Offshoring and the Quality Triangle

FDA Registered Medical Sewing

The quality triangle is made up of three key desirable components: cost, speed, and quality. When you place an order, you generally want it to be fast, cheap, and good. But the quality triangle dictates that you can never have more than two of these qualities at a time.

This concept applies when businesses seek to offshore their manufacturing process to overseas countries. The decision to offshore manufacturing is usually motivated by cost, but issues can arise when it comes to speed or quality.

1. Cost

The higher wages of American workers lead to greater manufacturing costs. Businesses offshore their manufacturing to cheaper economies with manufacturing expertise, like China, so they can save on labor and sell their goods back to Western markets at a competitive price.

Getting your order completed affordably is an important factor when hiring a contract manufacturer, and offshoring to China or other overseas locations may help you accomplish that. But note that by focusing solely on cost savings, it may cause you to sacrifice speed and/or quality.

2. Speed

Manufacturing your goods overseas will extend your lead times. It’s a simple truth that the further away your goods are manufactured, the longer you will wait for them to arrive. And that’s not even factoring in supply chain issues that can cause major disruptions for your business.

By contrast, manufacturing your goods closer to home will reduce lead times so you can count on quicker order turnarounds. You may also be able to better manage inventory and order fulfillment when there are fewer miles and transportation steps between you and your manufacturer.

3. Quality

Offshoring can create issues with maintaining product quality. Offshore manufacturers may not adhere to the same quality and safety standards that apply in the U.S. Offshore manufacturers often try to substitute lower standard materials and parts without your knowledge, which may lead to problems for your customers.

When you don’t have visibility into the manufacturing process and facilities, you can’t easily identify issues that could compromise quality. You could address this issue by closely overseeing the operations, but that would require installing someone overseas to monitor the manufacturing process.

Bottom Line

Offshoring your manufacturing process to China or another overseas country may help you achieve the “cheap” corner of the quality triangle at the expense of quality products or quick manufacturing.

But when you partner with a U.S. manufacturer, you gain greater control and visibility into the quality of your goods. And by simple proximity, you have a better chance of getting your orders fulfilled quickly and on time, allowing you to serve your customers better. The “fast” and “quality” components of the triangle are more obtainable when you work with a U.S. based contract manufacturer. The expression, “you get what you pay for” may very well mean you’ll achieve the best combination of quality, speed, and cost, when you partner with the right manufacturer in the U.S.

Contact us to learn more about having your sewn goods manufactured in the U.S.