The Factored Quality Guide to Supplier Sourcing

The Factored Quality Guide to Supplier Sourcing

Our expert guide breaks down the process of finding, vetting, and onboarding new suppliers for your brand.

Every consumer brand knows the challenge of navigating quality control — from product development to warehouse inventory audits.

Fortunately, at Factored Quality, we’re experts on all aspects of quality control, so founders and startup operations teams don’t have to worry about the details. And we’re going to outline all of the most important steps of QC in this series.

In Part 11, we’re unpacking the ins and outs of supplier sourcing.

Let’s dive in.

What is supplier sourcing? 

Supplier sourcing is the process of identifying, evaluating, and selecting suppliers and manufacturers for your brand’s products. When you know what product you want to build, you need to partner with qualified suppliers with experience in your product category, not just the cheapest cost.

Finding and vetting the right supplier for your brand is more than comparing a few options. Whatever partner you choose must also align with your top priorities, including protecting product quality and making this relationship collaborative. 

To ensure you set your suppliers up for success, be sure to share as many insights into your product as possible, including:

  • Exact product requirements & specifications
  • Estimated production quantity & manufacturing costs
  • Performance criteria for quality control scoring

A high-quality supplier can work with this information to ensure every unit meets your quality standards. 

Supplier sourcing is not a “one-and-done” process for brands

Many brands consider supplier sourcing a one-off task that happens when their product first hits the market, but this isn't the case. There are several scenarios when you'll want another supplier (or two) on speed dial.  

For instance: 

  1. Maintaining product quality. If subpar products are coming off your product line, your brand can expect product defects, customer complaints, higher return rates, lower ratings, and potential revenue loss. To correct this, you have two options. First, you can run multiple factory audits, share those insights with your supplier, and work together on a plan to tighten QC processes. Or, you can source a new supplier entirely — just know that the onboarding process will be costly and time-consuming. 
  2. Meeting quality standards at scale. Some suppliers may not be resourced to scale alongside your brand. For instance, factory size, location, and team capacity can all limit your manufacturer's output. So, if your brand is growing, but your supplier can't keep up, you'll need to find a new supplier who's better resourced or add a second supplier to increase your brand's production. 
  3. Expanding supplier availability. Several factors can influence your supplier's availability, such as inflation, geopolitical tensions, and changing global regulations. For example, 2020's supply chain disruptions remind brands that they can't rely on only one supply chain partner. If something goes wrong, you'll need another supplier vetted and ready to step in. 

To ensure you have this network of on-call suppliers, routinely source and shop for suppliers. Once you find a few backups that fit your brand, keep those relationships warm with constant, transparent updates on your supply chain needs. 

But admittedly, this can be a lot of work — especially for smaller teams. So, alternatively, you can lean on FQ's extensive supplier network. 

FQ’s expert supplier network ensures top quality for your products

At Factored Quality, our commitment to quality control starts with a deep understanding of supply chain dynamics. And it's how we help brands like yours find trustworthy suppliers in a fraction of the time. 

We get it — you need on-call suppliers who are not only equipped to meet your demand but can do so without slipping on quality. That's why our team of experts not only sources suppliers based on your specific qualifications (finding you the perfect partner) but fully vets them. You then get your pick of ready-to-go suppliers. 

Here's how we gather your options: 

  1. You define your product requirements. 
  2. FQ builds a list of 5-20 suppliers that meet your manufacturing needs.
  3. Our team cuts down the list based on minimum order quantity, unit price, supplier location, and more.
  4. Our certified inspectors then run a risk assessment with the remaining suppliers and rank them by performance.
  5. You'll review each supplier's risk assessment report and product samples.
  6. If needed, we'll schedule and oversee an on-site factory audit. 
  7. You get a shortlist of ~3 fully-vetted suppliers to choose from. 

Even better, once you choose which supplier to partner with, Factored Quality can oversee your quality control process from end to end.

Simplify how you discover new suppliers with Factored Quality

When sourcing new suppliers, FQ has only one thing in mind: the quality of your products. Our team doesn’t just connect you with a supplier and walk away. We care about your products and how they reach your customers. From sourcing to customer delivery, we serve as a reliable liaison between your brand and our network of supply chain partners.

Whether your product is off-the-shelf or requires dedicated design and development support, Factored Quality is committed to making supplier sourcing and manufacturing easier.

Book your personalized demo today.

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