Think Like the Big Boys: Scaling Your Business With Limited Resources
When it comes to sourcing products and packaging for your company, is a lower cost per piece more important than just letting anyone manufacture your products? It shouldn’t be. Yet, time and time again, when an order gets screwed up in some way, we are so quick to blame the factory when, in reality, we are at fault because we became penny wise and pound foolish.
· You can get incredible quality products at a fraction of the cost if made overseas than North America.
· You can get 100% quality and 100% quality guarantees while still saving a ton of money
· You can get faster delivery of custom-made products than if produced in North America
· You can get payment terms from overseas suppliers
· You can get Hot Rush and priority production time from overseas suppliers
Why, then, are we so gullible? Why are we willing to wire hundreds of thousands of dollars to people and companies we don’t know or have never met?
Do What the Big Boys Do
One thing I’ve learned over the years is to always default to what the “big boys” do, whether that is Apple, Nestle, Walmart, or Target. There are several things they would never allow or do in their sourcing processes. And just because a company is smaller doesn’t mean they need to take shortcuts in order to source quality products at a fraction of the cost.
Factory Visits and Inspections
Large companies/retailers would never allow an overseas company to manufacturer anything for them without first visiting and inspecting the factories. If you don’t have the capability to send a representative from your company overseas to inspect a manufacturing facility, there are overseas sourcing partners right here in North America, like The OverSea Network, who already have associates on the ground ready to visit a factory on your behalf.
Before any order is run, large companies receive actual production samples to see and review before giving the final go-ahead.
Comprehensive Purchase Orders
They also have all order details spelled out, along with penalties for not following the order details. Every miscellaneous tidbit is in writing, spelled out, and signed by both parties ahead of any money changing hands. If you’ve typically not placed much focus on the particulars of your purchase orders in the past, it may be of benefit to consult with a partner who has experience in drawing up these kinds of agreements.
Never Say: “Do what you think”
All too often, a client will be negotiating with an overseas factory and I’ll see correspondence that says something to the effect of, “do whatever you think looks best,” or “what do you think would be best?” This is like nails across the chalkboard to those of us with extensive manufacturing experience and, I can say, it never ends well. By the time we’ve taken all the steps to ensure a smooth production process, we cringe when a client grants the factory the liberty of doing whatever they “think” is best. If we’ve done our job right, we know what the factory can produce, we’ve spelled out all details of what we want done, now it is time to let them do their job. End of story. If I allow the results of an order to hinge on what “they think,” that’s asking for trouble. The big boys would never do this.
Dealing with overseas suppliers is a necessary part of manufacturing. As much as Trump wants us to believe “just buy from U.S. manufacturers” is the answer, it isn’t. Many of the components, products, and ingredients we need aren’t made in the U.S. or North America anymore. However, buying from Alibaba or MadeInChina.cn and “hoping” will never result in you being satisfied. That’s where hiring a U.S.-based partner that has your best interests in mind, that has people on the ground at the factory level and understands how to get what you want, when and where you need it--with a 100% quality and satisfaction guarantee—comes in really handy, especially for the smallest of companies who are hoping to scale their businesses without many of the hurdles and financial setbacks that come with “going it alone.”
This is what the big boys do…there’s a way for you to do that too!