When a Good Factory Goes Bad

by | Mar 10, 2017 | Sourcing

By now, you may have spent some time on this blog, followed the advice presented, and done everything the right way to launch your manufacturing venture. You may have a longstanding positive relationship with a factory that has had no failures. Maybe you are completely content with everything about your factory. Remember that complacency is the enemy. It is always important to bear in mind that factories are complex businesses that survive on thin margins in competitive environments. In such a dynamic landscape, bad things can happen. It is completely possible that your good factory could start to miss shipping windows, or send out poor quality products (knock on wood!). Should this issue ever arise, here are a few tips on how to deal with it effectively.

First things first—you should know some of the reasons a good factory may take a turn for the worst. If your steadfast partner starts to struggle upholding their end of the bargain, it might be an indication of a number of issues. It is possible that the owner is playing a less active role, or that there has been a change in management or ownership. It is possible that the factory is experiencing financial hardship. Maybe there has been staff turnover. Maybe they have incorporated new technology that they haven’t adapted to. Some of these issues are easy fixes. Some are more complex.

It is important that you insist on having a frank discussion with the factory, and that you leave that discussion with a comprehensive understanding of the causes of the problems. You should investigate the issue thoroughly, and insist on having all of your questions answered and concerns addressed. You should also immediately start on a contingency plan to move production to another factory in the event that your factory can’t right the ship fast enough.

Throughout this process, you need to be particularly diligent with your communication with the factory. You should communicate the problem to them clearly, and make sure that all parties are seeing eye to eye. You should also be transparent with your contingency plan (or at least the fact that it exists). The presence of that boundary will ensure that the factory understands the consequences of failing to fix the problem. You should also set should set firm deadlines for when the issues will be fixed (going in steps if you need to).

Finally, you need to be prepared to follow through. No matter your history, you need to be prepared to leave a factory that is no longer delivering to your standards. It can seem like it is too much work to move on from the factory you have been working with, but it will ultimately be more harmful to remain in a partnership with a manufacturer whom you can no longer trust to deliver quality goods in a timely fashion.

While this is going on, stay involved, and stay visible. Communicate effectively with everyone involved. Set firm boundaries with the manufacturer. Focus on what is best for your business, and ask for any support you may need by contacting us.

Thanks for reading! Do you have any questions about the article? Is there something else you’d like to add? Leave a comment below and we will get back to you.

Andy Church

Founder & CEO, Insight Quality Services


You Might Also Like…