So, you’ve got a million-dollar idea for a new product, the plans are laid, and now all you need is to get the product built to show proof of concept. Now for the final piece of the puzzle, it’s time for the production itself. But what happens if you run into difficulty sourcing the product parts that you need? Here are a few tips for sourcing parts and pieces when you’re designing a new product.
Enlist the Help of Social Media
When you reach out to strangers on the web through the right channels, you’ll be surprised at the amount of helpful information you can get. Of course, there will necessarily be some sifting through incorrect or misleading information, but after you filter out the noise you’re very likely to make the connections you need to get your parts and pieces.
For example, if you’re having trouble finding a certain kind of part, make a post on Reddit, Facebook, or Twitter requesting help from fellow small business owners to locate it. Those who answer may point you toward suppliers, or they may be willing to sell or trade the part to you themselves. Social media is also a great way to vet a prospective supplier before making a large purchase.
Use Your Industry’s Small Business Network
Chances are high that another firm within your sector has experienced the same or similar need for the parts you are searching for. Tapping into your industry’s small business network will connect you with other entrepreneurs tackling the same types of logistical issues—no need to reinvent the wheel.
Through your network, you can often find reliable suppliers for a variety of parts, depending on your needs. For example, if you’re looking for ring seals or similar products, others in your network might point you toward Rothkopf or a similar supplier. Building relationships with these suppliers can help you as you continue to develop and manufacture your products.
Several resources exist on the web solely dedicated to helping businesses find the supplies they need to move forward with their products. Examples include Alibaba, ThomasNet, and Maker’s Row. Even obscure pieces are often quick and easy to locate using these services.
With some patience and diligence, one of these methods is very likely to yield the results you’re looking for in terms of finding the parts and pieces you need for your new product. As you find the pieces you need, remember to keep a record of where you found them so that you can return when you’re reader for larger scale manufacturing.