When your business makes a physical product, you need to source the materials to make it. How you do this and the materials you choose make a huge difference to the quality of your product. You should already know what level of quality and price point you’re going for with your product. It might be inexpensive but less durable, in which case your materials will be too. But you want to make a better-quality product, so your materials can’t be anything but the best. It’s not just the quality of your product that matters. Your budget and cash flow are essential to consider too.
Sourcing materials carefully is vital:
Get Familiar with Industry Standards
If you want to find the best materials, you need to understand them. Presumably, you learned about various industry standards when you were designing your product. However, you might need to do some more research into which material are best for you. Even when you think a material might be straightforward, there are specialist factors you might need to consider. For example, if you’re sewing a robust garment or clothing accessory, a specialist Kevlar thread could take it to the next level. You may not have come into the industry with a lot of knowledge about standards and technical aspects. However, you need to learn if you want to be successful.
Visit Trade Shows
Visiting trade shows is an excellent way to source your materials. Unlike when you shop online, you can look at samples of products there and then. Of course, suppliers won’t be able to show you all of their stock. But they can often show you swatches or even do product demonstrations. A trade show allows you to get a feel for more than the materials too. It also allows you to engage with the supplier and get a taste for what it might be like to work with them. If you can buy the same material from two different suppliers at the same price, you want the one that provides better service.
Find Suppliers Online
The other primary way to find suppliers is to look online. It can sometimes be overwhelming, as you’re sure to discover plenty of options. You might be able to find a list or database of suppliers for your industry. You could source your materials domestically, or you might use international suppliers. Whatever you choose, make sure you check out the quality of the products before you put in a bulk order. You can usually order a sample, which might even be free, depending on the material and supplier.
Negotiating the Best Deal
Getting the best deal is a huge part of sourcing your materials. You’ll need to negotiate the minimum number of units to order, the price, delivery, and your return options. You might not have a lot of experience with this, so take your time. Don’t rush into buying anything or you could end up with inferior materials. Even if you want to save money, you still need your materials to be good enough to create an attractive product.
Sourcing materials is an important part of the production process. Do it carefully and you will protect your product and your business.