Healthcare Fabrics

5 Risks of an Off-Shore Fabric Dealer

While the initial costs may be lower than a US-based fabric manufacturer purchasing offshore can lead to an increased total cost of ownership.

Container shipWhile the initial costs can be lower, and tempting, there are many hidden costs that make purchasing from an off-shore dealer not worth the risk.  A fabric product dealer is a company that looks worldwide for "buy low, sell high" opportunities. Here are 5 risks that could lead to increased total cost of ownership buying through a fabrics dealer.

Product Inconsistency

Dealers do not always use the same manufacturers on an ongoing basis. They may make buying decisions based on the best price at the time. It is also possible that the components used in the products are changed by the independent manufacturer based on costs at the time of manufacture. Lot to lot inconsistencies leads to unpredictable fabrication results and consumer opinion.

Supply Delays

Lead times for ordering overseas can stretch from weeks into months, and that is when things go smoothly. The supply chain can be fragile and fraught with potential disruptions ranging from political instability and global unrest, to tropical storms and natural disasters, to local holidays, but the the biggest risk for interrupted supply is the uncontrollable risk of delay in transportation. The lengthy process of importing which includes loading, ocean transportation and customs procedures is unpredictable and uncontrollable which can cause production delays or inefficiencies leading to lost sales.

Product Safety and Reliability

Off-shore manufacturers are often little more than brokers or importers, sourcing their products from a variety of ever-changing factories. This pressure is high on those factories to keep costs low, and once product is landed, there is a pressure to sell the material since in most cases it cannot be returned. Quality assurance systems are often lax and incomplete. There have been many examples of product recalls in the recent years, from sheetrock to baby formula. Product safety and reliability is critical in a healthcare environment for consumer confidence.

Lack of Technical Support

Dealers do not typically have research and development chemists, engineers, or quality control personnel to provide you with answers to specific questions or concerns. Requests for information for development can be exhausting and restrictive leading to stress and lost opportunities. Even trying to secure product support and order information can be very difficult. 

Non-compliant Material Replacement

The purchase cycle for the Dealer is generally 14 to 18 weeks.  Therefore, in a case where fabric does not meet specification unexpectedly, the replacement time can also be up to 14 to 18 weeks.  An unexpected situation such as this can again lead to delays in manufacturing and lost sales.

Herculite: High-Quality American Made Fabrics

Herculite started manufacturing high-quality fabrics in the in the United States more than 60 years ago. An early innovator in synthetic fabrics, we went on to become a leading producer of rugged, high-tech textiles for numerous industries. Herculite was founded on using advanced science, rigorous standards and testing, and a little grit in order to make high-quality products. We continue to be an industry leader, all while producing American-made products for global suppliers and fabricators.


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