Whatever the reason for change, with a little forethought, changing your uniform or sportswear supplier need not be painful.
Our tips for a smooth transition:
- Set up a focus group to steer the changeover with an appointed co-ordinator, but keep it small to speed decision-making.
- Good planning is essential – give your existing supplier as much notice as possible to minimise any stock write-offs. Notice periods will depend on your contract, but October or November of the preceding year is fair.
- Allow plenty of time. Consultations and sampling can typically take two to four months.
- Ensure your prospective supplier is financially sound. (If in doubt ask to see the supplier’s accounts). If a supplier does not have the resources to hold sufficient stock, be aware of the disruption it can cause the school and parents.
- Check potential suppliers already serve schools of your calibre so they understand the product quality, range of items and service levels you expect.
- Ask prospective suppliers to demonstrate their Service Level Agreement performance - outstanding service is key to successful school/supplier partnerships.
Where a change of uniform design is proposed:
- Choose a helpful, capable supplier who provides a sampling service as standard, rather than expecting you to sign-off designs on paper. A supplier should have strong relationships with their factories to turn samples around quickly. We recommend schools always sign-off on an actual garment sample.
- Take advantage of your supplier’s knowledge of fabrics, manufacturing processes and the supply chain to guide you - let them take away the headaches.
- Agree a switch-over date and build in a changeover period, commonly 24 months. This enables suppliers to run off their stock and also gives parents value from existing uniform or sports kit.
- Compare like-with-like when evaluating prices – consider the whole package (fabric, country of manufacture and quality, all of which affect cost) rather than simply the garment price in isolation.
For no-obligation discussion of your school's requirements, call us on 01727 815715.