Finding the Right Offshore Vendor for Retail Displays & Packaging
At TPH Global Solutions, we have more than 50 years of experience in creating and overseeing retail display and packaging that stimulate consumer engagement without the supply chain headaches. One of the most important advantages of all that experience is that we have learned how to steer clear of the problems that can derail an otherwise promising campaign.
We're troubleshooters when we have to be, but the real secret weapon is knowing how to avoid trouble in the first place.
That's why we recommend a diligent and detailed system for pre-qualifying any overseas vendors you are considering for your licensed product campaign.
Qualifying Offshore Vendors
It's a lot of work, but skip this step and you can end up with problems that seem small at the beginning, but eventually threaten to destroy your deadlines, your budget and your credibility with retailers.
Extra effort here pays off in ways you may not even realize until you have decades of experience seeing what can go wrong.
And when you are managing a licensed product campaign that starts in one part of the world and finishes in another, many things can go wrong. Start with thoroughly vetted overseas production vendors and you've saved yourself a world of trouble.
Here are some best practices, and a downloadable Offshore Vendor Qualifying Checklist to give your brand merchandising campaigns a head start on success.
Kick the Bricks
At TPH Global, we are incredibly selective when it comes to working with offshore vendors. We use a detailed checklist, and we follow up with a site visit to be sure that there is a good fit. We look for vendors who can demonstrate solid experience with western brands, with a minimum of 10 years experience and $10 million in annual sales volume.
It's not enough to view pictures and accept verbal confirmation. You've got to kick the bricks. That means traveling to overseas production facilities to verify firsthand that you've got a production partner who can make you look good.
A site visit can reveal problems that long-distance communication and photographs do not. Your licensed product campaign should not be trusted to a vendor until you have on-site verification of the conditions under which your product will be made, including:
- Cleanliness: no evidence of dirt, insects or rodent problems
- Scope & Scale: evidence that the prospective vendor has the capacity to meet your production and timeline needs
- English Language Competency: reassurance that one-to-one communication will not require translators
- Storage & Loading Sufficiency: inspection should provide proof that product will not be stored or loaded under conditions that could expose product to weather or moisture damage
- Experience: concrete evidence that the vendor has experience with similar brands and products – you don't want to be the guinea pig
- Workforce Standards: Evidence of good labor practices and standards
Vendor Deal Breakers
If an overseas vendor does not make its facilities available for inspection, we recommend walking away. Other deal breakers include evidence of dishonest communications, like photographs that create a misleading sense of scale, or equipment that is not in good repair. A site visit also confirms to the vendor that you are a credible customer as well, and that your standards are just as high as those you expect in your partners.
Your Secret Weapon
Partner with us and you bring 50 years of expertise and credibility to your retail displays and packaging. Our clients rely on us for creative designs, personalized service and exhaustive attention to detail, from oversight of the global supply chain, to retailer relationships.
Our clients trust us to do more than just accelerate product sales; they trust us to build the credibility they need to land their next campaign. And the one after that.