You’re not a distributor, I’m not a product manufacturer

Contract manufacturing is a tricky business sometimes. I’m given the specs of the product/invention/item, and we go to work to make it. I can make a lot of things for a lot of different industries. But we’re not  product application experts. I can’t replicate the environment where your product is used and don’t conduct market research before it leaves the door.

So I always have a conversation with my customer before they place an order that goes something like, “Remember, you’re not a distributor, and I’m not a product manufacturer”. Meaning…I don’t make products, I provide a service.  I can make a product exactly the way it is spec’d, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work/fit your application. Never take receipt of your order and ship it out without checking it first. Maybe the specs you supplied were wrong? Maybe there are small tolerances in some of the dimenions. Maybe there were slight differences in the raw materials that were not perceptible to the sewer.

Sewing is not and will never be a science of perfection, but always an art. Ever look at a roll of fabric, you’ll certainly find imperfections. Order a roll of 1″ web strap sometime and grab a ruler. From end end to end, you’ll likely find width measurements anywhere between 7/8″ to 1-1/8″. It’s not perfect and issues can and do arise in a world where you rely on visual inspection. It’s the nature of human error. 2% rejection rate is not uncommon in the textile world. We’re proud of our craftsmanship, but my customers always know to check and test their product before it is sold. My production staff  completes in the neighborhood of 75-100 custom jobs every month. We’ll never be the experts. Our knowledge is wide, but not deep.

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