How One Startup is Revolutionizing The Way We Think About Manufacturing
Now is arguably the most comfortable time in history to bootstrap a business.
From the leisure of your home, you can incorporate, design a website, hire employees, and open up your digital storefront to the masses of consumers that exist on the internet. And in just a few more clicks, you can set up targeted advertising, automated email marketing, and a slew of other growth channels that help get the word around about your product.
While technology has removed much of the friction that once plagued the entrepreneurial process, there are still a number of looming logistical challenges for makers around the globe.
Just ask any business owner that has gone through the process of designing and shipping a physical product to customers — they will explain to you, with enthusiasm, that the manufacturing process is a complete nightmare.
Whether you are selling fashion products or industrial hardware tooling, getting over the manufacturing hurdle can be a massive road block that, if not handled appropriately, can dramatically slow down your momentum and delay progress. Sadly, many ideas even die off completely during the manufacturing stage, because most entrepreneurs are not suited to negotiate for months, in a completely different language, with a wide variety of faceless manufacturers located half-way across the ocean.
Trembling already? Yes, the system is ugly and broken.
And it is that exact experience, feeling the ugliness of the system, that got now 23 year old Nathan Resnick inspired and as he puts it, destined, to start Sourcify, a startup that would solve the manufacturing nightmare once and for all.
Before Sourcify, Resnick had experimented with trying to manufacture and ship products on his own. “When I was 19, I grew an ecommerce brand to over six figures in sales. Internal challenges aside, one of the biggest pain points that troubled our team, especially early on, was managing an international, constantly evolving supply chain.” There are so many moving pieces to a well functioning supply chain that even the slightest miscommunications can penalize your projects months of crucial time and tens of thousands of dollars.
It is those road bumps that generally cost first time entrepreneurs their businesses.
After a while, as Resnick relocated to China, actually learned the language, and began to master the manufacturing process, he realized there was an enormous gap in the marketplace.
He recounts… “dozens of my friends, many of which who were current entrepreneurs themselves, began asking me to help them manufacture products. So I just started helping them as a sourcing agent by literally making email introductions to the right factories. It was only after a few dozen of these manual introductions that I realized I was onto something.”
The mission was simple — create a platform to make bringing an idea for a physical product to life 10x easier.
Fast forward a few years, and Resnick and his team have just done that, creating the fastest growing sourcing platform available to entrepreneurs as well as enterprises (big and small). And their mission of helping companies bring their ideas to life, while reducing inefficiencies along the way, is still at the forefront of their platform.
As technology enables companies like Sourcify, among others, to provide more tooling, automation, and data to both sides of the table (manufacturers and entrepreneurs), we will likely continue to see the reductions in manufacturing costs as well as increases in production speeds.
But more than that…what does this mean for the industry?
A heightened level of transparency and trust
A common critique of the manufacturing space as a whole is that there is very little openness and transparency among the different stakeholders. All parties are selfish and want to maximize their own profit. And with countless middlemen driving up prices, it can be challenging to know what you are really paying for when you order a product. What we are left with is a mess of unverified, scattered Alibaba sellers who can largely charge whatever they want without many checks and balances.
The biggest value add of Sourcify, as Nathan explains to me, is that they “work with over 550 factories and pre-vet each one to ensure they have the right certificates, business licenses, and quality controls.” They are essentially removing the biggest red flag in the manufacturing space and providing clarity in an industry that so desperately needs it.
Everything will move faster
In business, time is money. And frankly, in 2017, entrepreneurs spend way too much time searching for, vetting, and identifying the right manufacturer to help them create their product. Even then, after days of research, there is tons of uncertainty around product quality and timing.
With platforms like Sourcify, we (as makers) can finally get accurate manufacturing forecasts and understand where our costs are going towards. A process that used to take months of trial and error can now be done in days, given that Sourcify “pre-screens all the right factories and then match you to them so you do not have to spend time talking to the wrong manufacturers.”
The manufacturing space is ripe for innovation, and companies like Resnick’s Sourcify are bound to improve the system at a fundamental level by leveraging technology in new and inventive ways.