Want to avoid major production disasters and those small, niggling design flaws that keep you up at night? Of course you do – you’re a perfectionist, and we’re down with that. To ensure that bumps in the road are kept at a bare minimum, we’ve noted three main red flags to watch out for when you’re in the thick of production.
Dismissing Recurring Problems In The Development Stage
When you’re in the sampling phase, it’s tempting to think that imperfections – for example, a drape that doesn’t fall quite right or construction that doesn’t behave the way it should – is the result of human error rather than an oversight in the design itself. Often, it’s more likely that this product flaw won’t just be limited to sample making, but will continue as you start producing your item or garment on a larger scale. This could be due to an unorthodox design feature, or maybe the cut you’ve chosen doesn’t work with the fabric you’re using. Apart from delaying production, the added frustration can dampen the rapport between client and supplier.
Neglecting To Perfect Your Pre-Production Sample
Pre-production, or ‘PP’ samples are the last word in how your product is going to look. They’re issued by factories for customers to approve the final iteration the product before going into production. It’s essential that you work through all of the kinks in the sampling process so that your PP sample is exactly what you want your final product to be. While early samples might use placeholder materials, textures and colors, you should treat the PP sample as the end game. If a supplier attempts to placate you by saying they can fix minor flaws or change details and finishes in the final run, insist that the PP sample is completed to the exact specification of the product. Otherwise, your factory will likely reproduce the PP sample given to them, resulting in friction and miscommunication around product details. To learn more about the importance of pre-production, you can read MI Fashion Proto’s post.
Saying No To A Pre-Ship Inspection
This is the final stage before shipping, and it’s crucial. The pre-ship inspection takes place at the factory site when the goods are completed. Ideally, it’d be conducted before the final payment. Perhaps mostly importantly, it’s done either by yourself – the designer – or an independent quality assurance/control agent. While some factories conduct quality checks internally, the supplier typically doesn’t have a role in the pre-ship inspection, to ensure integrity in the quality of the product. The reason this is done prior to payment and shipping is to protect the designer – after these stages are completed, refunds and corrections are much more difficult to negotiate. If the productive is defective and you’ve already had it shipped, that’s money you’d lose in shipping costs alone, and further corrections and additional shipping could see that cost increase three-fold.
So, while ensuring these three steps are completed may be a small investment, it’ll likely save you a few $$$ down the track!
Want to get the ball rolling on production? Our Production 101 course is the answer – sign up here!