Pay on time and consistent
Never forget that production is a business. Both parties are taking financial risks in production. Keep in mind that in cases of mass production suppliers could always choose another company to produce for — one that produces more and guarantees more cash. So be sure to pay on time and be consistent. Be reliable with your orders and all your interactions.
Communicate clearly and often
Communication and in-person check-ups help to avoid misunderstanding in any relationship. At PUMA a representative makes regularly planned visits. We do random checks and we train a person on the inside to be an expert at quality control. This strengthens our relationship with the supplier because the expert is employed by the factory and not by PUMA. This quality control throughout the production process cuts down on mistakes. In prior times we used to wait to do checks when the product arrived. Now with someone on the inside, we don’t waste any time.
Know your strengths and collaborate when possible
At PUMA, we tend to seek out relationships with suppliers who are passionate about their work and who are experts at production. Some are experts at the creative use of certain materials, others at implementing cutting edge technology or setting up their production floors in fast, innovative arrangements. Because we know their strengths going in, we can trust them to set things up in the most efficient way. As a result we are able to focus on our end of the production, alleviating the need to spend time micromanaging. In addition, PUMA participates in a collaborative process with our suppliers. Creatives from PUMA visit the factories each season to do mock-ups and see prototypes. During this time they participate in “co-creation”. Working together, we engage in collaboration over materials and designs for specific products.