Building a lasting working relationship is essential when looking to work with a manufacturer. Establishing a relationship and building on this will help you get the best results and ensure that you get a final product that you are happy with. Now, with this in mind, what should you start working on to build a fantastic relationship?
Find Manufacturers That Are Easy to Reach and Communicate With
How you communicate and when you communicate with a manufacturer is important. Great communication is crucial to transactions, and to all relationships. If you cannot establish excellent, open, and regular communication with a manufacturer, then you may find that a relationship is fractured from the outset. When you begin contacting and communicating with a manufacturer, you need to establish a tone for all communications. Take note of how they talk and communicate with you. See what lines of communication they use and why, and then learn to work with this and respect it.
Maintain Openness and Honesty from the Start
Great and lasting relationships are built on openness and honesty. If you cannot establish this in the beginning, then you will be facing an uphill battle. To encourage these key areas, you must demonstrate them and you must encourage them too. So, for example, if a meeting is held between yourself and a prospective manufacturer, be clear about what you want and what you expect. If there are any issues or potential problems, then try and air them as soon as possible. Doing this gives you a good foundation to build on.
Understand Their Processes
No two manufacturers work the same or even offer the same processes. Understanding the processes on offer from a manufacturer is crucial. If you do not take time to establish how they work or what they offer, then you could find that miscommunication comes into play. When this happens, working relationships can be difficult to sustain, and ultimately they can break down. To understand a manufacturer’s process or processes, ask them directly. See what they offer, at what stage, and at what price.
Work With a Specialist Manufacturer Who Knows Your Industry
Not all manufacturers in your industry or area are going to be able to assist you, and if you try to build relationships with those who don’t, you will be misleading all parties. This is because not all manufacturers know enough to provide you with an awesome product. So, for instance, if you are looking at producing a line of sportswear, it is essential that you reach out to USA sportswear manufacturers. When you do this, you can guarantee that you will get the product you want, and you will be able to harness the knowledge, experience, and expertise that a specialist manufacturer can provide.
Be a Great Customer
A lasting relationship is built on being a great customer. You are going to purchase products from a manufacturer, and so in turn you will be a customer. Being an awesome customer is important, as terrible customers do not make for lasting relationships. Being clear and specific about what you want, communicating effectively, and responding to a manufacturer in a timely manner are going to help you be a great customer. If you act in a condescending manner towards a manufacturer, or you break the supplier and customer relationship, you will live a difficult time rebuilding what you should have had initially.
Work on Realistic Lead/Production Times
A big factor in all relationships is time. A lot of issues can be caused by manufacturers unfortunately running longer than expected times. To ensure this does not happen to any relationship you form then always be clear about what production times you expect, and what you require. Also, talk to a manufacturer about what their lead times are. You may find that lead times, and production times vary because of the size of the order. If this is the case, then you need to know as soon as possible to make allowances and ensure production fits in with your timescales and deadlines.
Pay Bills and Invoices on Time
One issue that can be deal-breaking in working relationships is finance and payments. Paying bills and invoices on time is crucial to building strong relationships. If you delay payment for whatever reason, then you have to be aware that this will have an impact on their operations, such as employee wages and operational costs. This is of course not realistic or possible to maintain, so avoid it at all costs.