It’s no question that the recent pandemic has sparked the conversation around onshoring suppliers. Faced with closed countries longer processing timeframes and requirements, many companies have felt the impact of working with non-domestic suppliers.
The fact is that today, consumers want products that are very customized, high-quality and delivered on-time. In order to meet those demands, brands need to find a best-in-class supplier. Onshoring your packaging usually means looking for a supplier who is agile and creates a high-quality product. To meet these requirements, companies have to address who their partners are and what they bring to the table.
So, what should you look for when considering onshoring your packaging? What characteristics should a domestic supplier have?
Single Source Suppliers
Typical reasons brands consider offshore suppliers fall primarily on costs. Many companies offshore individual pieces of production to save on expenses, with hopes of retaining quality standards throughout. However, this can often mean dealing with multiple suppliers to achieve the final packaging. This process creates longer lead times with little leeway if anything goes wrong. When searching for a supplier, having a single source supplier that can handle all aspects of production is best practice. This minimizes errors and expedites overall production times by keeping the production under one roof. When it comes to a packaging supplier, this means having structure design capabilities, an ink lab on premises, a state-of-the-art pressroom, and robust finishing capabilities. A turnkey partner will also offer assembly and fulfillment ensuring your product stays in one secure facility from initial design through to delivery.
Reliable and quick delivery times are important to keeping a positive brand image in the eyes of consumers. Therefore, it is extremely important to have an agile supplier. Without the long, and oftentimes complicated export process from foreign suppliers, your brand will enjoy faster turnaround time for both production and delivery. Decreased inventory turn times not only means that your brand will be equipped to handle high consumer demand, but you will also enjoy lower associated inventory costs.
An agile supplier is also one that is flexible to your needs with orders and packaging customization. This means your brand will not have to unnecessarily commit to long term packaging or products, since the supplier can allow you to order less and be more efficient. Agile domestic suppliers can also manage tweaks in the process if issues arise more immediately and remedy any urgent issues on the spot.
A manufacturer’s overall attentiveness and willingness to collaborate with you is key. An enthusiastic and collaborative supplier shows that they care about your brand and your relationship and that they are devoted to providing you with the best solution that meets your needs. Collaboration creates trust and establishing a trusting relationship like this with your manufacturer is one of the top assets a brand can have. It opens the door to honest communication, which allows your brand to take part in every step of the supply chain and ensures that your created product is of high-quality.
Collaboration from concept to completion is achievable with domestic suppliers. Being face-to-face with your suppliers helps create relationships where manufacturers understand the brand’s goals and always have their customers best interests top of mind. Being physically closer, customers have greater control of their product and can benefit from seamless communication practices.
Accurate forecasting is extremely important for brands, as it helps prevent unnecessary expenses, the creation of too many products, and is the most efficient way of managing your inventory. When partnering with a domestic supplier, you can work closely to analyze previous production data, which allows suppliers to better guide and help you with printing efficiencies and inventory management. This helps make your brand more efficient and allows you to order just the right amount of product or packaging as needed.
Furthermore, using a domestic supplier means there is less variability when it comes to delivery times. Deliver from foreign suppliers can be highly influenced based on global political climates, changes in foreign regulations, and unique situations such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. A domestic supplier offers more predictability with delivery times. This allows your brand to create a more accurate supply chain model and helps avoid having a product arriving to a customer later than promised.
Quality products are an incredibly important aspect of a positive brand image. High-quality products help foster trust and brand loyalty from consumers. Low quality products, on the other hand, can cause your brand to decrease credibility in the market, impacting your overall brand image.
Quality control becomes easier when brands opt for domestic suppliers. For one, being physically close to your supplier allows you to get a closer look into the supply chain of your products. Therefore, you can more closely inspect, examine, and avoid any potential issues that may arise. If any issues do arise, it is easier to meet with the suppliers in person and track your product during each step of the manufacturing process. With domestic suppliers, brands have greater control of their product, and allows for seamless communication practices. This increased communication and control results in accurate color targets and other specifications. Not only can domestic suppliers send color targets quickly for faster turnarounds, but there also will be no surprises or disconnect in regard to what your brand expects and what the supplier provides.
It is important to note, however, that using a domestic supplier does not automatically ensure a high-quality product – it just makes it so quality control and transparency into the supply chain is more accessible. To ensure that you’re choosing a supplier that will create a high-quality product, it is important to ask suppliers what they do to ensure and improve efficiency and safety in their operations. Asking about packaging they have manufactured in the past is another helpful way to gauge the supplier’s experience.
Other Benefits of Domestic Packaging & Print Suppliers
From a positive brand reputation to low risks, a domestic packaging supplier offers many other benefits for brands as well.
Having a brand recognized with a domestic supply chain is gives your brand a strong basis for building a positive reputation. In the US, there are stricter manufacturing and labor laws that enforce safe and fair working conditions for employees. This will help customers feel they are making a moral purchase and helps show consumers that your company is an ethical business. Furthermore, a domestic U.S. supplier grants your brand the right to market your product with a “Made in the U.S.A” label, which is a selling point for many consumers for many reasons, one of which being that buying the product supports the U.S. economy.
U.S. suppliers also have access to more innovative techniques and practices, allowing your brand to create a more exciting product that attracts consumers. With a product and packaging that gives consumers a positive or intrigued feeling, there will be a positive impact on your brand image.
Using a domestic supplier also mitigates many risks associated with foreign suppliers and manufacturers. When a brand opts to have a supply chain outside of the U.S., there are no intellectual property rights attached to their brand or product, which allows for easy product duplication. With foreign suppliers, there is also uncertainty when moving goods across borders, lack of quality control, and unstable foreign political environments that can affect production and delivery of your products.
Many companies assume that choosing a foreign supplier will save on costs; however, using a domestic supplier will save brands money in the long run. While a foreign supply chain may offer a less expensive product list, there are hidden costs that many foreign suppliers charge that can make foreign production more expensive. In fact, a case study conducted by Maion Business Solutions compared a U.S. manufacturer with a Chinese manufacturer. It turns out, the using Chinese manufacturer cost 64% more. Domestic manufacturers want customers to be happy, and therefore will often find ways to create run efficiencies, saving customers money.
Sustainability is increasingly top priority for consumers, and the importance of having sustainable products and packaging only continues to grow. Sustainability can have a unique meaning to every brand, but ultimately, sustainability efforts rely on addressing three pillars: economy, humanity, and planet. Using a domestic supplier is a great way to support local economies, while also reducing shipping and storage. Having a domestic supplier is just one way your business can reduce it’s carbon footprint.
Talk to JohnsByrne About Your Packaging Considerations
As a domestic supplier and manufacturer, JohnsByrne can work with you to provide you high-quality, specialized products that meet consumer demand. Our packaging experts will work with you and use the latest technology and innovative practices to bring your design to life.
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