Questions to ask before choosing a manufacturer

5 Most Expensive Mistakes When Choosing a Manufacturer
December 23, 2015

The manufacturer you choose makes or breaks your experiential marketing project. Finding the right manufacturer for your project will determine the quality and timeliness of the work.

To make sure you’re getting the best work from a manufacturer, here are some questions to ask before choosing anyone.

  1. How will you update me as the project goes through the build?
    1. Depending on your needs, your client’s needs, and your management style, a range of answers would acceptable to this question. Will you need paint and vinyl samples for your customer to approve as the project progresses? Does your client want pictures of the project in progress?
  2. Can you meet my timeline?
    1. We’ve all been in a situation with a client that needs something yesterday. There are many manufacturers that won’t touch a project unless they have adequate time to plan, prep, and build. However, there are facilities that will work on a tight timeline, and excel.
  3. How do you support your work when it leaves your shop?
    1. It’s always great to see the end result of manufacturing, but you know it’s just the start of a long tour. In what ways will they support you if or when something goes wrong? The answer to this question can also give you insight into how the company views the quality of its work.
  4. How many people are in your sales and build cycles? REWORD
    1. Communication is the key to success. If you are sharing change orders with a salesman, and he has to go to the project manager, the procurement office, the shop foreman, and more, your exact needs may not end up getting down to the shop floor.
  5. Would you please itemize your bid?
    1. This doesn’t have to be every screw, nut, and nail, but understanding where in the quote the greatest costs come from may help you get on the same page with your manufacturer.
  6. What are your payment terms?
    1. If you are part of a small marketing company then you know that your vendors don’t get paid until you do. You’ll need to find a manufacturer who can work with your timeline, so you can match your client’s pay schedule.
  7. How much of your work is done in house?
    1. Many manufacturers out-source large portions of each build to other firms. Being business-minded, you understand that this adds mark-up to your project’s bottom line, and could lead to questionable quality on parts of your project that were out-sourced.
  8. What is your experience with similar projects?
    1. This seems straightforward, but many manufacturers will promise a quality product, and take on a project without any prior experience. See if they are the best fit by going through their portfolio.
Imagi-Motive
Imagi-Motive
You Dream It. We Build It.