Are your suppliers providing you the quality that meets your quality expectations?
Quality is the backbone of your business – without it, you wouldn’t have the reputation in the industry as a quality manufacturer. So, once you have your quality standards set, it’s time to expect the same from your suppliers.
While quality standards will vary, the importance of quality, especially in manufacturing, is a universal requirement. Customers need to be able to trust your brand. To gain that trust, the first thing you need from your suppliers are quality products.
Here are some tips on how to get the quality that you and your customer are depending on.
1. Decide on your own quality standards first.
First and foremost, establish exactly the quality you’re looking for. Have a list of materials and standards that you’re willing to compromise on, and those that you’re not. Is price more important to you, or super-high quality? Establishing all your expectations first will give you a good base to start researching. Also, it will help you eliminate, right away, suppliers that simply can’t meet your standards for any number of reasons.
Also, think about your production needs. Do you require a dedicated production facility for more control? Or, are you willing to go with a shared supplier for a more cost-effective approach? Which is the most efficient for your business model? These are all questions to answer before you think about quality assurance from a supplier.
2. Spend time researching.
Be ready to put time into researching the quality and standards of a variety of suppliers before making a decision. You can visit websites, look at company profiles, ask for references, to see what other customers the supplier is fulfilling.
3. Make sure you “fit” together.
Once you’ve narrowed your suppliers, think about the nature of your organization, business model, and supply chain. Are they prepared for large orders, or quick delivery? Can they supply materials that are only needed occasionally?
Another aspect of fit to consider is location. Would you consider an international supplier for a lesser cost? If so, that’s a consideration, but you may lose some accessibility. If you choose a local supplier, you usually have more control over the quality – but you may have to pay a higher price.
4. Compliance is a must.
After you‘ve narrowed the field further, see what established quality and safety standards the supplier or manufacturer already has in place. This will be a good indication of what they value and how much they value quality standards. Having a base set of standards eliminates a lot of quality control issues from the beginning.
5. Ask for samples.
Ask for samples of the material and test it in your production facility. Have the supplier provide a sample according to your specifications: this includes cuts, finishes, etc. Or consider asking a manufacturer you’re considering to provide a sample of a similarly manufactured article with required tolerances, legs and or angles.
Get the quality that you require.
Finally, it’s about working with the supplier to get what you require from the beginning. You are looking to build long term relationships. When the standards are set, it’s just a matter of choosing the right supplier and holding everyone, including your organization to those standards. Quality can be a time consuming activity, but it is a worthy investment to get the quality worthy of your brand!