Interview with UK’s Leading Retailer – The White Company (TWC)

In order to create greater value to all the Qualpedia viewers especially the Retailers, Importers, Ecommerce, Buying agents & suppliers (Manufacturers), we planned to conduct interviews with top leading retailers who are sourcing from our Asian countries. The thought behind this interview is to share their knowledge, tips, techniques, and best practices they came across in the Retail industry & share their key expectations from their supply chain partners.

As a start, we conducted this interview with “The White Company” who is one of the UK’s leading retailers of linens, home decor, dinnerware, and furniture for more than 2 decades.

We had the opportunity to get the inputs from the “Quality Assurance Manager” of The White Company.

Interaction with Quality Assurance Manager – The White Company:

Qualpedia Team Q1: TWC is known for its beautifully designed white products. In this regard, can you share, are there any special measures you take to maintain the quality of White products?

Expert Answer: We always give detailed briefs with every new product range which outlines the minimum make standard, testing requirements, and packaging expectations. We expect suppliers to feedback in detail on production limitations when going through the red seal stage so that we can consider this for bulk. We always insist on bulk fabric checks to be done and signed off before proceeding to production and have third-party Pre-Shipment Inspections in a place where necessary.

Qualpedia Team Q2: Keeping white products clean and unaffected by light is a challenge from manufacture to distribution and display. How do you overcome this challenge?

Expert Answer: Sufficient packaging is key to this – we want to move to more sustainable options and use PCR within plastic as much as we can without compromising the integrity and protection of the product.

Qualpedia Team Q3: Impressed by your return & refund policy with regards to quality. “If the goods are faulty, a refund will be offered regardless of proof of purchase.” Can you share what actions you are taking to ensure that you are not receiving any faulty products from the supplier?

Expert Answer: PSI reports are key to ensuring faulty goods are not delivered into the business. We also conduct internal inspections on every PO coming into the business and will highlight issues and isolate stock prior to this being sent to stores and customers.

Qualpedia Team Q4: What is the TOP 2 Quality Challenges faced by TWC, While sourcing from Asian Countries?

Expert Answer: Yarn contamination can be a problem so ascertaining this during the development stage is crucial. We have also had issues with the pack off which meant that excessive moisture has been a challenge and made worse in transit.

Qualpedia Team Q5: How do you manage the quality of goods when product manufacture is outsourced by your supplier?

Expert Answer: We require full visibility of outsource hubs used by our supply base and will review these upon initial supplier set up to ensure that their QC processes are in line with TWC requirements. We may also request additional in-line inspections to ensure that goods have not been damaged by handling between each unit and implement a re-review against gold seal to ensure quality is as originally signed off.

Qualpedia Team Q6: What would be the TOP 2 expectations in terms of the QUALITY of the products from suppliers in these new normal times?

Expert Answer: Consistency with raw materials in terms of quality and supply – we understand that this has been the biggest challenge for our suppliers and maintaining bulk quality is key especially when sourcing of raw materials needs to change.

Attention to detail during pack off – we are finding that this part is being rushed when shipping dates are moved and is causing unnecessary rejections to orders and product which was manufactured perfectly well.

Qualpedia Team Q7: What Standards & Quality Parameters should a factory HOLD if they want to manufacture for TWC?

Expert Answer: Best practice would be to have an externally recognized quality management system in place such as ISO9001. If this is not in place there should be a documented quality manual with clear inspection protocol, specifications, and for textile manufacturers a needle/sharps policy. Suppliers are now also being assessed for their sustainability processes and accreditation. Suppliers will be expected to conduct third-party testing with an ISO 17025 accredited lab on a repeat basis. 

Followed by this interview, we are in the preparation of the next expert interview with the Sourcing lead of The White Company. It will be published by the 1st week of January 2022 until then do subscribe to Qualpedia & stay tuned!

Happy New year 2022!

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Sruthi Srinivasan
Sruthi Srinivasan

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