Finding a supplement manufacturer is the most critical step in launching your new supplement brand because you can’t have a business without a product to sell.
Since the manufacturer is so important to your overall success, it helps to build a strong relationship.
Here are some tips to either improve your relationship with your current vitamin manufacturer or build a solid one from the start.
1. Set Clear Expectations Early and Often
It’s likely you have a vision for your business, and your vitamin manufacturer needs to work with you to help you reach your goals.
Without your supplier, you don’t have anything to give to your customers. While they are not the face of your organization, they are producing the items that carry it.
Open dialog is important in every step of the process, from beginning to end.
This line of communication needs to come from both you and your manufacturer. They need to be able to tell you what is possible and what is practical, based on established expectations.
As your business continues to grow, be ready to add new product lines and make adjustments to existing products. You need to expect the best from your manufacturer, and they should be able to react to improvements to your line and to industry improvements.
With that said, be as understanding as possible because you aren’t their only customer. They are here to help make your product be successful and profitable. If they are a quality company, they will do everything they can to make it right.
Both you and your supplier will experience frustration if expectations and reality don’t match.
2. Determine the Best Way to Communicate
Your supplier plays an important role in the success of your business, which means you need to establish the proper communication channels so you can discuss any issues or concerns.
Rather than assuming how communication will occur, it’s best to lay out a strategy early in the relationship by asking the vitamin manufacturer a few important questions.
- If I have a question, what is the best time to reach out?
- Is there a bad time to contact the manufacturer?
- Does the manufacturer prefer communications be through a phone call, email, or another format?
- Who is your main contact at the supplement manufacturer business?
- Who is the backup person you’d need to speak with if the main contact is unavailable?
- How long does it take for them to return a phone call or an email?
3. Pay On Time
A supplement manufacturer is running a business just like you. It’s expected that there will be negotiations for favorable payment terms and pricing before placing an order, but it’s best to stick to the agreements.
If something does happen, and you’ve worked hard to create a solid business relationship with your supplier, then they might be more willing to offer flexible financing.
The best way to build goodwill with any supplier is honoring financial agreements and communicating early when there are problems or concerns.
4. Make Them a Partner
Invite your supplement manufacturer to take a tour of your business and meet your team. Bring them on board as a partner. Let them see your vision and experience your company culture.
If your team has several outings or big meetings, ask them to join. While they might not make it to every big event, knowing they’re welcome goes a long way in establishing a healthy business relationship.
When they feel more connected with your brand, they’ll want to be more invested in your success. Furthermore, when you value their insight, they might be more willing to share their knowledge with you about industry trends and other areas of expertise.
5. Leverage Their Other Resources
It’s likely your vitamin manufacturer does more than just manufacture. Ask them about the other services they offer so you can expand the relationship beyond just ordering new products.
At Ameri-Kal, our customers can hire us to design their product label, manage their marketing, and distribute the new supplement. The more invested they become in your company, the more likely they are to work hard to make your supplement profitable.
6. Give Them Time
Supplement manufacturers might find themselves pressed to produce new products for multiple customers. They’ll feel grateful if a customer gives them ample time to complete an order rather than working frantically to meet impossible schedules.
Early in the relationship ask the manufacturer what the ideal lead time is for them to complete a job without overexerting their employees.
The supplier plays a critical role in your supplement business, and they’re likely the most expensive part of your company. Download our free financing guide to receive an outline of expected expenses related to owning a supplement business.
If you have questions about our supplement manufacturing process, give us a call at (405) 225-1804.