Start Now: New Products Take Longer Than You Think
Updated: Mar 8
New products, new markets, new investors, and new ways of doing things are the lifeblood of growth. And while each innovation carries potential risk, businesses that don't innovate will eventually diminish.
—Adena Friedman, President & CEO of Nasdaq
New products and innovation are absolutely essential to the growth of your business, and the "hows" and "whens" of producing them are just as important as the "what" of the products you create. New product development takes time and a lot of energy, and it's often more of each than one would expect. While there are a number of advantages to printing and manufacturing overseas that can serve you well in the process, but there are a few more considerations when you move your production overseas.
Schedule is one of the things you'll need to focus on most closely. Timelines can be tricky, and if you've produced anything in the US, you'll find they're different overseas. Following are a few considerations to make sure your new products stay on time and moving efficiently.
Holidays Affect Your Schedule
Understanding the culture of the country where you produce is imperative in order to make sure you keep your production schedule moving forward. It comes as a surprise to many Americans that other countries and cultures celebrate very different holidays than you'd typically find on a US calendar. And some of those holidays are extended and can have a tremendous effect on your timeline.
For instance, Chinese New Year is a very important holiday in many Asian countries, and citizens often take off a week or two to celebrate. Those couple of weeks can be a huge disruption to your timeline if they're not expected and planned on the front end. And the business shut down can effect not only the production, but also transport in freight and shipping.
Dig into as much information as you can about the culture where your printer is and engage in a clear conversation from the start on what potential holidays or time off they have on the calendar, which will help you better decide the route you would like to take when placing your order.
Start Production Earlier than You Think
If you have not previously worked overseas are more familiar with Stateside printing, the most obvious element to consider is shipping timeline differences. Even if your overseas printer can create your product more quickly than Stateside printers, you could still face much lengthier timelines getting that product to your door.
Stateside shipping is fairly simple since all movement happens within the country, and clearances—if any—can be handled quite quickly. With overseas printing, however, ocean freight and customs clearance can add weeks that you might not be accustomed to onto your timelines.
Keep in mind, shipping delays and congestion during peak seasons can also create a longer timeline. Many companies request a typical arrival time of September and October to prepare products for the holiday season, meaning containers can fill up very quickly and customs will have a lot of shipments to review.
Set realistic production goals on both ends. Discuss the timeline and get it on paper, as it were. Discuss potential problems or delays in the beginning and set realistic expectations for when your product is set to arrive. Which brings us to the final suggestion...
Communicate. A lot.
When working with any printer, communication is key. When working with an overseas printer, communication is absolutely vital.
You cannot over-communicate when printing overseas. Well, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but only slight. Good communication with your printer is an essential part of creating an accurate understanding of your realistic estimated schedule.
Once your plan is in place, know that delays can occur that might be out of the control of both the manufacturer and freight forwarder. Timelines are estimations for this very reason, and extra cushion should always be added on your end to compensate. And that brings us back around to the point again—communicate. A lot.
So, as you're planning for your new product, start soon, plan well, and communicate along the way to make sure your production runs as quickly and smoothly as possible.
If you're ready to create brand-developing products that connect with your customers and enhance your brand—and you'd like help with all of these timeline and communication details—CōDRA is the collaborative partner you need. Contact us here.