Whether your company intends to sell clothing, electronics, or furniture, the right manufacturing partner is a crucial ingredient to your long-term success. A strong partner will deliver high product quality and timely delivery, while also helping you stay on budget. Long-term, your selection of a manufacturing partner will have a significant impact on your bottom line.
Fortunately, you don’t have to leave manufacturing partnerships to guessworks. By focusing on some key attributes, you can identify quality partners — or determine if you need to move on from your current manufacturer.
The Vendor Provides More Efficient Solutions
A quality vendor doesn’t just throw the book at you when setting up product specifications. A quality vendor listens to your needs and draws on their own manufacturing knowledge and experience to suggest more efficient solutions when necessary. This could entail technical alterations that speed up production or better maintain product quality.
Such suggestions often come from extensive background producing items similar to your own — or even in designing custom orders for other clients. A strong manufacturing partner isn’t content to take your initial specifications at face value. They will carefully evaluate available information to determine if there is a more effective way of doing things, creating a win-win for all parties.
When Manufactured is looking for clothing manufacturers, this helps our clients gain efficiency and becomes cost effective!
Communication is Honest, Free-Flowing and Consistent
Effective communication can improve any relationship — and in manufacturing, it is vital to ensure that product development goes smoothly. A quality manufacturing partner maintains consistent, free-flowing communication with you at all times.
Whether you are communicating via phone or email, you can always expect a timely response. Even when you are talking with different people, they will be consistent in what they tell you, because the company prioritizes honesty with its clients. You can trust them to deliver on their promises, and to proactively reach out to you with feedback or ideas.
Perhaps most notably, quality communication will help you avoid major losses. SHRM estimates that poor communications cost companies with 100 employees an average of $420,000 per year.
A manufacturing partner that prioritizes consistent and honest communication will help you avoid financial losses that might otherwise occur when products or shipment schedules don’t meet expectations.
You Work With the Same People Time and Time Again (There’s Little Turnover)
Relationships matter in the business world — particularly with a manufacturing partner. However, a strong relationship with free-flowing communication isn’t something that springs into existence from the moment you first contact a vendor. It is built over time a you continue to work with your liaison within the manufacturing company.
Working with the same people each time you need to place or adjust an order creates a sense of stability and continuity that enables faster processing of your products.
On the other hand, if you find yourself working with new people each time you contact your vendor, you will likely experience delays and miscommunications as you try to work with an ever-revolving set of individuals.
High turnover with a manufacturing partner isn’t just an inconvenience — it is also a sign of internal trouble. Among the top categories for turnover cited in a report by the Work Institute are lack of career development, poor work-life balance, manager behavior and job characteristics.
While some turnover is inevitable, frequent turnover is a warning sign that a manufacturer has glaring work environment deficiencies that could affect the quality of your product orders.
Manufactured has built very honest and healthy relationships with their electronics manufacturers for several years!
Delays Happen, But They’re Far From the Norm and Never Last Minute
Delays are an inevitable part of the supply chain. Most of the time, these aren’t the result of something as dramatic as a cargo ship getting trapped in the Suez Canal. However, they do tend to result from issues that aren’t entirely within the control of a manufacturing partner, such as material shortages or natural disasters.
That being said, a quality manufacturer is going to do everything in their power to minimize delays — and at the very least, ensure that you aren’t finding out that there’s a problem at the last possible moment. Whenever possible, they will give notice well in advance so your business can make contingency plans if a product shipment won’t arrive in time.
A worthy manufacturer isn’t going to waste time making excuses for why there is a delay or a quality issue with your products. They will take ownership of the situation and do everything within their power to make it right. Quite often, they will already have their own contingency plans in place to ensure a delay on their end doesn’t create significant disruptions for your brand.
Finite In Focus: Their Products and Services Don’t Cover Anything and Everything
The phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none” is an important mantra to keep in mind when selecting a manufacturing partner. You should be wary of a manufacturing vendor that claims it can produce items in almost every product category imaginable.
As Sean Ross explains for Investopedia, “Economic actors that specialize in a task become more proficient at it. It’s the same reason why professional athletes practice before a game or why children write their letters over and over again in preschool; repetition and muscle memory increase productivity. Rather than having every actor practice at producing all different kinds of goods or services, human beings naturally tend to specialize in narrow fields and then trade with one another.”
In manufacturing, a vendor that focuses on a single niche gains unparalleled experience with that range of products. This enables them to fine-tune their manufacturing processes to become more efficient, while simultaneously reducing expenses and delivering higher-quality results.
The repetition that comes from a dedicated focus to a single product category will naturally increase skills, knowledge and productivity — resulting in superior products for your brand.
If you need help finding the right manufacturing partner for your company, Manufactured can help. Our product sourcing software gives you access to over 500 global manufacturers, making it easy to find the right partner for your product category.
With efficient digitally-managed supply chains, you can find solutions that will improve both the product quality and the cost-effectiveness of your manufacturing. A worthy manufacturing partner is closer than you might think.
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