In this episode...

Sofeast's CEO Renaud Anjoran discusses if getting to market first before your competitors have a chance to copy your new product idea when manufacturing in China is worthwhile with Adrian from the team.

A recent China Law Blog article outlined why the perceived benefits of getting to market quickly are actually a fallacy, especially if corners have been cut in the name of speed when it comes to IP protection.

Who is out to copy your unique idea? When can getting to market first be considered a valid approach? What sorts of IP protection activities are advisable? Is building buzz about your new product before launching a great idea or a risky error? 

You'll get answers to these questions and more in this episode!

 

Show Notes

00:00 - Introduction. 

00:31 - Current China/Hong Kong Covid-19 situation, quarantine, and visas. 

05:41 - What is the 'First To Market Argument?'

11:20 - Is being first to market always beneficial? 

12:21 - The importance of strong IP protection. 

13:40 - Does it make sense for low profile products to get to market quickly and deal with IP protection later? (This concept was discussed in episode 71 by Renaud and Andy Bartlett).

18:55 - What should higher profile product launches do? 

21:07 - The 2 main IP infringement risks you face. 

  1. Your own manufacturer will copy your product and place it on the market first before you. 
  2. Copycat companies will notice your product's signs of success and market traction and copy you. 

28:06 - Why creating a lot of buzz about your new product before it goes to market can be dangerous. 

35:48 - How to combat being copied? 

38:41 - Wrapping up. 

 

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In this episode...

Sofeast's CEO Renaud Anjoran is joined by experienced British product designer Andy Bartlett to discuss the NPI process and product design best practices for new and unique products, and the disconnect between expectations and reality of many entrepreneurs or companies who are inexperienced in developing new products.

Andy brings a product designer's point of view to show and he and Renaud explore some of the most critical product design and development stages, why they're so important, some examples of products that had issues and why, and certain mistakes to avoid for product development rookies.

 

Show Notes

00:00 - Introduction. 

02:11 - What is the disconnect between expectation and reality when developing a new product and why might this happen? 

08:36 - Why the early design work is critical as it determines so much of later work in the project. 

10:51 - An example of a poorly designed product that negatively affected the whole NPI project. 

15:16 - Getting to the answer "NO." 

20:03 - The key takeaways about early design work.

21:35 - Getting to prototypes quickly (agile product development). 

28:04 - Common mistakes that can cause problems once mass production starts. 

36:26 - An example of what happens to you if your product causes injury or death. 
38:31 - Benefits of going to market with a Minumum Viable Proposition. 

40:20 - Wrapping up

 

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In this episode...

Sofeast's CEO Renaud Anjoran is joined by Adrian from the team and they go through what deliverables buyers can expect to receive when working with suppliers during a new product development project in order to get safe, high-quality products into mass production.

If you are developing a new product, you'll get a good grounding into what should be performed and documented during the process from product R&D through to mass production, including design files, the BOM, how to reduce risks, the control plan, inspections, pre-production validation testing, and more.

 

Show Notes

00:00 - Introduction. 

01:03 - Going through the NPD process from the buyer's side and its deliverables in detail. 

  • 04:06 - The latest version of design files. 
  • 05:42 - The BOM. 
  • 07:28 - Risk mitigation. 

09:28 - Elements and learnings from the automotive industry (PPAP). 

  • 10:49 - Risk analysis - FMEA on design & processes. 
  • 14:28 - The process flow chart/diagram. 
  • 15:55 - The control plan. 
  • 19:37 - Calibration or verification certificates of fixtures and instruments for checking quality. 
  • 21:44 - Product QC inspections.
  • 23:31 - Pilot run stage - EVT, DVT, PVT.
  • 28:03 - Engineering changes.
  • 29:23 - Prototypes/tooling/PP samples.

31:44 - Does every type of part or product require such stringent deliverables? 

33:45 - Wrapping up

 

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In this episode...

Sofeast CEO Renaud Anjoran talks sourcing with Adrian from the team. There's a focus on sourcing from China for importers who have decided to handle it themselves. This follows on from Episode 65 where we explored the 4 different sourcing options, where 'DIY' was one of them.

So, let's say you're doing your own sourcing, how do you find suitable suppliers, verify them, and cultivate backups for if you have issues? Renaud gives you lots of insight and advice about these early-stage sourcing activities here! 

 

Show Notes

00:00 - Introduction. 

02:23 -  How to identify 'good fit' suppliers for yourself and why there are no 'good' or 'bad' suppliers out there. 

14:25 - A list of sourcing actions to take to find new suppliers. Finding a supplier who can be a reliable partner in the medium or long term is a process.

  1. 15:13 - Identify what a good fit for your needs is (discussed earlier). 
  2. 19:35 - Start searching for suppliers. 
    22:00 - Screening or vetting potential suppliers you've found. 
  3. 24:07 - Contact the supplier. 

29:04 - Get even more help with vetting new Chinese suppliers by listening to our podcast series about it: Vetting new suppliers in China series.

29:40 - If you have found a good fit supplier, is a backup option from your shortlist strictly necessary? 

40:01 - Wrapping up

 

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In this episode...

Sofeast CEO Renaud Anjoran is joined by two very experienced manufacturing practitioners and consultants to discuss how to push your supplier to move increasingly close to zero defects. Podcast regular Clive Greenwood who is a six sigma black belt and has worked in numerous manufacturing roles and Max Phythian, a pure lean consultant with a long history of working in Toyota, make up the three.

They discuss how to transform your relationship with key suppliers, moving away from a transactional model and becoming a partnership where real progress can be made to reduce defects and improve overall quality in the longer term. You'll hear plenty of real-world examples from their manufacturing careers and learn what holds suppliers back from reducing defects, what buyers need to do to help buyers improve, and much more.

 

Show Notes

00:00 - Introduction. 

02:03 -  What does it take to get a key supplier to put in the work to go closer to zero defects? 

09:39 - How to create the conditions required for better quality? 

18:13 - How to speak with your supplier's top management to spur the effort to go to zero defects? 

27:22 - About CoQ (cost of quality). How to change a supplier's mindset that 'better quality will require higher prices?' 

33:13 - Since the 80s large organizations like Auto manufacturers improved quality a lot. What caused this (better communication, more awareness of CoQ, better incentives)? 

35:38 - How should people in a less-regulated industry, such as general consumer goods, approach their suppliers about reducing defects quickly? 

42:38 - Let's say you have a key supplier and their quality isn't improving over the years even though they know your standard. What can be done to push them to improve? Stick or carrot? 

47:39 - Wrapping up

 

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In this episode...

Renaud and Adrian discuss 5 of the challenges that lie ahead for importers who need to start preparing for 2022 now in August 2021! We've got Covid-19 and its lockdowns and travel restrictions, the shipping situation with enormously high costs and delays, a shortage of electronic components, and an unfavorable USD/RMB exchange rate. 

How could these affect you? Keep listening to find out!

 

Show Notes

00:00 - Introduction. 

02:26 -  Summary of the 5 challenges we'll discuss: Covid-19, shipping, electronic component shortages, the USD/RMB exchange rate, and why it's too late to ship for Christmas 2021 now and why importers need to hurry up and ship for CNY.

03:52 - Challenge 1. Time (Shipping in time for Christmas and CNY). 

05:55 - Challenge 2. Covid-19 (How Covid is still disrupting manufacturing and importers). 

19:46 - Challenge 3. Shipping (crazy high costs and delays). 

28:31 - Challenge 4. Shortage of electronic components. 

31:30 - Challenge 5. USD/RMB exchange rate. 

36:53 - Wrapping up

 

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In this episode...

Dan Harris from China Law Blog recently wrote: "Mexico is the New China" and Manufacturers are Moving There.

Having read it, Sofeast's CEO Renaud Anjoran and Adrian from the team discuss nearshoring, how credible an alternative to China Mexico is as a location for your manufacturing and some of Mexico's pros & cons. Renaud also gives some guidance on how importers need to assess their supply chains to decide if and where moving some of their manufacturing is beneficial.

 

Show Notes

00:00 - Introduction. 

00:59 -  Is Mexico really a credible alternative to China? 

03:28 - What is happening in China (and SE Asia) that is driving US companies out to other countries like Mexico?  

08:00 - Why Mexico is an obvious choice for some US importers suffering from supply chain risks in Asia. 

09:13 - Is moving to Mexico something that would be more suitable for SMEs rather than MNCs? 

14:14 - Could nearshoring to somewhere like Mexico be more expensive than having a supply chain in Asia? 

18:39 - What benefits does Mexico have? 

21:04 - Are many companies truly moving 100% of their manufacturing to Mexico, or is it more of a supplemental location? 

25:19 - What are Mexico's drawbacks? 

29:47 - Renaud's tips on managing the process of moving some/all manufacturing out of China. 

36:14 - Wrapping up

 

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In this episode...

Renaud and Adrian discuss the 4 options open to you when you're sourcing from China, including their pros and cons. Renaud also provides some insight into what exactly it takes to source directly from Chinese manufacturers yourself and shares some best practices for you to consider.

Loosely based on this graphic, they talk about commissioned agents, trading companies, third-party service providers (like us) who provide sourcing as a paid service, and doing it yourself by going direct to manufacturers:

Four China sourcing options

Show Notes

00:00 - Introduction. 

01:23 -  Is sourcing from China as simple as finding a supplier on Alibaba, Global Sources, etc? 

04:28 - The dangers of going for 'the lowest price' 

07:57 - What YOU need to be able to commit to if you're sourcing from China yourself 

09:24 - If you're planning to source from China, what options do you have? - There are 4 sourcing options: DIY, commissioned agent, trading company, and third-party sourcing company: 

12:28 - (1) Commissioned agents

19:46 - (2) Trading companies

27:14 - (3) Third-Party service provider

33:33 - (4) Doing it yourself

34:55 - How to grab a free copy of Sofeast's 80+ page eBook that can help importers start out with sourcing from China

35:20 - Some closing tips from Renaud for better sourcing from China 

38:19 - Tackling quality management  

39:10 - Wrapping up

 

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In this episode...

Renaud Anjoran is joined again by Clive Greenwood, an expert in product compliance for a new episode following on from the first episode they recorded about product compliance (which covered the main compliance challenges faced by importers).

This time they're looking at the future of compliance standards by examining the new Medical Device Regulation (EU) 2017/745 (MDR) which they believe signposts how future regulations will evolve and will definitely heavily impact you if you're a medical device importer and, soon, for many other product types in all likelihood.

So, how much of a change is this regulation and how could it change what you have to go through and provide to get your products certified in future? Let's put it this way, if you're not 100% compliant be afraid as the authorities are going to come for you and now they have teeth!

 

Show Notes

00:00 - Introduction. 

01:54 - Clive introduces himself and what he does. 

03:28 - What is the Medical Device Regulation (EU) 2017/745 (MDR) and when did it come into effect? 

05:44 - If you import medical devices into the EU and have a CE certificate granted under the old MDD, when do you have to switch and will it be an easy transition? 

06:42 - The Scope of the MDR 

07:51 - Previously customs found it difficult to check that medical devices were certified, will that still be the case?

12:39 - The MDR requires a LOT more information about your QMS and processes in the technical document pack than just samples passing certification before certification can be achieved.

15:37 - Notified bodies now have to take more action to monitor ongoing production after certification.

16:13 - Who's liable now (post-MDR) if there is any trouble with the products? 

20:36 - What happens if it's found that a fake document was submitted or a problem was found?

24:06 - How can companies transition from the old MDD to the new MDR?

30:08 - What if you're planning to bring a medical device to the market soon? 

34:43 - Why is the EU MDR beneficial? 

36:45 - Wrapping up. 

 

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In this episode...

Rico Ngoma, CEO of Source Find Asia, joins Renaud to share his advice for entrepreneurs and SMEs who want to get started with manufacturing in China.

You'll get loads of great tips such as:

  • How to reduce your product development costs
  • Steps you can handle yourself to keep costs low
  • Steps that you shouldn't skip and should budget for
  • How crowdfunding works
  • Basic terms you need to agree with your supplier
  • ...and much more!

 

Show Notes

00:14 - Introducing our guest: Rico Ngoma, the CEO of Source Find Asia, a Guangzhou-based sourcing agency.

02:27 - Introduction to Rico's new event, the SourceFinda Asia Digital Summit. The SFA digital summit is a free manufacturing program for entrepreneurs and businesses on a low budget who want to get started with manufacturing that brings together around 16 expert presenters from Rico's network.

*****

05:26 - To echo the SFA digital summit, we'll go through some of the topics that new manufacturers need to understand in this episode. 

06:33 - How to develop a new product on a low budget?

11:35 - The stair-step approach to manufacturing. 

12:38 - Sourcing & vetting suppliers. 

15:20 - Sourcing tips from Renaud and Rico for when on a low budget. 

24:01 - What are the basic terms you'll need to set with the supplier you select? 

29:12 - The need to take responsibility for your own product approval process.

34:28 - What to do before you start production? 

40:26 - Why very technical products aren't a good fit for first-time manufacturers on a tight budget. 

42:24 - How adherence to compliance regulations can be expensive. 

46:54 - Packaging compliance. 

48:26 - Shipping & Logistics. 

50:50 - Wrapping up.

 

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