When deciding which manufacturer or supplier to commission, there are many factors that buyers look for. Of course the vital commercial indicators including: unit cost, payment terms, Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) along with the quality of the actual products goes without saying, these are vital. However there are other factors and qualities that are as important if not more important that would massively influence a buyers decision.
The relationship between the two parties: buyer and supplier is like any other you would expect when working with an outsourced organisation.
The key to obtaining and sustaining excellent working relationships with buyers is responsiveness! Having a partner that almost feels like an extended version of your company is vitally important to buyers and ensuring a long lasting relationship. Manufacturers that are fast and responsive will likely see themselves win more business and also retain more buyers. This can be applied to all areas of working with buyers:
– Sending initial quotes to a buyer
– Making sure sales teams are equipped and trained when following up on leads as quickly as possible
– Sending frequent sample updates to new buyers
– Updates on mass production dates
– Delivery updates and notifications
All of these do not cost the earth for manufacturers and will not affect the bottom line however done well, manufacturers will definitely see an increase of the level of buyers commissioning their services.
Buyers are often located in different territories to manufacturers, so language & cultural differences are noticeable however good communication can be achieved even with such difficulties. Buyers want to ensure that they have regular communication with their manufacturers. This means ensuring suppliers’ Sales and Account staff are regularly updating and speaking with buyers. You can use any communication methods including: Skype, emails, whatsapp, WeChat etc. Leaving your buyers days without updates or communication is likely to cause more issues down the line. Often there are chances to pick up additional business by keeping close contact with buyers. Understanding their business goals, road maps, product development and strategies will help to ensure manufacturers are well placed to be commissioned / chosen further down the line. Understanding your buyers & customers better only comes from communication. So get chatting!
The quality of the manufacturer as a whole is very important. This spans across various aspects of the company from: product quality to ethically sourced materials. More and more we are seeing a more ‘conscious consumer‘ by that we mean, buyers and even end consumers are more aware of responsible sourcing, ethically sourced goods and fair trade products. The manufacturers that are able to offer above and beyond the typical product offering and demonstrate that they are contributing to responsible, quality practices will be in a far better position attracting better customers and more business.
A reliable manufacturer is one that not only delivers On Time and In Full (OTIF) but is reliable with everything from Quality Control, product quality, sample dates and deadlines. Keeping your word to a buyer is very important in ensuring you keep their business for the long term. Cutting corners and not being honest is a sure way that your business will not retain buyers. Buyers expect manufacturers to treat them as if they were part of their business. Create extended partnerships with your buyers and you will be rewarded further down the line.