New to the manufacturing game? Approaching factories can be difficult, and so can knowing what to look for. Here are three key things to note before you get started:
Do they adhere to deadlines?
Time crunch is inevitably a huge part of your operations, no matter how down to the letter you’ve planned everything. You need to make sure your garments can be delivered to stores on time, to maintain professionalism and strong relationships with buyers and retailers. In order to do this, your factory needs to be as devoted to your product as you are. Examine their workroom practices, and note how diligent and organized they are. If it looks like they’re biting off more than they can chew, they’ll likely be in the habit of missing deadlines, which could also mean errors in your product. When you nominate a completion date, you have every right to expert that it’s adhered to.
Do they communicate openly?
It’s essential that you can communicate freely and openly with your factory. This doesn’t just have to be verbal, but perhaps on email as well. It’s integral that they understand your pattern, satisfy your instructions and interpret your tech pack correctly. Plus, it’s often a two-way street: you may need to learn their vernacular to ensure you’re on the same page. Be sure to stress that you don’t mind them calling you to clarify any issues before they start the production process, and make sure that you do them the courtesy of replying in a timely manner as well.
Do they respect other client’s work?
It might seem great when they prioritize your order over others, but soon enough, you’ll see that they’ll be completing other orders – ones that came in after yours – ahead of yours. This will have a domino effect that leads to missed deadlines. When you’re having initial consultations and meetings with factories, observe how they store other designer’s fabrics and tech packs. If they’re treated respectfully, it’s a good indication of how you would be treated, but if they’re in haphazard piles around the workroom, that could be a red flag. Similarly, watch out for how they work with clothing post-production. Referrals are a great way to find the right factory to work with, but if you don’t have that luxury, these tips can help you out.
This post was inspired by an earlier Maker’s Row article by Tabitha St. Bernard.
So, now you know what to look for in a factory. Here’s 7,000+ to choose from!
Want More Factory 101 Lessons? Read Up:
- Launching an Innovative Product with an American Factory
- 5 Ways to Streamline Your Work Process: Inspired by the Factory Floor
- 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Contacting a Factory
- How to Message a Factory