As industries begin to mature, companies start consolidating into larger entities. Corporations say that mergers and acquisitions help them deliver more products to more people but it can also create difficulties for their customers. Merging plants, filling out paperwork and training employees all take priority and that can leave customers on the wayside.  Not to mention, that M&A makes plants very inefficient in the short-term and maybe even longer. This can result in product defects and delayed orders, significantly affecting the bottom line of their customers.



How to Protect Your Supply Chain

The only way to avoid this problem outright is to ensure your supply chain has a crisis plan in place. Most often companies that are too reliant on just one supplier can be punished by having their supply not able to keep up with demand. A good option is to establish relationships with multiple vendors so that when problems occur you are able to switch gears.


In the swatching industry, it is already commonplace to have multiple vendors since companies do so much sampling and the spikes in demand make it difficult to operate at full capacity throughout the year. On top of that, it can take awhile to get materials and artwork approved, further delaying production runs. This costs fabric manufacturers a pretty penny because that’s time they could be spending putting their samples in the hands of their customers.


While most companies have multiple sampling vendors, consolidation in the industry is making that tougher to accomplish. Many of the major players have recently begun to consolidate into larger entities. This means that even companies with multiple vendors may have fewer than they did before. So, what course of action should be taken?



Leverage New Relationships

The best way to protect your supply chain is to ensure you have strong relationships with several vendors. There may be some concerns about the quality and reliability of these new vendors because you haven’t worked with them before. However, start by giving them small jobs to begin with, which will allow your team to inspect the quality of the samples, the lead time and how the project was managed. If it was a success then you can have faith in them going forward, possibly even increasing the amount of sampling they do for you.


Sampling is simply too crucial to your business for it to be neglected. Customers still need to see and feel your material prior to purchasing. Without high-quality samples received on time, your marketing efforts will be thwarted and your revenue will dry up. Make sure that you have a backup plan in place so that if any issues arise, you will still be able to get your product out there. Your customers will thank you.




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