Look for the inconsistencies when negotiating.
One thing I always look for when negotiating apparel production prices are inconsistencies.
This requires some effort at first, but will eventually become second nature, and can save you a fortune in the long run.
It is also a relatively easy way for those with minimal negotiating experience to gain some experience and confidence as you are dealing with facts in front of you, and you do not need much technical know how. It will also send a message that you are a tough negotiator. There is nothing wrong with this, although some might disagree.
If handled correctly, these inconsistencies can be in your favor.
However, you do need to put in the time and question everything. Be prepared for long negotiating sessions.
As I am in apparel, my content is usually based on my apparel experience, but can be relevant in other areas.
If you look at any garment, in any store, you will notice it is made up of many components. Often these components are used on more than one style, and this is often where the inconsistencies occur.
As an example, I was discussing a print with a supplier recently, which was to be used on 5 styles across a range of twenty styles. Now those familiar with screen printing know that there is a cost for a screen. However, this is a once off cost. My supplier was trying to charge me for five screens, instead of one. At around 50 dollars for a screen, this was 200 dollars saved. Small, yes. But this is just one example.
Suppliers have tried this with over 20 styles before. It also sends a message to the supplier, not to try there types of tactics with you. And try they will.
The same print or embroidery may also differ in price accross styles. On one it may be 10 cents, while on another 20 cents. On an order of 20 000 units a style these inconsistencies add up.
Most suppliers do not cost in a proper manner, and will pay for this with a prepared negotiator. They simply look at a garment and give a high guesstimate. They then get into trouble when you ask them to break the price down.
Next time you are at a supplier to get costings watch how they work. They usually simply give the garment a once over, pull out a calculator, and give a price.
Obviously for these inconsistencies to work in your favor, you must not be afraid to ask questions, and call your supplier out. A lot of people are afraid to. You must also accept that the devil is in the detail, and drill down into the smallest one.
Often I will ask how much an embroidery or a print costs. If a supplier says 50 cents, I ask if I remove it and replace with a 20 cent print, will the garment price decrease by 30 cents? The supplier cannot negotiate his or her way out of this, as you are dealing with