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Entries in Taking a Factory Tour (1)


Merchandising & Manufacturing: Tips on what to look for on a product factory tour

Shane Hayes of and Karin Jeske of StyleData at Mariak Window Fashions, Rancho Dominguez, CA

As a merchant, one of my most important activities is seeing how the products I work with are made, and meeting with the people who actually make them.  As you can see by looking at my client list, I have worked for several window treatment suppliers.

This week, Shane Hayes, Director of Supply Chain for my client,, and I toured 500,000 square feet of the manufacturing and warehousing facilities of a few of our suppliers.  That's like 6 football fields!

State-of-the-art Hunter Douglas facility in Rosarito, Mexico.A factory tour is a rare opportunity to find ways to improve your products.  So, how should a buyer, supply chain professional or merchant approach touring the factory of a supplier or potential supplier?

First of all, wear comfortable shoes!  Plan to be thorough and let your tour guide know that you really want to understand how the products are made.  Be observant as you watch the people and machines at work, and think about how their capabilities could be used in new ways to improve and differentiate your products. Look at different versions of the product being made for other markets - is there anything you can learn?  Ask about their supply chain.  Do they have access to materials and components at reasonable costs and minimum quantities that could enhance your product line?  Think about your corporate values and how this manufacturer fits in.  Is there a "green" or cultural story, for example that your customers would respond to? 

Whether your manufacturer is a part of your company or external, you depend on them to provide you and your customers with quality products that match your brand and your specifications!

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