Building a strong relationship with the manufacturer, you end up working with is vital to the success of your business. A strong manufacturer relationship can improve cash flow, reduce risk, make the product development and manufacturing process easier and faster and improve the overall production experience. But having a great relationship with your manufacturer is not as simple as paying them on time. There are many subtleties that you should take note of to build a strong relationship with them. Here are few key points to keep in mind;
Respecting the Manufacturer's Rules of How They Conduct their Business
Every manufacturer works differently and there is nothing a manufacturer hates more than being compared to other manufacturers you have worked with in the past. Telling the garment manufacturer , "the previous factory gave us this price" or "the previous factory did it this way", will not win you any favours with them.
For example, with us we can only give a quote for product development once you email us tech packs. Every design is different, we have to assess the complexity of making each design individually before we can email you costs for sample making. We also only give a quote for production costs after the samples are finalised. The reason why we do not give accurate production figures from the very start is that we know that changes to designs often occur during the sample making phase, which can change production prices dramatically.
Clients should also respect that factories can only make profits on production orders of medium to large scale orders. Asking the factory to produce below 300 pieces per order means that their profit margins will be very low which may discourage garment manufacturers from working with you and if they except to take on your order it may not be the priority on their production list.
Mistakes often occur during sample making process because manufacturers might misinterpret your design ideas. Providing good explanation of the designs you want developed is key to ensuring that the manufacturer firstly, is willing and able to work on your designs and secondly to ensure they interpret your vision correctly.
If you have more information than tech packs such as reference images of designs similar to yours and of fabric you would like to use, we strongly advise you to send them to the manufacturer with the technical sketches. The more information you provide, the less chances of mistakes happening.
Manufacturers can not read your mind and could easily misinterpret your vision if not adequate information about your products is communicated to them. A good tip is to ask the manufacturer to always keep you in the loop as the samples development progresses. Ensure that one of their design team is always contactable on WhatsApp or email and ask them to send you videos and images of the samples as they develop them and before they ship them to you.
Budget for Hidden Costs
Do not expect manufacturers from the get go to tell you, in micro details every single expense that you might incur for producing your collection. It is an unrealistic expectation, if they have not worked on your collection before and they need to make at least the first prototypes to see how complex they are to produce. Also, its not possible to give accurate figures from the start as the designs might change during the product development stage.
If the manufacturer gives an you estimate for production costs before they start the sample making process, always budget for extra expenses to avoid getting frustrated if the costs increase and risk jeopardising your relationship with them.
Expect that some Things Might Go Wrong
Rarely everything goes to plan during production because basically it it not a simple process. Expect that some things might go wrong but if the manufacturer has an excellent quality control team and cares about working with you long term, will spot and fix any issues before they ship the order to you. However if mistakes should arise after you receive the order it is important to stay calm, not over-react and risk severing the relationship with your manufacturer. Most expereinced manufacturers will replace any faulty items without any questions asked. Remember there is always a solution to every problem and no one appreciates working with someone who gets anxious and stressed easily. Showing the manufacturer that you are focused on the solution not the problem will help strengthen your relationship with them in the long term.