Making changes, once mass production starts, can either be tricky, difficult or all the way up to impossible. In this post, let’s look at how to handle when making changes are required after mass production has already started.

Learn the path to know if changes are even possible

In order to better manage necessary changes, a buyer needs to learn the production path. By production path, I mean something like this:

  • Once I give the sign-off and make the deposit, what’s next?
  • When will the factory purchase the material?
  • Does the item involve customization?
  • What date will the cutting / branding / manipulation take place?
  • When is assembly?

Knowing all of these, will give you insight on when changes can take place without causing something catastrophic.

Know your points-of-no-return

I call these, points of no return. Once you have an idea of the supplier’s scheduling, ie what process takes place when, then you have an idea of what can change.

Promotional product buyers and distributors, frequently have the mindset of buying domestically since the lion’s share of their orders come from domestic vendors. They’re accustomed to making whatever change their end-buyer deems fit and then sending things back. This is easier to do when it comes to lower volume orders and the domestic vendor is simply branding a stock item.

Once order sign-off happens, the world moves quick

Once the mass production sign-off takes place and the initial deposit changes hands, the world moves quick.

I mean, think about it, most promotional product orders are razor thin lead times, therefore, the factory gets moving with booking material.

The material is book and most likely there’s customization to the material. This customization could be color dye or whatever application. Once all the customization takes place, the factory has a hard time returning the material and absorbing the money investment. In other words, consider they have to put up money, whether their own or the deposit, in order to book material, apply processes, etc…

Become familiar with the speed of the process. Knowing when your points-of-no-return are and if changes are even possible will let you work better with your end-customer and brand.

Will the change cost additional time or money

If you breach one of those “points-of-no-return” consider the additional time and money invested on the project.

Know this in dealing with the end user, that way you can go to them from the beginning letting them know all ramifications. For example, “If you make any changes after confirming the sample and mass production then we’ll be faced with this and this”.

Once the mass production sign-off takes place and the initial deposit changes hands, the world moves quick.

Can the necessary change lead to something worse?

Many times, what seemed like a good idea, actually leads to something worse. Read your supplier and how they are handling your request for changes. Are they trying to dissuade you from doing so?

Frequently your supplier isn’t able to communicate eloquently and clearly let you know all ramifications but if they keep telling you something is “difficult”, it’s not always a self-protective thing. They may be trying to tell you making this change will make the product worse.

Dig deeper and find out if any change is absolutely, 100% necessary and know your ramifications.

Keep in mind that once order changes take place, monitoring and order control are just as necessary if not even more so.

Before mass productions starts