When working with manufacturers/suppliers, it is important to ask the right questions to ensure that you get high-quality products and services at a fair price. Asking the right questions can also help you build a strong and lasting relationship with your manufacturers, which is good for your business in the long run. In this article, we have compiled a “catalog” of 12 key questions you should ask your manufacturers to make the most of your working relationship.
How long have your manufacturers been doing this?
One of the first things you should ask potential your manufacturers/suppliers is how long they have been in business. It will give you an understanding of their experience and track record of success.
A manufacturer/supplier which has been operating for a long time may be more reliable and trustworthy than a fledgling manufacturer/supplier.
The first question is simple: how long has the supplier been in business? This question is very straightforward, but it exposes a great deal of information about your toy manufacturers. Suppliers with a long history will be more reliable than suppliers with shorter lives. It is easy for suppliers to lie about how long they have been operating. This question is a softball that allows you to transition to a deeper problem.
What is your product line?
It is important to know what products or services your potential manufacturers/suppliers offer. The product line can help you determine whether they can meet your specific needs and whether they have the expertise to provide the products or services you need.
This is the question you should ask: which product categories do their sales revenue mainly come from? Some suppliers may focus on electronics, while others may be involved in food or beauty products. Listening carefully to their responses, as this may be a good indication of where you should start product analysis. If suppliers have large sales of electronics and technology, they may be able to start studying these products first.
Can you provide letters of recommendation from other clients?
The first thing you should ask potential manufacturers/suppliers is whether they can provide letters of recommendation from other customers. It is a good way to learn about the supplier’s reputation and the quality of its products or services.
Be sure to ask for references related to your business and its needs, and take the time to follow up on these references and ask them about their experience working with suppliers.
Can you provide samples of your products or services?
Another important question to ask potential manufacturers/suppliers is whether they can provide samples of their products or services. It is a good way to evaluate the quality of suppliers’ products and make sure they can meet your standards.
Be sure to examine the sample carefully and consider any additional testing or analysis that may be required to confirm the quality of the product or service.
What is your pricing structure?
It is also important to ask your potential manufacturers/suppliers about their pricing structure.
This will help you understand the costs associated with working with suppliers and determine whether they provide a fair price for their products or services. Be sure to ask about any additional fees or charges that may apply, as well as any discounts or promotions that may be offered by the supplier.
- The difference between retail price and wholesale price
The main difference between wholesale and retail is the number of goods in a transaction. As mentioned previously, wholesale refers to bulk trading.
Because of the size of the order, the wholesale price is almost always lower than the retail price. To put it simply, the wholesale price is lower because there is a discount for the purchase of multiple units.
But there’s more than that. In the following sections, we will explain some of the factors that make wholesale prices different from retail prices.
- Wholesale volume discount
As mentioned above, the main feature of the wholesale price is that the wholesale price is lower than the retail price due to volume discounts.
Bulk discounts are not uncommon in retail. For example, when consumers shop in the supermarket, considering that they have bought multiple units, they are faced with many deals that offer lower prices.
But there is still a difference between wholesale and retail bulk discounts. The difference is that while wholesale discounts continue, with discounts for all products, retail discounts are usually only for selected products and as part of the sale.
- Wholesale negotiations
Bargaining is the custom of wholesale. Wholesale customers often buy goods from the same supplier, so they want to negotiate prices and terms.
These negotiations usually revolve around price, discount level, and payment terms. But some customers may also demand exclusive products, which means, for example, that they are the only retailers in a region that are allowed to buy and resell certain products.
Depending on the size and negotiating ability of the customer, they can negotiate different deals. Therefore, the use of differentiated pricing in wholesale is very common.
It is much less common to negotiate prices and terms of payment in retail. Of course, some people may try to “bargain”, but this is rarely allowed or considered appropriate.
Can you accept customized orders?
If your business needs custom orders, it is important to ask potential manufacturers/suppliers if they can meet these requirements.
This can help you determine whether suppliers are right for your business and whether they have the expertise and ability to provide the customized products or services you need.
- Do you have any requirements for the minimum order quantity or quantity?
When working with manufacturers/suppliers, it is important to understand their minimum order quantity or quantity requirements. And make sure that you can meet these requirements to place orders and do business with manufacturers/suppliers.
In some cases, you may be able to negotiate lower MOQ or quantity requirements, especially if you are placing a large or long-term order.
- How to make a lot of money with a minimum order?
The minimum order allows you to make up for the typical decline in profit margins in the wholesale business by selling larger quantities-which means you can make sure you get more cash for each order.
Here is a simple example:
Suppose you now make $10 per unit through your retail channel. You have no control over how many units will be sold per order.
Since you want to start wholesale business, you can choose to reduce the price to $5 per item, provided your retailer buys a product worth $200 per order. In essence, this means that your retailer will have to buy orders for at least 40 units.
- How do you ensure the quality of your products?
Product quality is an important consideration when working with manufacturers/suppliers.
By asking suppliers about their quality assurance processes, you can gain an in-depth understanding of their standards and procedures to ensure that their products meet your specifications and requirements.
This can help you make informed decisions about the capabilities and reliability of your suppliers.
How long is your delivery time?
When customers place an order, they want to deliver the goods quickly. A study found that 14% of consumers would abandon the seller if they received a delay in delivery only once. Therefore, if your e-commerce process takes too long to complete, you will lose sales. To retain your customers, be sure to shorten the delivery time.
Another important consideration when working with manufacturers/suppliers is the delivery date. This is the time it takes for suppliers to deliver their products or services after placing an order. Be sure to ask about the delivery date and make sure it is consistent with your business needs.
If you need to receive a product or service in a very short period, you may also want to ask the supplier about its policy on urgent orders or fast delivery.
- Why is the delivery date important?
Understanding delivery lead time is a key part of inventory management because too little or too much inventory brings costs and risks. For perishable goods, lead time becomes more important, in part because of the risk that raw materials may deteriorate, leading to outdated inventory. Even if the delivery delay does not make the inventory worthless, the useful life of the inventory may decrease during transportation. The time spent in transportation-an integral part of the delivery lead time-may means a shorter shelf life.
If the order increases to an unfulfilled level, the customer may lose patience, complain, or move the business elsewhere. A clear understanding of delivery lead time and smooth communication channels can provide accurate answers and make customers more satisfied.
What are your terms of payment?
- Terms of payment.
Payment terms are another important factor to consider when evaluating potential manufacturers/suppliers.
It is important to know when and how the supplier is expected to pay so that you can determine whether their payment terms are appropriate for your business.
What are your return and refund policy?
It is also a good idea to ask your potential toy manufacturer/supplier about their return and refund policies. This will help you understand what to do if the product or service you receive is defective or does not meet your expectations.
Be sure to carefully review the supplier’s policy and understand what steps you need to take to return or refund products or services.
What is your company’s warranty policy for products or services?
In addition to the return and refund policies, you should also ask your potential manufacturers/suppliers about any warranties they provide for their products or services. This may include guarantees of product quality, performance, or life.
Knowing the supplier’s warranty can help you have confidence in the products or services you are purchasing and ensure that you have recourse in the event of any problems.
Can you provide documentation about your product or service?
What is the product documentation?
Another important question to ask potential toy manufacturers/suppliers is whether they can provide documentation about their products or services. This may include product specifications, safety data sheets, or technical manuals.
Access to this document will help you understand the features and functionality of the product or service you want to purchase and any necessary precautions or instructions for use.
Can you provide a breakdown of your supply chain and raw material sources?
It is also important to ask about their supply chain and source of raw materials. A supply chain is a network of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in the production, processing, and distribution of products or services.
By understanding the manufacturers/suppliers supply chain, you can gain an in-depth understanding of their operations, capabilities, and reliability.
Do you provide other services, such as customs clearance or logistics support?
The last question is to ask them whether they provide additional services and the associated costs of these services.
Many manufacturers/suppliers provide a range of additional services in addition to the core products or services they provide, such as customs clearance, logistics security, and other vale-added services.
Asking your manufacturers/suppliers the right questions is critical to ensuring that you get the best possible products and services for your business.
By asking these key questions, you can help you make informed decisions about which suppliers to work with and how to negotiate the best terms for your business.
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