Developing the Grease Hero did not happen overnight, it took three years and a trip to China to meet with potential manufacturing partners before the product was ready for store shelves. The idea for Grease Hero, started the way many inventions do—a personal need for the product and a gap in the current marketplace.
In the instance of Grease Hero, Shawn Santos, an owner and self-manager of rental properties in Hawaii, came face-to-face with a kitchen drain so clogged with cooking grease that it took almost an hour to clear. What Shawn found was that grease had been disposed of improperly for years and eventually packed the pipe so solid that it was no longer able to drain at all. With twenty-years of experience as a contractor, this was not the first time he had encountered this problem. However, this time was different, he knew there had to be a better and safer way to dispose of kitchen grease and sat down and sketched out a product design idea.
From this sketch, the idea the Grease Hero drain guard was born. When the time came to start the manufacturing phase of product development, entrepreneur Shawn Santos knew that it was imperative to find the right manufacturing partner from the onset. He wanted to meet with potential manufacturing partners in China face-to-face to see how the Grease Hero drain guard would be manufactured and to build a working relationship with the manufacturer.
Shawn Santos had this to say about his manufacturing trip to China.
Deciding on a Production Manufacturing Partner
Let’s start off with, how was the trip?[S. Santos]: Seeing each of the factory’s capabilities really made a difference in deciding which factory is most capable of producing our product. Each had pros and cons.
What type of factories did you visit?[S. Santos]: We had the opportunity to visit with a handful of factories, both for product manufacturing as well as packaging manufacturing facilities.
What surprised you during this trip?[S. Santos]: I haven’t been to a factory before, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. It was an entirely new experience for me. Visiting the various factories gave me a real comparison and I was able to see the differences, strengths, and weaknesses between each.
When you selected a final manufacturer, how did they stand out from the other factories?[S. Santos]: A face-to-face meeting with these potential manufacturing partners really opened my eyes to see what goes on with the manufacturing process and what happens behind the scenes. Without these meetings taking place, it would have been a shot in the dark and hoping that the right manufacturer was selected.
What were the main takeaways from the trip to China?[S. Santos]: Trying to do this process without the assistance of manufacturing experts is impossible. If doing this on my own, it would have been not only difficult, but there is a chance that I could have made the wrong decisions and ultimately sacrificed, time, money, and quality.
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