While it can seem like a harrowing decision to make (especially if you are far along in the development or launch of your brand), ending a business relationship with a company that isn’t delivering what you expect can prove to be the lesser of two evils. Compared to limping along using underperforming manufacturers – potentially slowing or halting the growth of your brand in the meantime – starting the search for a new partner can drastically affect the success of your company.
So, as a business owner, it’s vital to be able to spot problematic partners before they become full-fledged disasters for your brand.
Picking up on any of these three signs that a manufacturer, designer, or showroom is no longer working well with you, can prove to be a lifesaver for your company.
1. Poor Communication
Perhaps the most obvious sign of a company that isn’t holding up their end of a business relationship is a lack of communication. Phone calls aren’t returned, emails go unanswered for weeks, messages or requests don’t reach the recipient; all of these problems can be impossibly frustrating, particularly when the response is critical to move forward on an important project.
It’s understandable that sometimes work gets busy, and so you may not get a response to a question or concern as quickly as you would like. However, when this begins to happen on a regular basis, even finding out simple information can become arduous, forcing you to miss your own deadlines or goals.
Whatever your personal relationship with a materials producer or designer might be, if they don’t or can’t respect your time enough to get back to you, their dependability is called into question. Whether it’s due to a poor work ethic or being overbooked with other projects, dealing with a company that consistently drops the ball on communication will only hamper your success in the long run.
2. Missed Deadlines
Ask just about anyone in the accessory and fashion industries, and they will tell you how stressful and troublesome missing a deadline can be. And when your company depends on the timeliness of other manufacturers, delivering designs or product on time can be completely out of your control.
During the early stages of a partnership with suppliers and manufacturers, delays and missed deadlines can be expected as both parties work out the kinks in their process. However, if things don’t improve drastically once designs are set and larger runs are put in motion, it is probably a sign that your partner will continue to be unreliable as time goes on.
At this point, it’s up to you as the business owner to decide whether or not you can work with a company that is frequently late with product delivery. If their quality of work or compatibility with your own brand overshadows their tardiness, it might be worth continuing the partnership. But if you feel receiving the goods when you need them will be more significant for the success and growth of your company, then you should look for someone who can be more dependable.
3. Delivering Sub-Par Quality
Particularly when dealing with finished goods, quality control can become a nightmare if not dealt with upfront. Whether it be poorly constructed, sloppily assembled, or made with defective materials, delivering low-quality goods has the potential to dull your image or even destroy your reputation.
As a raw materials manufacturer, we have dealt with our fair share of quality control issues, from bad raw supplies, to accidents in the production line, and even to poorly-packed shipments. But we are always willing to own up to our mistakes, and each incident teaches us to be more cautious and careful with successive orders.
If a supplier consistently delivers shoddy products, even after you have made problems with the material or craftsmanship known, you should consider a new manufacturer. Though you may end up having to pay more for the same service, dependable quality can have an immense and positive effect on the growth of your brand.
When it comes to the companies and people you choose to depend on, knowing when to cut your losses and find a new partner can mean the difference between success or failure for your whole brand or company. If any of your suppliers, manufacturers, or designers exhibit these tendencies in your dealings, you should seriously consider finding a replacement before you invest too much time and money into an unreliable partner.