In contract manufacturing, a hiring firm makes an agreement with the contract manufacturer to produce and ship the hiring firm’s goods.
Compare the benefits and risks of employing a contract manufacturer (CM)
- A hiring firm may enter a contract with a contract manufacturer (CM) to produce components or final products on behalf of the hiring firm for some agreed-upon price.
- There are many benefits to contract manufacturing, and companies are finding many reasons why they should be outsourcing their production to other companies.
- Production outside of the company does come with many risks attached. Companies must first identify their core competencies before deciding about contract manufacture.
- Contract manufacturing: Business model in which a firm hires a contract manufacturer to produce components or final products based on the hiring firm’s design.
- Contract manufacturing: a business model where a firm hires another firm to produce components or products
A contract manufacturer (“CM”) is a manufacturer that enters into a contract with a firm to produce components or products for that firm. It is a form of outsourcing. In a contract manufacturing business model, the hiring firm approaches the contract manufacturer with a design or formula. The contract manufacturer will quote the parts based on processes, labor, tooling, and material costs. Typically a hiring firm will request quotes from multiple CMs. After the bidding process is complete, the hiring firm will select a source, and then, for the agreed-upon price, the CM acts as the hiring firm’s factory, producing and shipping units of the design on behalf of the hiring firm.
Contract manufacturing offers a number of benefits:
- Cost Savings: Companies save on their capital costs because they do not have to pay for a facility and the equipment needed for production. They can also save on labor costs such as wages, training, and benefits. Some companies may look to contract manufacture in low-cost countries, such as China, to benefit from the low cost of labor.
- Mutual Benefit to Contract Site: A contract between the manufacturer and the company it is producing for may last several years. The manufacturer will know that it will have a steady flow of business at least until that contract expires.
- Advanced Skills: Companies can take advantage of skills that they may not possess, but the contract manufacturer does. The contract manufacturer is likely to have relationships formed with raw material suppliers or methods of efficiency within their production.
- Quality: Contract Manufacturers are likely to have their own methods of quality control in place that help them to detect counterfeit or damaged materials early.
- Focus: Companies can focus on their core competencies better if they can hand off base production to an outside company.
- Economies of Scale: Contract Manufacturers have multiple customers that they produce for. Because they are servicing multiple customers, they can offer reduced costs in acquiring raw materials by benefiting from economies of scale. The more units there are in one shipment, the less expensive the price per unit will be.
Balanced against the above benefits of contract manufacturing are a number of risks:
- Lack of Control: When a company signs the contract allowing another company to produce their product, they lose a significant amount of control over that product. They can only suggest strategies to the contract manufacturer; they cannot force them to implement those strategies.
- Relationships: It is imperative that the company forms a good relationship with its contract manufacturer. The company must keep in mind that the manufacturer has other customers. They cannot force them to produce their product before a competitor’s. Most companies mitigate this risk by working cohesively with the manufacturer and awarding good performance with additional business.
- Quality: When entering into a contract, companies must make sure that the manufacturer’s standards are congruent with their own. They should evaluate the methods in which they test products to make sure they are of good quality. The company has to ensure the contract manufacturer has suppliers that also meet these standards.
- Intellectual Property Loss: When entering into a contract, a company is divulging their formulas or technologies. This is why it is important that a company not give out any of its core competencies to contract manufacturers. It is very easy for an employee to download such information from a computer and steal it. The recent increase in intellectual property loss has corporate and government officials struggling to improve security. Usually, it comes down to the integrity of the employees.
- Outsourcing Risks: Although outsourcing to low-cost countries has become very popular, it does bring along risks such as language barriers, cultural differences, and long lead times. This could make the management of contract manufacturers more difficult, expensive, and time-consuming.
- Capacity Constraints: If a company does not make up a large portion of the contract manufacturer’s business, they may find that they are de-prioritized over other companies during high production periods. Thus, they may not obtain the product they need when they need it.
- Loss of Flexibility and Responsiveness: Without direct control over the manufacturing facility, the company will lose some of its ability to respond to disruptions in the supply chain. It may also hurt their ability to respond to demand fluctuations, risking their customer service levels.
Exporting is the practice of shipping goods from the domestic country to a foreign country.
Explain how exports are accounted for in international trade
- This term export is derived from the conceptual meaning as to ship the goods and services out of the port of a country.
- In national accounts “exports” consist of transactions in goods and services (sales, barter, gifts or grants) from residents to non-residents.
- Statistics on international trade do not record smuggled goods or flows of illegal services. A small fraction of the smuggled goods and illegal services may nevertheless be included in official trade statistics through dummy shipments that serve to conceal the illegal nature of the activities.
- export: to sell (goods) to a foreign country
- import: To bring (something) in from a foreign country, especially for sale or trade.
- exporting: the sale of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories
- exporting: the act of selling to a foreign country
This term “export” is derived from the concept of shipping goods and services out of the port of a country. The seller of such goods and services is referred to as an “exporter” who is based in the country of export whereas the overseas based buyer is referred to as an “importer”. In international trade, exporting refers to selling goods and services produced in the home country to other markets.
Export of commercial quantities of goods normally requires the involvement of customs authorities in both the country of export and the country of import. The advent of small trades over the internet such as through Amazon and eBay has largely bypassed the involvement of customs in many countries because of the low individual values of these trades. Nonetheless, these small exports are still subject to legal restrictions applied by the country of export. An export’s counterpart is an import.
In national accounts, exports consist of transactions in goods and services (sales, barter, gifts, or grants) from residents to non-residents.The exact definition of exports includes and excludes specific “borderline” cases. A general delimitation of exports in national accounts is as follows: An export of a good occurs when there is a change of ownership from a resident to a non-resident; this does not necessarily imply that the good in question physically crosses any border. However, in specific cases, national accounts impute changes of ownership even though in legal terms no change of ownership takes place (e.g. cross border financial leasing, cross border deliveries between affiliates of the same enterprise, goods crossing the border for significant processing to order or repair). Smuggled goods must also be included in the export measurement.
Export of services consist of all services rendered by residents to non-residents. In national accounts, any direct purchases by non-residents in the economic territory of a country are recorded as exports of services; therefore, all expenditure by foreign tourists in the economic territory of a country is considered part of the export of services of that country. International flows of illegal services must also be included.
National accountants often need to make adjustments to the basic trade data in order to comply with national accounts concepts; the concepts for basic trade statistics often differ in terms of definition and coverage from the requirements in the national accounts:
Data on international trade in goods is mostly obtained through declarations to customs services. If a country applies the general trade system, all goods entering or leaving the country are recorded. If the special trade system (e.g., extra-EU trade statistics) is applied, goods which are received into customs warehouses are not recorded in external trade statistics unless they subsequently go into free circulation in the country of receipt.