Setting reasonable expectations & working as a team
Whether it is onshore or offshore, manufacturing a product isn’t a straight forward process. A long chain of dependencies come into play, any obstruction along the supply chain will generally cause a domino effect of rescheduling and delays.
When you are not there in person overseeing the process, it is harder to grasp all that is involved and why timelines can be pushed out. Manufacturers don’t purposely push timelines out, they work very hard to stick to them as delays mean more work for them such as re-scheduling workers and additional comminution. It is important to keep this in mind and work as a team to get the result you desire through understanding and flexibility.
WHAT ARE COMMON CAUSES FOR TIMELINE DELAYS?
+ SUPPLIER DELAY: Fabric / trim supplier / dye house / printer hasn’t been able to deliver on time.
+ QC REJECT: If anything is rejected at any stage of the QC process that requires time to repair, shipment dates may be affected. This can occur from the very start of the process where fabrics or trims delivered from suppliers are being rejected in the factory’s QC, through to final QC when products are finished and discrepancies are found that must be repaired before shipping.
+ SUPPLIER SHORTAGE: Fabric / trims are out of stock.
+ SOURCING: Sometimes it is like finding a needle in a haystack. It can take a lot of time to find the desired fabric as well as ensuring stock availability (unless we custom makes it). The combination typically requested of sustainable material, low MOQ, low prices and stock availability is a challenging and time-consuming task.
+ TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS: Bookings for shipments may not be picked up as scheduled or take longer to be delivered than expected.
+ COMPLEXITY & INVENTION PRODUCTS: Any complex, fist time or non-generic product type will always be more trial and error. Your product may seem simple, but once in sampling it becomes more complex and the manufacturer needs more time to get it right.
+ MULTIPLE SAMPLE ROUNDS: Due to new development, design changes, misunderstandings, unclear, inaccurate or insufficient tech packs, lack of sample references, and/or product complexity.
+DELAYED SAMPLE COMMENTS / APPROVALS: The factory cannot go to the next step before comments and/or approval are submitted. A delay by a day or two could mean a 2-week delay in sample or bulk timeline due to the domino effect caused when rescheduling factory timelines.
+ LATE PAYMENTS: No work can proceed without deposits or full payments.
HOW CAN WE PREVENT DELAYS AND MANAGE THEM?
+ CLEAR & CORRECT HANDOVERS: Tech packs and sample reports created by our internal team are made in the format that our manufacturers understand the best. If you provide your own tech packs and request our team to look over them before submitting to the factory, we are happy to do so, however it is not possible to pick up all details unless the job is basically done from scratch.
+ ADD CONTINGENCY TIME: Don’t book work last minute, or work on just the minimum time requirements, chances are, SOMETHING will disrupt the timeline.
+ BOOK SAMPLE AND PRODUCTION RUNS WITH THE FACTORY AHEAD OF TIME: If the factory don’t know your plan’s for the year ahead, they can’t plan workers and time lines to secure your spot. Always plan 2 years ahead for your main sample and production runs.
+ HAVE A CONTINGENCY PLAN: A business planned for seamless processes only, is a business planned for failure. A good plan must have structure with flexibility.
+ VISIONISE SUPPORT: Being prioritised as a single client with an offshore manufacturer, especially if the business is small, new or complex, is generally the riskiest part. This is purely because the business brought to the factory alone may be too time-consuming for the quantitates, not profitable or may not offer financial security and/or ongoing stable business venture. Visionise offer clients more security and higher prioritization under it’s umbrella due to the volume of business and relationships developed with manufacturers over many years of trade. We help to not only streamline the entire process but also find workable solutions for everyone involved if issues arise. Keeping in mind, we work with ethical factories only so no-one is required to do unnecessary overtime or underpaid work.
+ BE A TEAM PLAYER: We understand the frustrations of things not going accordingly to plan but it is important to remember everyone is doing their best because your success means everyones success. Working in partnership and respect is the best way forward in business in general and especially when working with different countries and cultures. Treat others as you would like to be treated.