In business, as in life, there are many choices. Businesses choose vendors based on a variety of issues, including price, product quality, and even the ease of doing business with that company. However, sometimes it can become apparent that it’s time for a change.
But changing suppliers is a big transition. There is potential for disruption in production not to mention the small difficulties of breaking in a new supply chain partner. It certainly isn’t something to be taken lightly.
How do converters know when it’s time to find a new nonwoven fabric supplier?
- Can the product be improved? Is there a supplier who can make the nonwoven fabric stronger, lighter, more fire retardant? If there is a way to make your end-use product superior by changing suppliers, there is a big argument to be made for making the switch.
- Is there a service problem with the current supplier? Do you have any product downtime due to missed deadlines? Do you experience delays in shipments? Is it difficult to get the supplier to make revisions to the product when necessary? Does the current supplier suggest revisions to the nonwoven fabric to make it better? Is the current supplier difficult to work with? These are all questions to consider when evaluating your current suppliers before a contract renewal or during end-of-year product reviews.
- Is there another supplier nearby? It pays to examine suppliers from a geographical perspective. For example, if you are a converter in North Carolina or South Carolina, it would make sense to find a nonwoven manufacturer nearby. Not only would it lower shipping costs over, say, a supplier in New Jersey, but it would also allow you to visit the facility with more regularity to develop a better working relationship.
- Does your supplier have the expertise you need? Some nonwoven manufacturers are better than others. There are nonwoven manufacturers with many years of textile experience under their belt who may have more knowledge than those who have been in business for less time.
- Does your supplier collaborate with you to make a better product? Many nonwoven manufacturers will make your product exactly to your specifications. However, there are some who will ask you to consider a different raw material or using a meltblown process over a spunbond to enhance the product quality.
It’s important to evaluate existing suppliers regularly to be sure that your end-use products are superior to others on the market. It can be easy to become complacent and stick with the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality. However, doing so may cost you business in the long run.