Good manufacturing practices are good for everyone: the manufacturer, the buyer, and the customer. You must always be diligent about demanding high quality from your manufacturer. If you don’t look out for your business, no one else will. While this may seem obvious it is easy to place your trust in a supplier just because of their name or number of years doing business. We’ve put together some practical suggestions that can be used to ensure you are getting the best quality products for your customers.
Manufacturing companies should already follow best practices for manufacturing, testing, and quality assurance such as Lean, Six Sigma, ISO or Total Quality Management (TQM). There are basic guidelines for hygiene and product safety such as, ensuring that instructions and procedures are written in clear and unambiguous language, manufacturing processes are properly defined, followed, and controlled, and that any changes are clearly documented.
If you do receive complaints from customers about the product you may want to revisit how the agreed upon standards are being enforced by your manufacturer and identify the causes of poor quality. Taking swift action to prevent the same defects from occurring again can mean the difference from a successful product launch and a complete failure. The goal, of course, is to prevent customers from receiving defective products, especially if it can impact their safety.
It is your obligation to choose the right manufacturer for your product and to fire a manufacturer if they are not meeting quality standards. The reputation of your brand and the safety of consumers depends on maintaining the utmost level of quality. In order to accomplish this you’ll need to perform a thorough audit of your manufacturer to understand their processes, training of operators and procedures for inspecting products prior to shipment.
As a business owner, the best line of defense against poor quality from your manufacturer is to get a guarantee of the quality they will deliver. Talk with them and get a written commitment to quality that outlines their manufacturing processes. For example, how many defects do they expect to occur based on the volume of products do they manufacture? What quality control measures do they have in place in order to assure the highest quality products? What steps are taken to recall products or correct errors in the manufacturing process? All of these are very important questions to ask your manufacturer in order for you to understand what is being made for your customers, and the general route that is taken in order to get there.
It also is very important to know how your manufacturer ships items. How do they package the items to protect against breakage or other damage? What is their process and procedures for issuing refunds or for canceling orders? When it comes to shipping, use a company that is experienced in shipping items of all sizes and shapes. They will know how to package and handle the items to protect them during shipping. They will also be able to give you the best rates since they handle such a high volume of shipments. You can read more about this in our blog post about packaging and shipping, Why Your Supplier Should Understand Packaging Manufacturing.
Taking these steps and finding a manufacturer who makes quality their top priority can greatly increase your chances of having a successful product launch or improving your existing products to make your existing customers happier. Talk to your manufacturer and get all the facts from them to see if you are on the same page. Then talk to your freight professional to get the best rate possible and safe transportation for your products. Because, without considering the entire supply chain you will spend time more time putting out fires than scaling your business. It all boils down to being aware of your manufacturer’s business practices so that you can make sure you get quality products to your customers.