An organization’s workwear collection is one of the key elements of its identity. A uniform that has been well-executed ensures that staff is recognizable to customers, and it encourages trust in the brand and increases employee pride and unity.
It's most likely a corporate clothing range could be one of the largest bespoke wardrobe collections that anyone will be involved in purchasing, with some of our corporate apparel group's largest retailers having up to 300,000 wearers. With that many people wearing the same collection daily, the corporate wear program must be managed by the right supplier.
Let’s look at the top ten things to consider when choosing your uniform partner.
One of the primary considerations should be the experience of the members within the team who will be dealing with your account, as well as the experience of the organization as a whole. Are they knowledgeable about providing uniforms for your particular sector? It is a good idea to find out their previous partnerships within your sector.
Another factor is who their current clients are and whether they are happy with the service that they are receiving. Ask whether they have any case studies or testimonials from clients that they can share with you. Similarly, do they have experience in maintaining long-term client relationships? It can raise a red flag if a corporate wear supplier is not able to hold on to clients for longer than one contract term.
2. Sourcing Network
If the supplier does have experience or has a long-established history within the industry, then they should have a trusted sourcing network. For example, as a primary corporate wear supplier to source extensively off-shore, Twin Hill has developed an established multi-site global sourcing chain that has been producing quality garments for over 20 years.
It is also a good idea to determine the audit process of their suppliers. Do they use internal or external auditors? How often are the factories visited and audits conducted?
The sourcing partners need to produce consistently high-quality garments and be cost-effective, as budget is more than likely going to be a primary concern. However, it is important to consider the added value that an established sourcing network can provide to your corporate wear program, not just cost.
Whether ethical compliance and Corporate Social Responsibility are at the top of your priorities list or not, it is beneficial to partner with a supplier that is aware of its responsibility to conduct business ethically. Corporate clothing companies should strive to maintain the best environmental practices to prevent waste and pollution during garment manufacture and understand that the health, safety, and welfare of employees, stakeholders, and partners is of primary importance in the successful conduct of business.
It is also worth finding out whether the supplier is a member of any ethical associations or organizations such as the Ethical Trading Initiative or SEDEX.
4. Customer Service
It is well known that customer service can make or break a company’s reputation. Before partnering with a corporate wear supplier, one of the key things to find out about is their customer service system and procedures. For example, do they offer multi-channel contact? Everyone has a preference for the platform that they prefer to use, so it is helpful if the supplier’s customer service department offers assistance over more than one channel.
Customer Service support in more than one language can also be a bonus, to make sure that all of your people can get the help that they need, regardless of what language they speak.
5. User-friendly Systems
Is their company website user-friendly and easy to navigate? Looking at a clothing supplier’s public website can tell a lot about how their other systems might work, such as uniform ordering. It is crucial to ensure that it will be simple for both you and your wearers to order new garments and contact the correct person when you need to. Are their systems secure and efficient? Are they flexible and tailored to meet your specific requirements?
In terms of reporting, are the reporting systems clear and straightforward or are they difficult to understand? Try to find a supplier that makes the process of purchasing a new uniform and monitoring its development as easy as possible for you.
Twin Hill has developed an innovative online ordering platform, which has the flexibility to be tailored to meet specific client requirements. It has capabilities for online chat, self-service order status, real-time product availability, and easy use on PC, tablet, or smartphone, providing accessibility at any time.
6. Time Management
Time management is an essential skill to look for when choosing a corporate wear supplier. Corporate clothing contracts can be for a large number of wearers, so it is crucial that the supplier can stick to agreed deadlines. Otherwise, thousands of people can be left without the workwear that they need to carry out their jobs properly.
It is a good idea to establish the supplier’s average service level at the beginning of a contract so that you can determine how reliable their time management is. Many departments contribute to ensuring that a uniform is rolled out on time, but it is key to find out whether the supplier’s logistics partners are reliable and able to offer fast delivery.
Effective communication is crucial for establishing and maintaining a successful relationship with a corporate wear supplier. There are advantages of having a dedicated program manager who is responsible for being the central point of contact from design through to delivery.
Dealing with multiple people on one issue can use up valuable time for both you and the supplier. An allocated program manager can deal with queries which may involve other members of the supply team, so that you only ever have to have a conversation once, rather than explaining the same issue to several people on different occasions.
Furthermore, there are also important conversations that need to be had with your stakeholders and staff, before approaching a corporate wear supplier. Wearers of the uniform can have valuable opinions on what the appropriate allocation is for their job role, as well as ideas about their preferred fabrics and fitting process.
Stakeholders of the business will also have different priorities, including the intention or purpose of the uniform, the budget, and who will pay for the allocation. Will the organization pay for it, or will the wearers be required to buy their own? All of the above topics need to be considered before investing in a corporate wear program with a new or existing supplier.
9. Financial Stability
In the current circumstances looking for a financially secure company is a must as many companies within the corporate apparel market have been adversely affected.
10. Company Values
Finally, but most importantly, the corporate wear supplier’s values should align with yours for a mutually beneficial relationship. You will probably be liaising with your corporate wear supplier daily for at least a year, generally, and therefore, you need to ensure that it involves people which you believe that you can work happily with for that amount of time. The supplier should also be flexible and adaptable to change.
Be sure to share in the comments below the number one consideration for your company when looking for a uniform provider.
For more information on Twin Hill's capabilities, contact our sales team today at email@example.com.