The average consumer might be surprised to learn the number of steps it takes to get a product on the shelves of their local grocery or discount superstore. Sometimes a single product will require five, ten or more than 20 different suppliers before it rolls out to the consumer level. Converting companies are fully aware of the complex chain of suppliers and logistics required to get their products to market.
But what happens when a supplier doesn’t get delivered the material on time? Or, what if there are quality issues with your current nonwoven supplier? When there is a breakdown in the supplier chain, converting companies need to find a replacement…fast. But finding a supplier who can produce the quality nonwovens needed for high-performance products can be difficult. Asking a few insightful questions can ensure that you get the materials you need from a supplier you trust.
- Is there a minimum order? It’s important to know if your volume needs can be met by a new supplier. If you only need 5 rolls of nonwoven fabric and the new supplier has a 10-roll minimum, you may need to negotiate or find a new supplier who can meet your volume needs.
- What are the payment terms? Most businesses offer net 15- or 30-day terms but others require pre-payment or COD (Cash On Delivery). Be sure that you understand and negotiate the payment terms prior to placing an order with a new supplier.
- How will I be informed of price changes? Sometimes pricing changes due to raw materials price fluctuations, demand, labor costs, or other factors. Review your estimates before placing an order and ask if you can expect similar pricing for another order. Alternatively, draw up a contract with a new supplier so that you lock in the prices you need for your long-term manufacturing needs.
- When does the product belong to you? It’s important to figure out if the new nonwovens you’re purchasing belong to you as soon as the fabric leaves the factory or if ownership is transferred when it arrives at your manufacturing dock. Determining product ownership transfer is critical for product liability.
- What other products can you produce? Your new nonwovens supplier may manufacture products that can help you in the manufacture of other products. Perhaps they don’t just offer spunbond products but also meltblown? Different types of nonwoven fabrics offer different characteristics that can benefit your end-use product.
Engaging a new nonwovens supplier to meet your production needs doesn’t have to be stressful. And, keep in mind that it’s important to find a new supplier before your needs become critical. Start interviewing different candidates before you need them so that, if the need arises, you have a new nonwovens supplier ready to engage if your supply chain breaks down.