In this episode...

The NPI process constitutes a lot of time, money, and effort before your product is even ready for manufacturing. Some manufacturers rush into mass production without following an NPI process or by skipping some of its key phases. Sofeast's CEO Renaud and head of NPD (new product development) Andrew are going to revisit the NPI process and explain why skipping its phases is a terrible idea while illustrating the many risks you face if doing so.

 

Show Sections

00:00 - Greetings & introduction

01:11 - Looking back at one of our most popular older episodes about the NPI process

Episode 23: Analysing the (NPI) New Product Introduction Process & its Benefits is one of our all-time most popular episodes, and in it, Renaud went through our 6-phase NPI process for bringing your product from concept through to mass production. 

02:53 - Today's focus: The risks of skipping the different NPI phases and rushing into production

04:16 - Concept/Idea & Documenting the requirements

10:05 - Feasibility study/Proof of concept

13:42 - Sourcing key components and materials early

19:40 - Getting feedback on the design before production

24:38 - In-depth testing during pre-production

30:20 - Pilot runs

34:56 - Wrapping up. 

 

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In this episode...

NNN agreements are important legal tools importers should use to protect their IP. Renaud chats with Adrian about what they are, what does and doesn't make sense, and some of the common errors made with them that could leave you with an unenforceable agreement and no protection at all!

First, though, they kick off by examining the increasing Covid cases and their effect on supply chains in China as of Mid-January 2022...

 

Show Sections

00:00 - Greetings & introduction

01:10 - Exploring the worsening Covid situation across China. 

11:45 - What is an NNN agreement?

18:40 - What do importers often get wrong when drafting and using NNN agreements?

34:46 - Wrapping up. 

 

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In this episode...

Many importers are new to sourcing from China so we've been creating a mini-series of episodes that explores the sourcing process with advice and best practices from Sofeast's CEO Renaud Anjoran.

In part 3 of the series, we discussed how to manage your project with your outsourced manufacturer and the role of inspections during the production process.

Now, the production is all but over and your shipment date approaches, but there's one final step before shipping: performing a final inspection. This represents your chance to check the quantity, finished product quality, packaging and labelling, and more, in order to avoid any poor quality products being shipped with no chance to make changes once they arrive with you. Let's explore this important inspection here...

 

Show Sections

00:00 - Greetings & introduction into where we are in the series and today's topic: final inspections.

02:30 - What are the risks of letting products ship without performing a final inspection? 

11:04 - What is a final inspection? 

16:18 - When are final inspections usually performed, and why?

19:02 - Where should the final inspection take place and who does it? 

24:11 - Why it's a very busy time period for inspections just before Chinese New Year.

25:51 - What are the unique benefits of a final inspection in comparison to earlier product inspections?

31:51 - Wrapping up. 

 

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In this episode...

Renaud recaps some of 2021's biggest stories for manufacturers, especially those with Chinese supply chains, with Adrian from the team.

It's been one tough year with Covid, supply chain issues, material cost rises, and so much more pushing us all to the limit. So what did Renaud make of it all, and what are his predictions for 2022?

In addition, we also give you an insight into Sofeast's different business units' activities and achievements during 2021, some of our plans for next year, and recap our top podcast episodes and some key content you may have missed.

 

Show Sections

00:00 - New Year Greetings

01:25 - Covid 19. 

03:48 - The supply chain crisis. 

05:04 - Just-in-time being replaced by just-in-case. 

07:13 - Tensions between China and other countries. 

09:56 - Diversifying supply chains out of China. 

13:59 - The 'exodus' of manufacturers from China. Real, or over-hyped?

17:02 - Predictions for 2022? 

22:00 - What has Sofeast been up to in 2021? 

31:56 - 5 top episodes of the podcast in 2021. These 5 episodes were the most popular with you all this year. 

  1. Jon Monroe | How Did Sea Freight End Up In Such An Expensive Mess In 2021?
  2. 3 Quality Control Plans & Why They’re Needed BEFORE Production
  3. The Many Benefits Of Preventive Maintenance
  4. Analysing the (NPI) New Product Introduction Process & its Benefits
  5. Manufacture in China, Vietnam, India, or Elsewhere in 2021?

37:51 - A few suggestions for great pieces of content we've created in 2021 that you may have missed. We create regular content on our resources center. Take a look if you haven't already. Notably, our IP Protection guide for companies who're developing new products and manufacturing in China, our guide to 9 types of packaging, their pros & cons, costs, and green credentials, and our white papers on bioplastics, printing processes used in manufacturing, benefits of silicone, and more.

42:13 - Wrapping up ~ happy new year to all of our listeners! 🎉 

 

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In this episode...

Your host Renaud is joined once again by Andrew Amirnovin, our head of New Product Development at Sofeast, to discuss the 3 elements a factory (yours or your supplier's) needs to get right in order for you to get good manufacturing performance. This would result in the results we want in the longer term: good product quality, costs in line with our expectations, fast delivery times, and safe products.

If you feel that your supplier can improve any of the above, for example, then this episode will be helpful in providing you with guidance about where changes need to be made based on Renaud and Andrew's decades of experience and real learnings from our projects over the years with Sofeast clients in China, Vietnam, India, and other areas of Asia.

 

Show Sections

00:00 - Greetings & introducing Andrew

01:50 - Explaining today's topic - the elements needed for good manufacturing performance.

03:45 - A quick overview of the 3 elements: An effective management system, manufacturing processes under control, and well-designed products properly transferred to manufacturing.

05:49 - 1. The management system.

19:36 - 2. Running manufacturing processes following best practices.

29:00 - 3. Well-designed products that are properly transferred to manufacturing.

44:07 - Conclusion: What you need in place to have good manufacturing.

45:19 - Wrapping up

 

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In this episode...

Fresh from a very popular episode about why the American supply chain has been crumbling in 2021, East-Coast supply chain and logistics expert, Marshall Taplits founder of Ship It Done, joins our CEO and host, Renaud, on the pod again to discuss some of the latest e-commerce trends in the USA with a focus on Amazon.

Many importers are selling online on Amazon, so if Jeff Bezos' giant platform is an important part of your business model, understanding where they're going in 2021 and 2022 will be helpful to assist you to make smart decisions. You may be surprised about the costs, but Marshall also gives some helpful advice about building a solid brand without needing to rely on Amazon alone.

 

Show Sections

00:00 - Greetings & introducing Marshall Taplits & Ship It Done

02:10 - TREND 1: The share of products being sold by e-commerce is increasing. 

06:17 - Does e-commerce's market share seem unlikely to go down now? 

09:03 - TREND 2: E-commerce sellers going 'omnichannel' to reduce reliance on just one platform, such as Amazon. 

15:44 - Is FBM or FBA cheaper/preferable for Amazon vendors? 

19:34 - How Amazon are making a killing from FBA. 

21:24 - Are Amazon starting to become another UPS or FedEx? 

24:31 - TREND 3: Companies are paying more attention to being eco-friendly. 

29:08 - TREND 4: Augmented reality being used to improve how shoppers can visualize products on e-commerce. 

31:43 - TREND 5: Amazon competing against its own resellers. 

34:39 - TREND 6: Compliance checks hotting up.

38:37 - Wrapping up

 

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In this episode...

In episode 65 we discussed the different supplier options open to buyers who’re sourcing from China. One of the options is to do the sourcing yourself. Many importers want to pursue this, so we're creating a mini-series of episodes that explores the sourcing process from China with tips and best practices from Sofeast's CEO Renaud Anjoran.

In part 2 of the series (episode 75), we went through the terms you need to negotiate with your chosen supplier, how to keep leverage over them, and how and why to clearly describe what you actually want from them at the pre-production stage.

Now we're ready to start production, but how do you manage the project and keep control over product quality before the goods are ready for shipping? Find out here...

 

Show Sections

00:00 - Introduction. 

02:51 - When we're working with a Chinese supplier, will they provide a dedicated member of staff to manage your order/project? 

10:07 - What can very large companies like Apple expect from their suppliers in China? 

12:40 - Why it's YOUR job to drive the project and get your contact to follow up. 

14:05 - What penalties can be enforced to keep suppliers in line? 

22:10 - What are the production tracking best practices that professional buyers follow?

30:44 - Are WeChat/Skype/Email effective for managing projects? 

32:04 - What issues can be found and fixed if you perform quality inspections early on in production? 

34:54 - When can we send an inspector during production and what difference does the timing make? 

40:04 - What happens if a problem/s is found? 

43:48 - How is the 1:10:100 ratio related to taking action on problems early? 

49:20 - Wrapping up. 

 

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In this episode...

Chinese New Year is approaching and at the time of recording in late November importers really need to be preparing for the disruption that occurs around this time of year!

When is CNY 2022, what disruption does it cause to your supply, and what can/should you do to prepare for and mitigate the negative effects of this difficult time period where the stability of supply and product quality often take a downward turn?

Find out in this episode..!

 

Show Sections

00:00 - Greetings & introduction

01:21 - When is Chinese New Year 2022? 

02:26 - To avoid the disruption of CNY, what are the first and second-best scenarios for importers getting their product manufactured in China right now? 

05:04 - When do factories start 'winding down' and what causes this phenomenon? 

11:42 - What causes a drop in factory staff after CNY?  

16:17 - What happens to quality when a factory has to hire a lot of new staff post CNY? 

20:44 - The effect of time pressure before CNY. 

24:47 - Is there an increased risk of suppliers going out of business at this time of year? 

29:57 - Planning for inventory.  

32:57 - How can inspections protect importers around the CNY period? 

35:59 - Wrapping up

 

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In this episode...

Anyone with an innovative product idea will understandably be worried about it being copied and sold on the market in competition with their own original product. To illustrate the dangers and some solutions, Renaud explores who might be the main risks to your product IP when developing and manufacturing a new product with Adrian from the team.

These actors may be either within or from outside of your supply chain, and they can strike either early on in the new product launch process or after your product has been on the market for a while.

Being forewarned is to be forearmed, so listen to and understand who these threats are and get some tips from Renaud to mitigate or avoid the risks altogether in order to keep your precious intellectual property as safe as possible.

This episode is based on just one chapter of our free new guide: IP Protection in China when Developing Your New Product [Importer’s Guide].

Here's a visual representation of the content we cover in this episode:

sources of risk to your product IP

 

Show Sections

00:00 - Greetings & introduction

00:58 - A chat about rising covid infections in China and what it might mean

05:37 - Today's topic - sources of risks to your product IP when developing and manufacturing it in China. This is based on this new guide from Sofeast: IP Protection in China when Developing Your New Product [Importer’s Guide].

06:36 - What kinds of products are most at risk of having their IP compromised and misused? 

09:33 - What are the main risks to someone who's developing and manufacturing a new product? There are 4 situations to be aware of:

  1. Being copied early from within your supply chain
  2. Being copied early from outside of your supply chain
  3. Being copied later from within your supply chain
  4. Being copied later from outside of your supply chain

12:30 - (1). Who's at risk of copying us early from within our supply chain and what can be done to avoid it?

19:28 - Compartmentalizing the supply chain. 

21:07 - Legal tools to prevent or mitigate being copied. 

23:18 - (2). Who's at risk of copying us early from outside of our supply chain and what can be done to avoid it? 

28:45 - Why copycat products can be made by companies anywhere, not just in China. 

31:05 - The difference between copying a product idea and counterfeiting one. 

34:01 - (3). Who's at risk of copying us later on from within our supply chain and what can be done to avoid it? 

38:16 - (4). Who's at risk of copying us later on from outside of our supply chain and what can be done to avoid it? 

41:27 - Patents as protection.

41:55 - Wrapping up

 

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In this episode...

Renaud is joined by Andrew Amirnovin, our head of New Product Development at Sofeast, to discuss the topic of reliability testing plans which is closely related to product design, as well-designed products don't fail in the field as they're designed to be reliable.

Some companies bringing products to market think that reliability comes during the product manufacturing phase, but in this episode, you'll hear why that isn't the case.

Andrew also gives some guidance on how to reduce reliability issues, what a reliability test plan should include, and the role of ongoing reliability testing after production starts.

 

Show Sections

00:00 - Greetings & introducing Andrew

02:54 - What is product reliability and why is it important?

07:54 - How to reduce common reliability problems that occur after some time? 

10:58 - Do companies take reliability testing very seriously in general? 

12:04 - At what point in the NPD process should you start thinking about product reliability?  

14:11 - What do we learn from testing prototypes to failure? 

17:43 - Should the reliability test plan be changed while iterating prototypes? 

21:10 - An example of corner-cutting: The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 'disaster.' 

26:20 - Another example: The Boeing 737 Max. 

27:49 - What is the role of ongoing reliability testing during production? 

31:18 - Product reliability risks caused by having an extended supply chain. 

32:38 - Wrapping up

 

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Sofeast also provides you with reliability and durability testing for products and packaging so if this is something you need help with for products you’re developing and manufacturing in Asia, see if our service is suitable and get a quotation.

 

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