Purchasing tips

9 tips when purchasing premium products

For many, purchasing promotional products will be an occasional rather than a daily task. For this reason, we have collected some helpful tips below, which highlight a number of points for attention during the purchasing process.

1 | Certification

Check whether the manufacturer has been awarded any certifications. Since it is the manufacturer that produces the items, their certificate will be more important than that of the supplier. Check for example whether the manufacturer holds an EPPA, SMETA or BSCI certificate.

2 | Prices

When looking at prices, there are several aspects to take into account:

  • The quantity is a decisive factor. The rule of thumb often is the higher the quantity, the lower the item price.
  • If the supplier is given the freedom to design an item based on a theme, target group, promotion or a specific quantity, they can work out proposals based on the price the client has in mind. This is often more cost effective compared to choosing a standard/fixed product.
  • Longer delivery times can also result in reduced costs as they may create scope for group buying or planning production in favourable periods.
  • The type of print and the number of colours to be used also have an impact on the price. In general, more complex printing and a higher number of colours are reflected in a higher price.

3 | Transparency of the service

Naturally, the product quality is paramount. Samples can be used to compare the quality of the materials. Consider, for example, the weight of the product. If an order is placed in good time, there will be sufficient time to receive samples prior to the final delivery. When ordering a premium product, the supplier's experience and advice will also play a major role in obtaining that perfect end result.

4 | Supplier's knowledge and expertise

A supplier will be well-positioned if they have employees on the ground in China to carry out regular checks in the factories. It is also a good idea to check which other companies the supplier works with and how long they have worked together. Was this a one-off collaboration or is there a longstanding relationship between the supplier and the client?

A supplier that is well-positioned is able to finance the order in full in advance. There should be no need for advance payments.

5 | Guarantee

Agree a delivery guarantee with your supplier. This ensures that if the supplier is at risk of missing the delivery deadlines, they will need to arrange air freight at their own expense to ensure the deadline is met. It is also advisable to agree an acceptable quality limit (AQL for short). This means that the supplier will test whether the product meets all the requirements by means of random samples. If the error rate is too high, new items will be manufactured.

Where appropriate, the client and the supplier can also make arrangements with regard to the intellectual property rights in the design. They will decide in mutual consultation which party will have ownership of the design and whether the product can also be manufactured on behalf of other clients.

6 | Partner or supplier?

A long-term relationship between the client and the supplier means processing orders and making adaptations is done swiftly.

7 | Flexibility of the service

There are three types of suppliers. Suppliers either:

  • buy 100% of their products in Europe. They cannot offer flexibility where premium products are concerned.
  • buy 70% of their products in Europe and a maximum of 30% in Asia. These suppliers are ‘risky’ as they are unable to carry out all the required checks.
  • buy at least 70% of their products in Asia. These suppliers offer a lot of flexibility and experience and are able to quickly change manufacturers in the event of problems. For these suppliers, providing samples is a standard part of their process. This type of supplier will also request samples when ordering products in Europe. This benefits the end result and the product quality.

8 | Communication and contact

It is beneficial if the supplier has dedicated teams to carry out the different aspects of the order: sales, back office, field service, design and purchasing. There will be frequent contact between the client and the supplier in order to ensure the process as a whole runs as smoothly as possible. It helps both parties to know exactly who they need to contact. Having a fixed point of contact to handle the communication between the client and the supplier will reduce misunderstandings.

9 | Country of origin

The Far East is the source of countless promotional products as it offers endless possibilities with regard to delivery time, pricing, options and creativity. The key is to keep the number of intermediaries to an absolute minimum. This prevents errors and ensures products can be offered at a competitive price, while at the same time increasing flexibility and creativity with regard to the end product.

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