Updated: Jan 6, 2022
By Alex Berryman
Your business is constantly moving and evolving with your market. As you gain sales traction in new markets and expand your business, it is very possible that the manufacturer that was perfect when you started, is now, well, not perfect anymore. Your business needs to scale your manufacturing, by doing so, you can improve your quality and capture more sales along the way.
But how do you scale your manufacturing while still maintaining a consistent stock for your customers? Drawing upon our expertise in manufacturing, we are here to help you know how to scale effectively.
3 Signs You Need to Scale Your Manufacturing
You now take up most of your manufacturer's production time:
Ask your manufacturer how many units of your product they can make each month. If your current production orders are more than half of their annual volume, this might be dangerous. You are not their only customer - because you take up so much of their production capacity, their other customers can easily fill up and maybe exceed their remaining capacity, leaving you waiting until they have enough space to accommodate you. This can lead to longer lead times and a potential limit to your businesses’ growth.
They are not specialized in your product category
Specialized manufacturers’ key strength is that they make a certain product every day - this means they are very efficient with sewing that product and they have established relationships with specialized material suppliers. By working with a specialized manufacturer, you can gain access to important expertise that can save you time (and money) in material sourcing and production, and yield a higher quality product.
Not flexible as you grow
As you continue to grow, you may need specialized machinery or capabilities to create your product on a larger scale. If your manufacturer is unwilling to change with you, and instead go about business as usual, you can lose out on quality advancements and cost-saving efficiencies that could set your product even more apart on the market.
So, if you've determined that it's time to move to a bigger more specialized manufacturer, how you are going to do it?
How to Scale Your Manufacturing
Once you have identified the next manufacturer, scaling up your manufacturing can be a balancing act. While you want to invest in future production capabilities, you also do not want to disrupt your current flow of stock for your customers.
Ensure you have all your product specifications
While you have a few years of manufacturing under your belt, you are effectively starting over with a new manufacturer. In order to save time and expense, make sure you have all your product specifications in order to hit the ground running with your new manufacturer. This includes any patterns, tech packs, and samples you can get of your current product. Manufacturers often tweak patterns and techniques to suit their way of doing things. Make sure your specifications match the product as you want it produced. There will be slight differences between the product made between manufacturers, but providing this material can help ensure a level of consistency.
Allow for transition time
The transition from one supplier to another does not happen overnight - allow time for the new manufacturer to sample your product, source the material, and get ready for production. Depending on the manufacturer and product, this can take up to a year, so ensure you have planned out your purchase orders for at least that long while your new manufacturer gets things up and running.
Ensure you maintain a good relationship with your previous supplier
While your previous manufacturer may not be a good fit for your business now, it is still important to maintain a good relationship. This gives you a “fallback” option in case your new manufacturer is not a good fit and also creates less friction in that interim period, and you are getting things up and running.
At Purnaa, we have helped many businesses scale their manufacturing.. All of them have come to Purnaa for our specialized manufacturing, professional and growth-centered services, and ethical production model. When you work with Purnaa, we provide the perfect balance between structure and flexibility needed to help your business grow. To connect with a manufacturing professional - submit your design here and a member of our team will get back to you.