Who sets delivery dates?

Jenny writes:

For delivery dates, the order cut off date should be set by the DE correct, not by the buyers? And is there a typical amount of time a cut-off date for orders should be: 2 months, 3 months or 30 days? Is it basically the time that I would need to get everything into production and delivered?

Yes, no, yes, it depends and usually, yes. I’ll explain. Yes, you set the delivery date not the buyers. I talked to Miracle about this because I hadn’t really heard of buyers pushing for dates but she says it’s common that buyers may try to push you into delivering on their schedule (which is why she says she’d have a rep if she were going to sell wholesale so that she wouldn’t get pushed into a situation she didn’t want to deal with). She says that some buyers may do this because they may have miscalculated demand for their retail mix and now have some merchandising holes that they need to fill. The latter could be considered a variation of “poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine” so be wary.


As far as a typical cut off date it is usually at least a month but again, it depends on how far in advance you’re showing product. For example, if you’re showing products for Aug/Sept delivery in February, you’ll obviously have a longer cut off date. Likewise, under some circumstances, your delivery date can be subject to change. For example, since you have planned wisely and set a cap on what you know you can produce and if you meet that sales goal in advance of order cut off date, by all means, close your production for that item. I’m sure a buyer is not going to like that but this is the way to build cachet. Be limited. Next go round, this same buyer will be more likely to place their orders sooner because there is no better way to illustrate to buyers that your stuff is in demand than being able to close production on hot sellers.

Typically, your cut off date is a minimum of 30 days hence but not always. If you’re doing a trunk show and cutting to order, then 30 days is customary. Actually, if you’re getting orders of sufficient size and can do them monthly, 30 days would be ideal. The amount of time is really dependent on your product and your model. For example, some companies have staple items they sell year round with only slight seasonal changes such as colors or what not. Those companies typically have monthly cut off dates because they’re running fairly lean.

This wasn’t a question you asked but Miracle says that she thinks that more of the fashion forward DE lines should look at developing some staples in their line that have the potential to be year round sellers rather than trying to constantly churn out new stuff each season. She says that retailers may balk at the constantly forward fashion lines because the price points are very high. Retailers know that premium prices are being driven by operating inefficiencies (be honest). Retailers don’t want to subsidize it because that can amount to “funding” for which in turn they feel entitled to some funding -aka buy back guarantee- themselves.

Related:
Timing of seasons
When are markets held
Buyer’s timing calender
Who sets delivery dates?

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4 comments

  1. J C Sprowls says:

    Re: buy-back guarantee.

    I know this is a loaded and multi-part business-related question; but, here it is:

    1. Is it appropriate or customary for the manufacturer to assess his/her risk tolerance to subsidize a portion of retail sales?

    2. How should I consider dealing with that? Should I factor a loss percentage into my base price before I tack on direct- and indirect-labor, shipping, etc?

    3. If none of these are options, then how do I sell the guaranteed goods that were returned, in effect, seconds?

    4. And, if I could speak with a “seconds” person, what would he/she tell me was the main source of goods (e.g. retailers v. manufacturers)?

    I like the model of this CO manufacturer (629KB pdf). Their core business is as a uniform company; but, they do CMT and private label for small companies, too. Their catalogue lists their terms; and, when I spoke with them, they are unwavering. They really strike me as savvy business folks – in fact, I think I’d like to work for them.

    However, this group does not rely on retailers to earn their bread-and-butter. So they can afford to be more stern in their offering. Is Miracle willing to tickle her retailer network to help us get some objective feedback? I know it’s thin ice; but, I need to understand the retailer’s POV.

  2. Kathleen says:

    I like the model of this CO manufacturer (629KB pdf). Their core business is as a uniform company; but, they do CMT and private label for small companies, too. Their catalogue lists their terms; and, when I spoke with them, they are unwavering. They really strike me as savvy business folks – in fact, I think I’d like to work for them.

    I went to visit their site and wrote them a message as to whether they’d like to be interviewed. In return, I got an extremely rude and erroneous response (pasted in below) in ALL capital letters! Considering the cursory attention I got, I’d be extremely wary of doing business with them. If they can’t listen at the outset, I have few expectations they’ll perform any better in the future.

    From: Deb Webster
    To: kfasanella
    Subject: Re:CustomUniformCo Contact Us Form Info
    Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2006 05:21:24 -0600

    HI. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST. WE’RE UNIFORM MFG. AND YOU CATER TO THE RETAIL TRADE.

    I REALLY DON’T THINK THERE’S ANYTHING FOR US, HERE.

    DEB WEBSTER

  3. Andy says:

    I’m working with a new designer and wanted to ask about sending out samples – what’s the typical time-frame that potential buyers typically get samples back to you?

    Our first buyer got our samples back to us in days, yet to another–it’s been six weeks and we’ve heard nothing, and have followed up with numerous phone messages and a letter, only to receive zero feedback – any suggestions for dealing with dilemmas like this?
    Thanks!

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