Evaluating & Identifying What You Require from a New Factory Partner
s we have looked into before, finding and selecting the right factory and supplier partner is vital, regardless of industry, to ensure a good quality product is delivered on time and to the right price. Starting this sourcing process can sometimes be daunting and a little overwhelming, so where is the best place to start?
Below, we are going to delve a little deeper into the process, and run through some of the first steps to take.
The process is likely to be reactive, being that a factory is unable to service the requirements any more, or that the business has grown suddenly and more sources of production are required quickly. This makes identifying the requirements easier, but is also likely to add a time pressure to the process. Sometimes however, the need for a new factory is planned after a review of current and forecasted business. Either way, the best way forward is to sit down with all colleagues involved and identify what is required.
Questions to ask are, what type of factory is needed, for example menswear or womenswear, and are there any specialist types of garment that may need particular machinery/technical skillsets?
The next step is to re-identify all areas which are key to your business. Sustainability and ethical sourcing will obviously be top of the list, but now is the time to look at other areas like location.
Location is well worth delving into. Where are your raw materials coming from and is it possible to source a new factory close to this to reduce freight costs and carbon footprint. And of course are there going to be good transport links to get your finished products delivered to the final destination at your expected price and lead time?
Next is to identify what has gone well and well as not so well with past factory partners. Communication is often overlooked at this stage, but can often be one of the breaking points of any relationship.
Finally, it is important to at this stage to identify any technical skills and machinery that you know to be key in making your product. This may be as simple as a buttonhole machine, but remember that some machines cost tens of thousands of pounds so may not be readily available in all factories.
Not having access to these could make life difficult further down the line and add on costly processes, so it’s worth identifying now at sourcing stage so this can be taken into account and alternative resolutions looked at.
The above is just the starting point to identifying requirements when finding a new factory or supplier, and as mentioned before, communication is always key. To discover more about selecting the right factory partner, feel free to read our post on Selecting the Right Supplier to Partner - Sustainability, Quality & Reliability.
Written by Sarah - Chief Operating Officer
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