The Ultimate Guide To Contract Manufacturing: An Inside Look At The Ins & Outs Of Doing Business With Outside Sources

Companies from startups to Fortune 500’s work with contract manufacturers (CM’s) to manufacture their products. And here's why you should too!

First-Hand Contract Manufacturing Experience

From my experience, I have seen some amazing advancements in the field of contract manufacturing while also seeing some WTF moments as well. These include seeing automation for manufacturing masks due to COVID while also seeing operators smoking and watching TV on his phone while operating a lathe machine. Two completely different factories in one city.  

I am very excited that we are coming out with the Contract Manufacturing eBook to share these experiences with you and to give you a perspective of contract manufacturing inside the head of a contract manufacturer. 

This eBook will be a collection of my perspective on contract manufacturing and you should check this out for the following reasons:

  • Gain insights from inside a contract manufacturer.
  • Understand how to evaluate, choose and sustain your relationship with them. 
  • The services they provide vs what you are looking for.

Why Contract Manufacturing (CM) and What Are CM Roots? 

Contract manufacturing didn’t start yesterday. In fact, Contract manufacturing can go back many decades to when manufacturers started to outsource their work in defense and some other complex industries.

A Huntsville, AL, businessman, Olin King, founded Space Craft in 1961 to build satellites and communications gear for NASA, the U.S. Navy, and other governmental agencies. When NASA funding dried up in the mid-1970s, King took advantage of relationships forged with OEMs while working on the space programs.

“King knew he had all those capabilities — equipment capacity, people, and systems — so he went to companies like IBM and said, ‘let me build for you,’” said Ron Keith, founder of Riverwood Solutions, a Texas-based supply chain consultancy, and managed services company.

IBM agreed. In a 2005 interview, King, who died in 2012 at age 78, explained how it worked.

“They came to us with a box of 150 parts and some drawings and asked us to build it,” King said, according to “So we did. Then they brought 500 more and we built that, but they still wouldn’t tell us what it was. Then they asked for 1,000 more, and we said ‘OK, but here’s some things we did to improve it.’ That turned into the IBM PC1.”

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