A manufacturer and retailer relationship is one of the foundations of a retail business. Unfortunately, manufacturer and retailer relationships don’t always work out. To help you sort out when it is time to find a new supplier, we’ll discuss some of the top red flags that all retail buyers should look out for when working with a wholesaler.
1. The Numbers Don’t Match Up.
It is a primary tenant of business. Make sure you are getting the best price for the products you sell. The price quoted by suppliers isn’t always the best deal out there, so it is a good idea to do your homework. Find out what your competition is paying for similar products, and be sure to keep an eye on prices online.
If you find out your wholesale bedding supplier is charging higher prices than other suppliers, talk to your supplier about the reason. Different suppliers may not offer the same guarantees or quality service or products to undercut prices. They may also not carry ethically sourced products or work with suppliers who do not follow local and international regulations. If they can’t give you a good reason for the higher price, it may be time to find a new supplier.
2. Be Sure They Are Following Local and International Regulations
Your supplier should back up their manufacturing process with industry certifications that guarantee specific standards and practices are followed. They should also be able to provide details on their environmental program, labour standards and quality control measures. If you work with an international supplier, be sure you understand what regulations they must follow and ensure they understand what regulations are required for import/export.
For wholesale bedding suppliers, understanding where they source their Down and feather is essential. Can they guarantee that the Down was ethically sourced and harvested? Can they ensure cleanliness and quality control standards for all of their products? If they don’t have the processes in place and the paperwork to back it up, it may be time to find a new supplier.
3. Won’t Allow You To Visit Their Facility Directly
Visiting the manufacturing facility yourself can tell you a lot about a company and their quality control. Talk to the employees about the safety standards and culture. If the employees don’t feel safe, it can tell you a lot about a supplier's commitment to quality.
Visit the manufacturing floor or their warehouses and see firsthand what quality control measures they have in place. Of course, COVID makes visiting some facilities more complex, and safety protocols and health measures must be respected. Still, If the supplier isn’t open to a visit, it may signify that they aren’t the right supplier.
4. Lack of Communication
Another red flag is a lack of communication when problems arise. A supplier retailer relationship is a partnership, and like with all partnerships, there will always be challenging times. You should be able to clearly communicate any issues with your suppliers and expect a timely response.
Communication is also essential when there are issues with orders, unexpected delays, or even more sales than anticipated. Your suppliers should want to work with you to solve the issue rather than ignore the problem. If there is a lack of communication, or an unwillingness to talk through issues, it could be a sign you need to find a new supplier.
5. Problems with Inventory Management
The pandemic has brought to light many issues with global supply chains and inventory management. Managing unexpected shipping delays and shortages may become more common as the world deals with more environmental disasters and manufactured disasters.
As a supplier, it is essential to have a contingency plan and problem-solve ways to deal with these unexpected shortages, as well as backup inventories to ensure your retail partners get their products on time. With a good relationship with your retail partners, you may be able to find ways around any shortages, or offer other comparable products in place of the delayed ones.
6. Problems With Quality
A lower price is not the only thing that matters when it comes to supplying a product. For most retailers, and especially those in bedding products, quality and ethically sourced products are just as important as a good price point. Your supplier should be a partner in ensuring high-quality standards for the products they provide. If quality becomes an issue, your supplier should do everything in their power to correct the problem and ensure quality control measures are in place.
7. Lack of Capacity to Handle Large Quantities
Not all suppliers are capable of filling large quantity orders with a quick turnaround. Some smaller suppliers may look to increase their sales by bidding on large orders, but have difficulty meeting the deadlines and product orders. Other suppliers may specialize in small-batch orders and only fill small quantity orders to ensure quality and a reasonable price. Suppliers must have the capacity to meet the needs of their retail partners and be honest about their capabilities.
8. Lack of References
A good quality wholesaler will have happy customers that can provide reviews and feedback on their services. If a supplier has no references or is unwilling to give you a customer’s name as a reference, it may signify that they don’t have happy customers, or are not a reliable supplier and are not the right supplier for you.
If you are looking for a new, reliable bedding wholesaler and are wondering how to contact a wholesale distributor, get in touch with our team at Westex International today. We are a family-run business with over 40 years of experience in the bedding and home decor industry. Find out how to become a Westex partner today.