Cornerstone shares its approach to managing third parties

A step up solution

19th May 2017

Now approaching their third birthday, Cornerstone has grown into a business that works with multiple suppliers and manufacturers. As an innovative skincare brand that automatically delivers high-quality razors to its customers, Cornerstone relies upon effective relationships with these third parties. One of the biggest challenges they face as a business is how to maintain their small business flexibility whilst growing.

Cornerstone founder Oliver Bridge says:

“Working with a range of third parties can be tricky so it’s important to make sure you’re working with the right people. We have deliberately picked experienced suppliers who have worked with much larger, successful brands – the team who make our skincare products, for example, supply some of the world’s top beauty brands. It’s hard to out-grow our major suppliers because they have deep expertise in product development and also our manufacturing capacity. They have the know-how to produce what we want when we want it!”

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Oliver’s best tip for dealing with smaller suppliers who may not have the capacity to fulfil last minute orders is to plan ahead: “Our smaller suppliers don’t always have the same level of capacity to always be able to ‘fit us in’ when we need a batch of products making. For these relationships, it’s key to keep an open line of communication about our expected order volumes so that everyone can plan ahead.”

For Cornerstone, the biggest challenge when dealing with third parties has been the speed it takes to develop new products. With 110,000 customers, they are constantly getting feedback on how they can improve their products, and have dozens of ideas a week which they want to build into our range. In many ways, the world of manufacturing in the toiletries sector is not geared up to move as quickly as Cornerstone is, and often it can take weeks to get new product prototypes back from the R&D teams.

Through trial and error, Cornerstone has found that the best way to approach these situations is to examine the details behind why things are taking longer and push for improvements where appropriate. Companies doing things “the way they’ve always been done” might have backlogs of work, which can be frustrating, but by addressing issues as they arise you will develop a stronger relationship – and get your products on time.

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