How We Handled Manufacturer Sourcing for a Unique Product

Manufacturing Sourcing

Workers in a factory assessing the quality of products manufactured

When an existing client came to us needing assistance with manufacturing a steel and plastic tool we knew it wouldn’t be a straightforward job. Some of the complexities included the unique materials and method of production needed to produce the tool. Also, because the device is only used by a niche industry in Australia the order was much smaller than most Chinese factories like to produce. However, Vara Allied was up for the challenge to find the right suppliers that could produce and deliver the tool at the right price.


First, to produce the product we needed a mould made. Moulds for this product made in Australia can cost around $10,000, double the cost of manufacturing this product. Having the mould made in Australia was cost prohibitive for our mid-sized client. They knew their only option was to have it made overseas. Vara Allied contacted a reputable mould producer in China who quoted $2,000, a fraction of the price in Australia. Even better, the mould was produced correctly to the client’s specs on the first attempt.   

All of the factories Vara Allied was doing business with at that time only made steel or plastic components and were unable to incorporate the steel part into the injection moulded plastic, so we needed to find a new manufacturer. Our agent in China was able to visit multiple factories at short notice. He inspected four factories and met with management to discuss the product until he found the right one.

The Manufacturing Process

Once the mould was in production and the tool manufacturer had been found, we were able to begin discussions with the factory. They were excellent to deal with, keeping up constant communication, sending photos and shipping sample materials to Australia. The factory requested information on the grade of steel to use, the colour and finish of the plastic.

When it came to the product colour, we supplied the preferred RAL colour. The factory advised that the tone would be close but not a perfect match due to the UV resistant material needed. The factory sent samples over to Australia so our client could choose which colour he liked and also his preferred finish. Small stickers were also required for adhering to the finished product which the factory also organised.

Due to the quality of communication leading up to production, the first sample received was correct so the manufacturing of the full order could begin immediately.

The Outcome of Using Vara Allied

The shipment of the steel and plastic tool was small, so arrangements were made to add it to a mixed container. Vara Allied handled the customs, import duty and tax requirements as well as the shipping documentation on behalf of the client. Vara Allied usually fills a container each month with various clients’ goods to keep the cost of shipping to a minimum. These tools only needed 1/50th of a container’s space, so the cost to ship from China to Perth was just $80. The road travel from the dock to the client was more expensive than the international shipping!

From the initial client briefing to the goods arriving in Australia it took three weeks for the mould to be produced, two weeks for the factory visits to choose a manufacturer, eight weeks to manufacture the product and three weeks to ship from China to Perth.

The client was happy with the product and has since placed orders with Vara Allied for different goods. Not only did the mould save our client thousands of dollars but his greatest saving was in time. All the communications with China were handled by Vara Allied, so our client only needed to spend a minimal amount of time deciding on which sample materials he preferred. After designing and producing drawings for the tool, the client spent less than half an hour on this whole job because we took care of the rest.   

If manufacturing your product in Australia is proving too costly, but you don’t have the time or contacts to find a reputable Chinese factory, see Manufacturer Sourcing for more information, give Vara Allied a call on (08) 6115 0118 or contact us.