Some of the tell-tale signs your ergonomic accessories manufacturer is underperforming:
No business is an island. The key to a successful venture is being surrounded by competent people, whether that’s your employees or your third-party partners.
But sometimes, your partners might let you down, or simply not perform to the standards you require for success.
This is particularly important if you’re an ergonomic accessories supplier -- you need your manufacturers to be on top of their game so they can give you the best product possible.
Let’s explore six signs that your ergonomic furniture manufacturer is the source of your business's pain.
Warning Signs of Bad Ergonomic Furniture Manufacturers
Some ergonomic accessories manufacturers sell their products to OEMs, who then integrate those components into their own product line. But, more often, the initial manufacturer sells to ergonomic equipment suppliers and distributors who sell directly to the customer.
While the ergonomic furniture manufacturer doesn’t have to answer to the end user, you do. So you’d better understand the difference between what are just quirks about your manufacturer, and what might be warning signs of a bigger issue.
How do you tell if your manufacturer is underperforming?
Here are some of the tell-tale signs:
- Overpriced products
- Products don't meet standards
- Poor material quality
- Long lead times
- Poor customer service
- Selling to your customers
1. Overpriced Products
As an expert in ergonomic office furniture, you’ll know if a product is overpriced.
If your furniture manufacturer is overpricing, you’re also likely to overprice your products, which may result in dead stock. Delivering value to your customers is your goal, but if you’re not getting your products at a reasonable price, it won’t turn out well for anyone.
The key to success in a saturated market is competitive pricing, so if you suspect your ergonomic accessories manufacturer of overpricing, review what other manufacturers are offering. You might find a better partner.
2. Products Don't Meet Standards
There are specific standards every piece of office furniture must meet to be available for sale. BIFMA and OSHA ergonomic guidelines clearly outline office furniture ergonomic standards that must be met, including how other supplies such as computers and ergonomic keyboard trays should be designed.
Look for GSA-approved office furniture. They meet stringent measures for safety, ergonomics, and American-made products.
Keep in mind that the consequences of being non-compliant are highly punitive. For example, your license may be revoked or suspended.
Thankfully, if you’re aware of these various standards, it’s possible to detect a problem and quickly address it.
3. Poor Material Quality
Manufacturers have a lot of quality materials to choose from for their furniture: upholstery, phenolic, polypropylene, and sheet metal, just to name a few. Durability and aesthetic value help them decide which material to use for each project.
Sadly, not all manufacturers are genuine. Some use poor-quality materials that mimic the appearance of the good stuff. This can affect the longevity of the product. You won't get repeat customers or referrals if you’re selling furniture built from low-quality materials.
Be very careful working with any manufacturer once you notice any sign of them using low-quality materials.
4. Long Lead Times
Your ability to satisfy your customers' needs on demand is very important. The quicker you can address their needs, the more satisfied customer’s you’ll have, improving the chances of your business remaining competitive.
It’ll be hard to succeed if your ergonomic accessories manufacturer has long lead times, no matter how good their products are.
You may be able to convince your customers to be patient the first time, but what reason will you give them the second, third, or 10th (should you be so lucky) time?
You also need to factor in shipping time -- from the manufacturer to your shop, and from your store to your customers. If all this takes longer than usual, your growth is likely to stagnate.
5. Poor Customer Service
Does your manufacturer give honest, helpful answers? Are you confident they’ll respond in a timely fashion? If not, you’re better off partnering with another manufacturer. Just as your customers expect you to provide high-quality customer service, you should expect the same from your supplier.
The best brands put their customers first. Most have special teams dedicated to helping their customers ’round the clock. Does your manufacturer have such arrangements? Or do you have to wait days or weeks to get service?
Your ergonomic solutions manufacturer should have customer service guidelines in place to ensure you get the best possible experience. But, if your manufacturer is doing nothing to address poor customer service, find another supplier.
6. Selling to Your Customers
While this one is probably very situational, it does happen. If your manufacturer finds out what kind of customers you’re selling to, they might try to cut out the middleman. They stand to make more profit selling direct-to-consumer rather than through your vending service.
If your customers start to get cold feet or suddenly disappear, it might be worth looking into whether or not your manufacturer is poaching your business.
Improve Your Business With a Trustworthy Manufacturer
While it might be easy to stick with your current ergonomic solutions manufacturer because they’re familiar, if they aren’t meeting your needs, then it’s time to search elsewhere.
Having the right partners can do wonders for your business, so ditch the “just OK” manufacturer and find a great one.
Elevate Your Ergonomic Products
Check out our ergonomics page to learn more about what a great manufacturer should offer.
This piece was originally published January 2020 and was recently updated to reflect industry trends.