Breaking ties with an existing supplier and switching to a new one is a big decision, and sometimes a tricky one. The change can be disruptive, inconvenient, even risky. But where there are clear reasons and distinct advantages it should be a no-brainer. Here’s our list of 7 reasons to change manufacturing partners you ignore at your peril;
1. To Solve a Problem
If you’re encountering service problems then finding a manufacturing supplier whose service levels remove these is a must. Those who “always do what they’ve always done” won’t have the mindset or values in place to initiate change and cut the mustard!
“Open door” accountability, transparent working practices, continual improvement of processes, and strict adherence to client Service Level Agreeements (SLAs) will all nip service problems in the bud.
2. To Make an Improvement
Human nature drives us away from pain before moving us towards pleasure. So, in our service scenario that translates to solving a problem and then seeking an impovement in the quality of its delivery.
One of Prime’s company values is “we make it better”. You’ll often hear us say “if it isn’t broken try breaking it to make it better”. Depending on the particular product, that might be achieved by personalisation, bringing data skills into play, advanced automation, state-of-the-art hardware, or the adoption of new technologies such as Near Field Communications (NFC) – all to achieve improved results, response, efficiency and savings.
3. For Reliability in Quality and Deliveries
Poor or unreliable quality puts your brand on the line, impedes the customer experience and impairs customer satisfaction. It might even halt your entire production process if it results in a lack of stock. No amount of price-cutting and alleged product improvement is worth staying with a supplier for if he cannot maintain and guarantee consistency.
Monitored adherence to SLAs is critical. But this needs to be backed up by detailed reporting and client dashboards that shine a spotlight on quality inconsistencies and delayed delivery issues as soon as they crop up.
4. To Comply with Regulations
Regulatory compliance is a moving target. Keeping abreast and ahead is a challenge for most manufacturers. The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) is a prime example. If your product includes, or relies on, any use or incorporation of data, it’ll be prudent to move to a compliant supplier – ideally one that works to ISO 27001 standard as Prime does - before the hefty fines for data breach and theft become routinely imposed.
5. For Know-How
A supplier that brings know-how to the party can be a goldmine. If they’re experienced and have pedigree in your market they’re likely to have knowledge (and nous!) that complements, even expands on, what you have in-house. For example, knowing about a higher-performance material, faster printing technology or a specific finishing technique, etc. Sharing that can make for a very real competitive advantage.
And, if they’re an expert in their own field, they’ll have developed systems and working practices that multiply that advantage. Think bespoke portals, APIs, front and back-end development, batched production, etc.
6. To Achieve Better Collaboration
A great working customer/supplier relationship should be a 2-way street - it should be collaborative. Trust, the sharing of deep knowledge, and the development of products and processes together, can result in the partnership eventually acting almost as one single entity. When this happens both parties stand to benefit; it makes for a meeting of minds as opposed to a clash of heads!
7. For a Better Price
A lower finished product cost is the Holy Grail. And the best way to achieve that is, of course, to simply buy cheaper. This gain can then be passed on to the customer as a major incentive for increased sales, at the same time retaining your own level of profit in the deal.
But there’s a caveat; a better price has to be a sustainable one. For example, in the case of traditional print, suppliers were guilty of “buying business” at a loss or untenably low margin. Customers benefited in the very short term only to find that, medium to long-term, suppliers could not match the pricing and many disappeared altogether.
Market intelligence, research, “due diligence” and, of course, site visits should all confirm that a move to a new supplier is a move in the right direction. And if the supplier you’re looking for needs to be an expert in personalisation, with a pedigree and history in digital print and direct mail, has unrivalled data skills, pioneers automation and state-of-the-art technology, then you’re already in the right place!