Melbourne – meeting manufacturers for the first time

I got into my car at 5am this morning to drive to the airport when I realised that I left $60 of perishable groceries in the back seat from the night before. Ugh! The first sign that I’m trying to do too much. At least the car didn’t stink yet.

My flight to Melbourne was to meet with a manufacturer (cancelled another meeting with Mfg #4), as well as a publisher regarding a side-hustle.

There were so many learnings from the mfg meeting that I will summarise in a blog post after I meet with the final company on Thursday in Brisbane. For the moment, let’s just say that it’s pretty incredible to see their capabilities in person. The video below shows millions of dollars in machines. Imagine starting this business from scratch!

After a morning of meetings, I raced back to Canberra to attend a networking event tonight for an accelerator program. I always meet so many interesting people when I goes to these, and this night was no exception. I have the business cards of an engineer and a private equity company to follow-up on tomorrow.

Another Day in the Life of an Entrepreneur!

One manufacturer out, two left

I spoke to one of my manufacturers today. This is the one that I had concerns about earlier in the week. We both decided that they should pull out of the selection process for making my products.

They’re too busy to even touch my designs any time soon. Furthermore, we both have concerns about their lack of experience with recycled plastic.

Even today, the engineer was worried that recycled milk bottles (that go through a blow moulding process to make them) might not be compatible with their machines. This is the first I have heard of this concern as it was another manufacturer that suggested that milk bottles would be the most appropriate to get the colours I wanted for my products.

We both agreed that it was the best decision for them to pull out as a result. He still offered to send me some estimated unit prices on one of my products so that I could compare the price against the other quotes. That was a very generous offer in which I am grateful.

By this decision, I’ve decided to also cancel the Monday factory tour with them. This may allow me to get back to Canberra in time for a function that evening.

So, no bridges burned, and the right outcome all around.

Talking to the salesperson versus the engineer

Despite my tiredness yesterday, I did make contact with the manufacturer who still hasn’t turned in the quote. This time, I spoke to a design engineer rather than a salesperson.

He basically told me that they were busy, and my designs needed a lot of work. I explained that the designs were never meant to be final. They were my way of communicating what I wanted to a manufacturer located in another state. As per the tender docs I sent to them, I was planning on paying for the next design phase to get it ready for manufacturing. This is something I’ve already explained before to his boss.

I asked him to tell me now if they’re too busy to work with a small business like me. Otherwise, we are both wasting our time.

He said that he’ll try to get me something this week. However, I am now concerned about their lack of experience with recycled plastic as he suggested that all the parts needed to be black. This is the difference between talking to the engineer and the salesperson – you can really start to understand their capability. I wish I was able to speak to him sooner.

Oh well, it would still be great to get their quote, but I’m not going to depend on it at this stage.