does the company offer brand exclusivity?
- What kind of quality control practices are in place?
- Do products meet all regulations and safety guidelines for your marketplace?
- Are payment terms negotiable?
- Can you get an invoice that shows all costs?
- What fees should you expect?
- What happens in the event of a delay?
Clear communication is key to a successful seller-manufacturer relationship. Get started on the right foot by getting the information you need to make an informed business decision. Both merchants and manufacturers should outline expectations before signing a contract.
Submitting Orders Overseas
When asked about best practices for submitting samples to a potential manufacturer, Jain said that email is usually all that is required. “You don’t need to send the sample all the way to India, because it’s going to cost you money. You can send us the picture and then we can discuss the dimensions, the color, quantity, everything over email,” he said. Brand exclusivity is a top concern for many private-label sellers. To help mitigate risk, Streamline keeps designs exclusive to the company that submitted them. If the design used is one of Streamline's own creations, it is exclusive to the seller for their marketplace for six months to a year. If the merchant reorders that item, the exclusivity is continued for their marketplace.
Product manufacturing turnaround time largely depends upon the materials used to create the items. The minimum manufacturing timeframe to expect is around 7-10 days. Since Streamline regularly ships products to the United States, the company has systems in place to minimize shipping delays and handles all logistics to make things as simple as possible for their customers. Some manufacturers, including Streamline, have in-house chemical testing labs to ensure that all materials meet Prop 65 compliance standards for lead, nickel and cadmium.
Shipping and Logistics for Exported Products
Exporting items to other countries can become quite expensive due to import rates, shipping costs and various other fees. Handling the process of having goods shipped to the U.S. can be very overwhelming for merchants, as there are many logistics to consider. However, there is one major benefit when it comes to exporting products from India to the United States. An agreement between the two governments provides significant savings on shipping costs and duties for sellers.
Pair that savings with an established manufacturer and much of the hassle is removed from exporting international products. A company that regularly produces goods should have processes in place to manage FBA packing guidelines, seller branding requirements and other order-specific information. Communicating in different time zones can be difficult, but email and VOIP phone systems help companies stay connected.