Photo by Jason Leung https://unsplash.com/photos/83MCWeYaovs
1st August 2019
By Mo Yusuff
It started a few months ago and has progressively got worse.
We don’t know why it’s happening (I do have my suspicions which I’ll share with you in a bit), but it’s now reached fever pitch.
I’m talking about some of our main suppliers and how they seem to have lost the plot.
There’s the mug supplier who messed up the global deliveries of a large order.
This’ll make you laugh…
Rather than use the full address labels that were supplied to make things easy for them, they slapped labels with just the region, for example; Cayman Islands.
A couple of boxes didn’t have stickers at all so the courier kinda guessed where they should go and shipped the mugs due for a London address 5,000 miles away to the Cayman Islands along with another unlabelled box that should have been destined for the British Virgin Islands.
Then there’s the t-shirt printers that decided they weren’t making enough money so they hiked their prices up by, in some cases, almost 50%. Now that’s fine, good for them if they can get away with it. I’m sure we’d all love to charge 50% more and have our customers screaming to do business with us.
And while it seems there’s an easy solution; use another printer, it’s not that simple. Switching to a new supplier for repeat orders means having to pay origination costs again which cannot be passed on to the customer.
There’s been numerous other incidents that we’ve fixed with our customers being none the wiser. Like the supplier who said they couldn’t meet the urgent deadline for a large quantity of totally bespoke notebooks – a quick phone call from me and everything was back on track.
Anyway the reason for me mentioning this isn’t to scare you, but to explain why we fare far better that some of our competitors and are able to keep the pain and hassle to a minimum.
Firstly, we don’t bash suppliers down on price, we rather choose suppliers that maybe charge a bit more but offer an outstanding service.
Secondly we blacklist suppliers with a bad track record, even if they have products we can’t get elsewhere. So if we tell you we can’t supply a certain product that you can get elsewhere it’s usually because we cannot guarantee they’ll arrive in time and be up to standard.
Now my suspicions about why our industry as a whole is experiencing a less than perfect service from some of our key suppliers is this.
There’s quite a bit of competition between suppliers on most of the commoditised products so they feel they need to keep their prices low to compete and the only way they can do this is to cut costs.
When you cut costs, your service or products or both suffer.
So be assured when you come to us, the products we offer and the service we give are the two main things we strive to be the best at.