How to Find a U.S. Manufacturer to Diversify Your Supply Chain

Those without established relationships were at the mercy of an unpredictable transportation industry and gridlocked supply chain. If 2020 taught us anything, it was to diversify our supply chain to include U.S. manufacturing, if only to ensure production in an emergency. This post will discuss how to find a US manufacturer to diversify your supply chain.

Side Effects of No Preparation

Those without established relationships were at the mercy of an unpredictable transportation industry and gridlocked supply chain. If 2020 taught us anything, it was to diversify our supply chain to include U.S. manufacturing, if only to ensure production in an emergency. This post will discuss how to find a U.S. manufacturer to diversify your supply chain.

U.S. Manufacturer Diversify Supply Chain

PROS of U.S. Manufacturing

  • American manufacturing and labor standards are higher
  • No language barrier
  • Marketing appeal of being made in North America
  • Easier to verify reputable manufacturers
  • Faster shipping time
  • High intellectual property rights protection
  • Greater payment security and recourse
  • American-made products are often of higher quality
  • U.S. production supports the national economy
  • Easier to manage quality control

CONS of U.S. Manufacturing

  • Higher manufacturing costs
  • Less product choice (some products are no longer manufactured in the U.S.)

Steps to find a U.S. manufacturer

This article assumes product development has already begun or is in progress with a supplier (overseas or otherwise). This means you have a viable product and know the basic requirements necessary for production. Changing to a U.S. manufacturer to diversify your supply chain is the next step. While we won’t go into detail about this aspect, it is crucial to understand the vision for your product, what type of manufacturer you require, and any special services or qualities needed in a supplier.

Step 1 – Research

Identifying a U.S. manufacturer is the first step in finding a domestic manufacturer. International supplier directories like Alibaba make it easy to discover global manufacturers. There are similar domestic directories to begin discovering local suppliers.

Online domestic directories

  • ThomasNet – Has been around for 120 years and has more than 500k businesses and suppliers listed. They are one of the best places to begin looking for a U.S. manufacturer.
  • Maker’s Row – This paid service helps locate manufacturers and developmental professionals to improve or refine your product offerings. Plus, they have a specific small batch option if your U.S. supplier is not your primary supplier.
  • MFG – MFG is a marketplace primarily for plastic, metal, or rubberized parts production. Companies needing machining services, assembly, injection molding, metal stamping, and metal fabrication would do well to use MFG.
  • Kompass – Kompass is a searchable marketplace with more than 70 countries on the site but is filterable to include online U.S. suppliers. Due to vendors ranging from lawyers and insurance agents to manufacturers and trading companies, the directory is extensive but isn’t simple to navigate. However, it is still helpful if you use the filtering mechanism well.
  • Council of Manufacturing Associations Member Organizations – This is a lengthy list of sub-categorized organizations and member manufacturers in the (National Association of Manufacturers). It is a hub for news, policy, and updates for the manufacturing community. This is a good resource if you have a good idea of what type of manufacturer you are looking for.

General search engine results

You can also research manufacturers directly via Google or Safari, etc. Keep in mind most manufacturers focus on creating quality products rather than boosting their SEO performance. Therefore, you might need to scroll to the second, third, or tenth search page to find what you are looking for. Nevertheless, finding U.S. manufacturers through a search engine is still viable. Ensure you use terms like distributor, wholesale, etc., in your search to help boost your results.


A direct referral is one of the best ways to find a reputable U.S. manufacturer. Make sure to leverage your professional network to reach out and see if anyone knows of a supplier who could help you. Don’t be afraid to contact companies that potentially use a similar manufacturer and see if they wouldn’t mind sharing their contact. E.g., A shoe company specializing in fine leather would be a good source if your company produces leather handbags or backpacks.

Trade Shows

A trade show is a great place to source contacts in local manufacturing. Suppliers often attend these events to secure new buyers and showcase new capabilities. Furthermore, trade shows are a gathering of industry leaders and influencers under one roof. Finding multiple suppliers and having initial conversations at one event is possible.

U.S. Manufacturer Diversify Supply Chain

Step 2 – Evaluate the shortlist

Once you have researched potential manufacturers and have a shortlist, it is time to evaluate each one. This process involves collecting information and investigating their capacity, pricing, lead times, and cultural values.

Things to consider when evaluating a potential U.S. manufacturer:

  • Check certifications – Each industry will have its own specific certifications and value-specific certifications like organic, sustainably sourced, etc. If you are still determining what certifications to look for, consider researching the U.S. Consumer and Product Safety website for guidance.
  • Gauge financial stability – To protect your own company, you must evaluate the financial viability of your vendors. Start by asking for a financial statement and have it reviewed by a qualified CPA. They can determine whether a supplier has adequate resources to maintain business operations.
  • Asses weather-related risks – Assessing weather complications might seem silly until your manufacturer shuts down because of a hurricane for 3-6 months or longer. Ensure you know the probability of weather-related delays and have insurance should the “unthinkable” happen.
  • Geographic proximity to customer base – The closer your manufacturing facility is to your customer base, the faster shipping and procurement occur and the less it costs. Therefore, it is a key factor in deciding which manufacturer to partner with.
  • Scaling capability – Evaluate how flexible your supplier is with order quantities. You may find that your original choice, which offered preferential small batch order costs, cannot meet greater demand. This is why proper sales projections are crucial in determining your scalability needs.
  • Contact references – Manufacturers confident in their work and service have no problem sharing references. Ask for at least 2-3 references and interview them about their experience with the supplier.
  • Understand lead times and delivery success statistics – Understanding lead times and success metrics are vital to choosing the right manufacturing partner. If the potential supplier has lead times that are incongruent with your ordering cycles, it might be better to choose a different partner.
  • Scrutinize payment terms – Many manufacturers will ask for full payment upfront when working with a new company. However, ask if payment terms become more flexible over time. Determine what your company needs regarding payment terms and negotiate to that end without losing the relationship.
U.S. Manufacturer Diversify Supply Chain

Step 3 – Get into the nitty gritty

Once you have narrowed your shortlist and have decided to move forward with negotiating a contract with a supplier, it is time to dig into the details. There is a lot of granular work involved in finding a U.S. manufacturer diversify your supply chain. Several questions will be crucial to finding a U.S. manufacturer that will be the best fit for you.

  • What is the process to ensure quality control for your product?
  • What are the shipping costs?
  • What are the minimum order quantities (MOQs)?
  • What assurances do they offer to protect your intellectual property? Do they offer exclusivity?
  • What do your clients say about you? Can you contact them?
  • What will be the CPU (cost per unit)?
  • What are their policies on defective products?
  • Do they support sustainable and ethical production standards?
  • Do they have any value-added services that would be helpful? I.e., assembly, engineering, prototyping, etc.
  • What are their communication patterns, style, and platforms? Determining how you will communicate is vital to a healthy partnership and resolving issues as they arise.

While this is a partial list, it should give you a good understanding of whether or not the manufacturer will be a good fit.

U.S. Manufacturer Diversify Supply Chain

Step 4 – Request a written contract

The final stage of selecting a U.S. manufacturer involves requesting a written contract outlining working together. It is best to request a proposal from a few different suppliers so that you can make the best decision for your company. Price isn’t the only contributing factor, but it will play a significant role. Therefore, it is essential to review the pricing and payment terms carefully. Ensure that all fees and timelines are clearly outlined. Once you have reviewed the contract terms and are satisfied, a partnership can begin.

A great way to find a U.S. manufacturer to diversify your supply chain, is by asking your 3PL provider. If they are anything like Falcon Fulfillment, they have solid relationships with existing suppliers with a regular cadence with the distribution facility. Furthermore, working with a quality 3PL can help to create a more resilient supply chain regardless of your manufacturing partners.

If you want to learn more about our partners and how we can help bolster your supply chain, contact one of our agents today.

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