1. Color matching issues happen on a more frequent basis- Color matching issues in the apparel industry happen from time to time. That is to be expected, since the apparel industry uses a wide variety of materials like polyester, nylon, rayon, cotton, silk, etc., that potentially all have to match each other.
We all know that no material supplier can match every color standard within a CMC DE of 0.8 every single time in all your light sources. However, if your supplier’s color matching suddenly takes a nose-dive and they begin sending you lab dips or production that look NOTHING like your standard or are consistently above a 2.0 CMC DE with no explanation, you must address it IMMEDIATELY with your supplier.
Do not pass go- do not collect $200. Have your corrective plan of action in place and begin its execution NOW. Don’t turn a blind eye and expect that things will get better. Color matching problems that go un-addressed always get worse, never better.
2. Material quality issues happen on a regular basis- Your supplier used to submit passing test reports with every lot just like you required. Better yet, they had an internal certified lab, tested everything internally, and never shipped anything outside your tolerance without forewarning and a darn good reason (and then only on rare occasions).
But lately, they have been sending material to your garment makers with failing test reports and no prior warning or explanation, or they have stopped sending reports with the goods altogether. Perhaps even your garment maker is re-testing the product since there are no test reports, and it is failing their in-house testing, which is now holding up your garment production. Nip this in the bud immediately, by executing your brand’s corrective plan of action.
3. After the issue is brought to their attention, the supplier promises to fix them- but the issue is never addressed fully. Sure, they read and respond to your emails a little faster for a few weeks after you bring the problems to their attention, and maybe they even come visit in-person to smooth things over. But a month later it’s deja-vu all over again, and you’re having the same issues as before.
4. Your garment maker refuses to maintain the simplest interaction with the supplier without you on copy- In the beginning, your garment maker only copied you on the most important issues. But over time because of these increased color and quality issues, the garment maker has lost all trust in the material supplier and is copying you on EVERYTHING. EVERY. LITTLE. THING. In addition, the garment maker may even start to send you swatches of every roll of material, requiring sign-off from you (the brand) before they will agree to cut it and produce your garments. This is CYA at it’s finest, and I don’t need to tell you that you don’t have time to deal with this. gester instruments
5. The supplier changed your material specs without your consent. This is the ultimate sin as far as I’m concerned, and it’s happening more and more frequently in these economic conditions. It usually happens like this: you see increased material quality failures, send the samples off to a 3rd party lab to be analyzed, and the weight is completely off, or the filament type used does not match your material spec sheet. A material failure will often tip you off to the fact that the material that you are being shipped is not what it was intended to be. This happens once, it’s time for corrective action plan. If this happens twice, it’s time to find a new supplier- a true supplier partner.
When is it time to say goodbye? There are way too many quality material suppliers out there for you to be stuck with a poor performing supplier. Issues arise from time-to-time, but if 3 of the 5 issues above ring true for you right now, it is probably time to re-source your material to a supplier who will appreciate your business.