Every entrepreneur faces a series of daily decisions that are crucial to achieve success. For startup entrepreneurs, endeavoring to finding the right contract manufacturer is one of the most impactful and – when thoroughly considered – the most beneficial. For established and growing businesses the decision is equally important. Hard lessons may have already been learned, or current partners may not be sufficiently agile to meeting demands.

To help innovators understand how to approach this decision, we’ve compiled a checklist of the most immediate and important questions that every business – whether newly created or firmly established – should ask to ensure they get the most out of their contract manufacturing partnership.


The Checklist


      • Is the contract manufacturer vertically integrated, with full control of the supply chain?


      • Do they have a rapid change cycle and in-facility testing, with design and manufacturing professionals collaborating in close proximity?


      • Does the contract manufacturer provide leadership in coordinating other suppliers while serving as a central hub to ensure timeliness and quality?


      • Does the manufacturer practice open communication and partnership with other suppliers, without protecting markups or other business details?


      • Do they incorporate a MSA (Manufacturing Supply Agreement) that is developed in partnership with business leadership, providing expert guidance about inventory needs and strategy?


      • Does their team include a range of professionals with specialty areas of expertise, and a culture that encourages them to bring forward solutions – even when it means challenging business norms?


      • When making recommendations, do they help business leaders understand the pros and cons of each proposed solution?


      • Do they have extensive support that meets the needs of a fast-moving business?


      • Do they effectively use Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) software for materials costing and other benefits?


      • Do they serve entrepreneurs as their core mission, or have they carved out specific services in an attempt to partner with entrepreneurs?


Partnerships Models are Changing

If there is one truism reflected in this checklist, it’s that partnership models are changing. Norms are being questioned. Entrepreneurs expect solutions from manufacturers, not just the ability to follow direction. Truth be told, at MME group Inc., we think today’s business leaders deserve nothing less.


Download Checklist PDF

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Any business working with multiple partners to manufacture a product has likely faced a similar set of challenges. Coordination can be difficult, parties may have competing interests, and project costs and lead times suffer as a result. Not only that, but a segmented workflow can make it difficult for expert suppliers to question traditional practices and bring forward new solutions.

Worse still, sometimes this is just “the way it’s done.” It’s time to question these assumptions.

During the product development lifecycle there is certainly no shortage of questions businesses should attempt to answer. How will issues large and small be communicated and acted on quickly? Will a beneficial partnership with open communication be maintained across all contributors? Will there be real opportunity to benefit from the wealth of knowledge manufacturing partners have in the category, or are individual parties protecting their piece of the pie?

These are not abstract questions. During our long history we have seen many businesses tackle these considerations head on, and we have never shied away from sharing our perspective in recommending the best course of action.

A New Way to Think About Contract Manufacturing

Though each project warrants its own assessment, experience tells us that many businesses benefit from working with an experienced full service vertically integrated contract manufacturer to fulfill needs that otherwise would require input from multiple manufacturing partners.

We’ve found that, all-too-often, a circuit board manufacturer or other single component supplier is responsible for assembling elements from multiple parties. This can lead to a multitude of inefficiencies. Compounding the problem, those responsible for assembly many times have no experience manufacturing components using the materials used by the other suppliers.

Still, this is many times seen as the “way things are done. ” This warrants a fresh look at typical contract manufacturing relationships and responsibilities, and the benefits of structuring partnerships differently.

Shorter Lead Time

When a circuit board manufacturer or other supplier who does not have complete control of the plastics associated with a product determines a change is needed during assembly or testing, the resulting back and forth communication required can turn even a simple change into a days-long delay.

At MME group, we know that when you are vertically integrated and are responsible for the full breadth of components in a product, a quick team re-group can determine what adjustments are needed. Simply put, an integrated team of experts can help bring a product to market more quickly.

Cost Savings

Though many businesses initially seek efficiencies by working with various manufacturers to produce product components – with one organization ultimately responsible for sourcing and assembly – there are additional costs associated with that approach that are not always considered.

When a manufacturer brings in components for assembly it must be stored and inspected. Additionally, if any challenges do arise, logistical demands mean finding a solution also comes at an additional cost.

This, again, is where partnering with a single, experienced team in control of all aspects of the supply chain provides real benefits.

Utilizing Expert Knowledge

When truly partnering with a contract manufacturer a business benefits from that manufacturer’s years of experience and expertise. When manufacturing responsibilities are diffuse, expert opinions can be diffuse as well.

An overly aggressive division of responsibility can lead to each manufacturing partner fulfilling their obligation to the best of their ability – though without the necessary context to help a business make holistic decisions. What are the tradeoffs of each decision regarding materials, sourcing, assembly, and all associated costs? Is each manufacturing partner just working with – or even “dealing with” – what they view as sub-par components from other manufacturers? Is there a better way that is falling through the cracks?

These are questions that true partnership with a contract manufacturer can help answer.

An Extension of Your Company

The manufacturer you work with should be an extension of your company that serves as a true solutions provider. This view encompasses everything MME group does, and in our view is the key paradigm shift contract manufacturing needs.

What’s the Weld You Want?


The very fact that you’re reading this piece means that it’s highly likely you’re aware of Hot Plate Welding. Good; you’re our kind of person.

But is Hot Plate Welding right for your project?  Does it provide the very best solution to your problem?

There are multiple ways to bond two thermoplastic surfaces; Hot Plate Welding is one of them, along with Glue, Spin, and Sonic Welding to list a few. 

Before you choose the process that’s right for you, you need to consider a range of factors, all of which could have an influence on your decision.

MaterialsWhat’s the most appropriate and efficient process for the materials you need bonded?

Hot Plate Welding is certainly one of the most durable processes, but under certain circumstances other applications could provide similar results. MME group will work with your team to help understand the product requirements and testing, then come up with materials and make the appropriate recommendation for the application.

ScaleWhat volume of product will you need to produce to reach a viable price point?

This is where you need to find the sweet spot.  Hot Plate Welding can often come at a higher price point for lower quantities, but may be the best option based on part geometry, part size, and material selection. MME engineers partner with customers to find the best solution to fit the project’s needs.

TestingDo you need every part fully tested to prove functionality before delivery?

Quality in materials and process mitigates risk. MME can work with your team to determine the best testing methods and build testing equipment to your specific needs.

EnvironmentAre you aware of the environment in which the product will be used? 

In environments of extreme temperatures or pressure, Hot Plate Welding passes every test. But if those factors aren’t in play, other bonding applications may suit the job well enough.

ProcessIs the process you choose robust and repeatable?

Reliability and repeatability are two of the key benefits of Hot Plate Welding.  When there is little room for error, Hot Plate Welding is top dog.

Choosing Hot Plate Welding isn’t simply selecting an application. The equipment itself must operate at a capacity to produce the results you expect.

We have two vertical machines capable of contact and non-contact welding, and depending on the size of the part being processed, they have a typical cycle time of somewhere between 20 and 40 seconds.

Batteries, fuel tanks, automobile lighting, washer bottles, medical devices…whatever particular assembly challenge your company is facing, we can offer a quick, effective Hot Plate Welding solution.

For further information or to organize a demonstration of MME’s Hot Plate Welding capabilities, contact Alan Christensen… Lead Manufacturing Engineer …OFFICE: 651 289 8932   MOBILE: 651 270 2160  achristensen@mmegroupinc.com

Product image of the Decon7 Biological Decontaminant Accelerated Spray Plus

Product image of the Decon7 Biological Decontaminant Accelerated Spray Plus

At MME we’re firm believers in the power of collaboration.

A product’s journey from concept to completion requires a highly specialized combination of talent and technology, and a seamless convergence of design, engineering and manufacturing.

All of these elements aligned when we partnered with Decon7 Systems (D7) to produce their patented multi-part application system.

The Decon7 Biological Decontaminant Accelerated Spray Plus (BDAS+) is a breakthrough solution to the complex chemical and engineering issues of containing the world’s most effective military grade decontaminant in an individual rapid response application system.  Combining familiar operation steps similar to a fire extinguisher, but with improved ergonomics tailored to the task and user, warfighters and first responders now have access to a truly immediate decon solution.

The Decon7 BDAS+ is ready-to-use (RTU), lightweight, portable, and rapidly deployable.  It neutralizes chemical and biological warfare agents (CBWs), hazardous industrial chemicals (TICs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), bodily fluids, bacteria and viruses. 

Three liquid components are contained in three bag-on-valve cylinders, protected by a roll cage-inspired, slatted casework made from high-impact plastic that provides excellent impact and drop-resistance.  Through careful material selection, component reduction, and designing the product for ease of assembly and simplified manufacturing, Decon7 and MME were able to balance the need for ruggedness and durability with the demand for a disposable product.

There’s no margin for error when manufacturing a product that will significantly enhance the safety of military and first responder personnel in crisis situations and extreme environments.

With that in mind, D7 was understandably diligent and thorough in their vetting of potential partners.  Some of their essential needs and “non-negotiables” were:

  • ITAR Registered Facility
  • Essential Price Point
  • Production Scalability
  • Packaging Design Team
  • Hazmat Shipping Certified Supplier

“MME was able to offer all of the critical elements we required in a contract manufacturer, including an experienced team we knew we could trust.  The MME team collaborated with our design and engineering firm on every detail, working together to efficiently execute the production plan.  Seeing our pilot product fully assembled, packaged, and ready for distribution was a fulfilling achievement for the Decon7 team.” – Matt Bluhm, CEO Decon7 Systems LLC

Thanks to stellar communication and collaboration between MME and Decon7 Systems, the D7 BDAS+ design is now a real life tool available for our brave first responders and we must say this expertly crafted, vital product is a great source of pride for both companies.

Please learn more about this project, customer, MME and other details.

19 Jan 2017

We Strive for Better

At MME Group, there is more to our business than making products or turning a dollar.  We strive to better our world, community, staff, and the environment at every possible turn.  We believe a level of fulfillment is achieved across the board from our efforts.   These words can often be lip service in business today, but we walk the walk.

It starts with an unwavering commitment from our Owners to encourage all employees to take paid time away from work to give back.  Staff can self-select or choose from many options to be stewards in the community.

When you make products there is inherent waste which is especially apparent in our industry.  Beyond the skilled engineering that reduces the waste in the design, the waste from operations is recycled at MME.  Tons of materials, like various grades plastic, are collected, stored, and sent away to be reused.

A source of extreme pride is our safety and performance record.  We have received ratings that exceed all industry standards in all categories.  Our third party consultants regard our performance exceptional.  This not only creates a safe and secure environment for work to be done, but the company can operate with profound efficiency under such conditions.

The value of a manufacturing skill goes beyond a paycheck.  Making products in America means so much more now than ever when it becomes harder to compete internationally.  Our culture envelops the American spirit of hard work and pride.  We encourage future generations to enter our trade through hundreds of our hours we donate to the local community college.  We promote “a culture of accountability,” marked by the MME Mantra; See It, Own It, Solve It, Do It.

Organizations including Minnesota Parkinson’s Foundation, Toys For Tots, American Red Cross Blood Drives and Walk to End Hunger benefit from the time and money dedicated from MME.  What does this summary of social responsibility say about MME?  We say, “Let it speak for itself.”  We do it because we should, not because people think we should.


A TRAINING PROGRAM WELL DONE! We have recently been honored by Minnesota Business magazine as a manufacturing company with a standout training program.

MME group holds tight to the belief that every employee is key and our training program reflects that. Through a stand-up program for new and old employees alike, we’re able to:

  • Expand work opportunities
  • Retain high-quality jobs in state
  • Keep workers educated and equipped to do the very best job

Learn more about MME group, our training program and employment opportunities!

MME Group Company Logo

Medical, consumer product, highly regulated and other industries are vetting contract manufacturers who provide solutions to effectively plan and execute complex manufacturing programs, quickly identify and solve critical quality issues, significantly improve operations costs, deliver products that meet stringent quality and federally-regulated controls, manage a vertically integrated supply chain, and produce high quality, market-driven products to its customers.

The turn of the century marks a significant time in manufacturing history. In large numbers companies moved manufacturing offshore. Labor costs were cheaper, the cost of shipping decreased, moving product became less of an obstacle, and international communication became less of a barrier. What companies did not forecast were the challenges to offshoring. Nor, how American manufacturers would leverage the shift to create opportunities for improved equipment, labor and processes.

During the past 10 years, American manufactures have strategically and creatively developed competitive solutions. A number of improvements have been applied that do not sacrifice quality while allowing the manufacturer to mange costs. Domestic and offshore industries are placing great value is sourcing manufacturers who provide this competitive edge. MME group has successfully planned and executed more than 200 complex part, product and project transfers.

What Defines the Process of Transferring a Part, Product or Project?
When tooling, molding, assembly or complete contract manufacturing services from your current supplier or manufacturer need to be transferred to a new supplier. This includes individual or multiple parts, products or the entire manufacturing Project.

When Should a Business Transfer Its Project?

  • Quality Concerns
    • Tool or mold is not maintained to its maximum life/potential
    • Current supplier’s process has changed (with or without your knowledge)
    • Quality of materials has changed / where materials are sourced from has changed
    • Supplier’s quality standards have dropped (with or without your knowledge)
    • Your company has expanded its quality criteria and the supplier is unable or unwilling to adhere to it
  • Costs
    • Current supplier’s costs have risen
    • Current supplier cannot price match
    • Your business is looking for part or program cost reduction
  • Supplier Consolidation
    • Multiple suppliers increase your risk for error and missed deadlines
    • Multiple suppliers require more oversight and management
    • Supplier consolidation may reduce costs
  • Current Supplier Exiting
    • Current supplier is going out of business
    • Current supplier has a conflict of interest – manufacturing products for your competitor or manufacturing its own similar products.
  • Delivery or Supply Chain Challenges
    • Frequent or unacceptable delays in production and on-time delivery
    • Mismanagement of supply chain
    • Deferred accountability
  • Logistics
    • Offshore costs and timing
    • Poor inventory management of raw materials or finished goods (No KanBan in place)
    • Poor forecasting of trends, product cycle sales, inventory levels
    • Lead time for parts, shipping (creates unnecessary down time)
  • Lack of Communication
    • Poor, evasive or unresponsive
    • Deceptive or dishonest
    • Poor communication with all your key suppliers


What Questions Should a Business Ask When Vetting a New Supplier? 

  • Do you have case studies or evidence of your experience with past transfers?
  • Do you have a proven process?
  • Do you complete a risk assessment to identify potential or anticipated problems?
  • Can you help identify costs, risks and solutions? And, will you be transparent about each?
  • What quality and regulatory certifications have you earned?
  • What engineering and product development expertise can you provide related to my transfer needs?
  • Do you minimize costs by re-tooling and re-qualifying?
  • Will you negotiate on my behalf to avoid buying excess inventory at inflated amounts?
  • How do I avoid unforeseen costs that my current supplier may charge as a result of me moving?
  • How do I take ownership of the equipment and product stored at my current supplier’s facilities?
  • Will you act as a liaison between my company and current supplier?

What Information Will a New Supplier Need to Thoroughly Plan for the Transfer?
A new supplier should not only ask about technical requirements, but should understand your pain points and expectations. When you choose a supplier, you choose a partner. Considerations include:

  • Full understanding of product, assembly, quality requirements, materials requirements, inventory levels demand, timing, cost concerns/budget, current supplier issues
  • Product specification prints
  • Asset allocation – what specialty equipment do you own or not own?
  • What contractual or other agreements do you have in place with your current suppliers?
  • Schedule

Upon Deciding to Transfer Business, How Should a Business End Its Relationship With Its Previous Supplier?

If it’s the end of the relationship be straightforward and honest about why the business is being transferred. Expect a difficult conversation, but remain firm and fair. Include people from your team who fully understand the process and rely on your new supplier to answer technical questions beyond your understanding. Ultimately, ensure you have steps in place to protect your business.

  • Expect negotiations and resistance, but avoid deviating from your plans
  • Obtain or prepare a list of your equipment and assets
  • Ensure you have ample materials or inventory levels to avoid down time during the transition
  • Determine what the current supplier has for Work In Progress (WIP)
  • Leverage any other business you have and plan to keep at the current supplier, if applicable
  • Consider buying specialty equipment directly from the current supplier (could be a win-win)

The good news from MME just keeps coming.  We are proud to announce that we are approved by the FDA to register products produced in our facilities.  Our 42 years of manufacturing experience has involved many milestones, and this is our most recent.  This compliments our other certifications like ISO, ITAR, UL, and CE.

“How does this benefit me?”, you say.

  • First and foremost is the confidence to know that you are working with a top tier contract manufacturer dedicated to continuous process improvement.
  • Complete chain of custody capacity.  As our recent Whiteboard Video demonstrated,  MME can function as the sole supplier, ensuring the best possible outcome, along with saving time and money.
  • We have what you need.  For many companies outsourcing this key step is essential.  We now have you covered.

From a technical perspective our registration number is 3006535109, and we are compliant to 21 CFR Part 820.

If the FDA trusts us, so can you!

For more details please contact Bob Archambault: 651-755-0261

MME group, a contract manufacturer for small- to medium-sized parts and products, announced today the launch of its new contract manufacturing video.

The minute-and-a-half video playfully takes viewers through a typical customer dilemma – A product is engineered to the point where an experienced and reputable contract manufacturing partner is needed to complete critical design phases necessary to bring the product to market. The video illustrates how well MME group moves customer ideas from concept to completion.


MME group provides product development (engineering), tooling, molding, assembly and quality services. It specializes in medical, highly regulated and consumer product industries. MME group capabilities include automated assembly, clean room, sterilization services, inventory management and logistics. It is ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 13485:2012 certified, ITAR registered and compliant with UL, CE and FDA regulations.

“Every customer project is unique, but the pain points are often the same – pressure to deliver a high quality product under a tight deadline and within budget,” said Brian Bussmann, vice president at MME group. The Company utilizes start-of-the-art technology, apply manufacturing best practices, features cleanroom molding and assembly, and operates a high tech quality lab. Bussmann explained, “It’s not only our operations and equipment, but our people, dedication and experience are how we consistently achieve manufacturing success.”

“Our videos are one of many tools we provide customers to help them decide if we’re the right contract manufacturing partner for their project,” said Bussmann.

At MME we’re committed to making our process and your products better.

As part of our commitment to smart, targeted improvements, over the past year we’ve invested in several high-performance laser marking systems. Bringing these flexible machines in-house gives us more control from start to finish, and elevates our value proposition for your project.

What is laser marking? Simply, it is using a laser beam to permanently mark or label a surface. Our laser marking systems provide:

  • Clear and consistent marking on a wide variety of materials.
  • Pin-point precision for even marking.
  • Flexible assembly line integration to minimize downtime and increase productivity.
  • State-of-the-art technology to reduce human error.

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 9.32.42 AM

This cost-effective approach to product imprinting has numerous advantages, including permanence, flexibility and mark quality. In some cases it can be a great alternative to pad printing, molded imprints, and other options. Several customers have found that laser marking is a great way to have their brand name identified in a fashion that stands out. And with new and changing regulations governing part identification in industries like medical device manufacturing, accuracy and uniformity have never been more crucial.

Our laser marking systems—along with the care and quality you’ve come to expect from the MME team—put us on the cutting edge as we seamlessly execute your products from design to market.

Contact us to learn more about how your product can benefit from high-quality laser marking.