Quality control for e-commerce
Whether you’re new to e-commerce or have been managing a successful online store for many years, we’re here to make the quality control process a breeze.
Picking the best manufacturing partner for your brand is sticky business.
There are countless factories and zero centralized resources for founders to vet options.
That’s why we sat down with Puja Bhatt, a seasoned supply chain & operations consultant and the founder of Hello Operator, a platform connecting experienced operators with brands in need of support across all functional areas of operations.
In Part 1 of our three-part series, we dive deep with Puja into how to vet and select manufacturing partners for your early-stage business. Below, we unpack topics like:
“There are a lot of qualitative factors that you need to keep in mind and suss out during your initial conversations with suppliers to get a sense of whether they’re going to be trustworthy and reliable partners to you.”
Ultimately, it is integral to the success of your business that your manufacturing partners and suppliers are aligned with your brand. Your product is unique, so most importantly, they should be able to produce to your specifications within your budget.
Puja lists five traits you should filter for in your initial search:
Unfortunately there is no one resource that allows founders to see every single supplier out there based on capability, location, etc. So, you have to use a combination of resources to get the full picture of supplier partners.
Your most reliable options include:
Using these resources, you can create a list of suppliers to RFQ based on capabilities, location, estimated pricing, and terms. Puja recommends that when you meet with suppliers you should read between the lines to get a sense of the supplier’s communication style and responsiveness. Do they seem actively engaged in your brand? Or are they harder to get a hold of as time passes?
Those cues will guide you in the right direction when selecting the right supplier.
“Assess the manufacturer. Does it seem like they're interested in your product and your brand? Do they seem like they're looking for a long-term customer as much as you're looking for a long-term supplier?”
Below, Puja outlines the steps for selecting the best manufacturing partner for your brand.
The two critical reasons to prioritize factory audits
Factory audits should be a high priority for your team — for two major reasons:
Overall, you want a factory that maintains best practices when it comes to safety, working conditions, and ethics. Whatever they do reflects on you and your product.
In addition, ensure they have robust QC systems in place. That’s the other variable that will significantly harm your products and brand if it’s found lacking.
“You want to really, really dig deep into each of your shortlisted suppliers in order to find the exact right partner for you.”
Read on to Part 2 to learn to start manufacturing once you’ve selected your partner!