How To Control Production Quality When Manufacturing Abroad

The way to control production quality when manufacturing abroad is much the same as the way to control production quality when manufacturing domestically.  What makes it more challenging is the physical distances involved, which makes it harder to keep communication channels open and even harder to make personal visits to manufacturing sites.  With this in mind, here are three points to keep in mind when implementing quality control with an overseas manufacturer.

Undertake due diligence on your supplier before you sign a contract with them

There are professional supplier auditing companies, which can carry out an audit of your proposed supplier and give a professional opinion of them and these can be very valuable investments, however they generally only tell part of the story.  Basically these audits generally aim to answer one simple question - are there effective quality controls in place?  What they will not necessarily tell you is what will happen if these controls fail.  You need to find that out because, realistically, even the absolutely best processes and controls can fail occasionally and good manufacturers will recognize this and have systems in place to deal with it.  They ought to be perfectly happy to discuss these systems with you.  If they are not, then this should be considered a serious red flag.

Discuss the manufacturing process and actively look for potential points of failure

Your product specification is essentially a set of details about what constitutes a perfect product.  Conduct a thought experiment on the manufacturing process, ideally with your proposed manufacturer and come up with as many possibilities for failure as you can.  Then see what can be done to eliminate or at least reduce these.  This is the perfect time to agree acceptable defect rates with the manufacturer and what processes will be used to monitor these.

Establish a process for testing and inspecting regularly

This is probably the single, biggest bridge to cross when dealing with overseas manufacturers.  You must incorporate regular tests and inspections into any manufacturing plan.  There are two main reasons for this.  The most obvious is that you want to catch any faults, especially serious ones, sooner rather than later.  In very simple terms, the more defective products are produced, the more of a challenge it will be to resolve the issue and in a worst-case scenario, you could find yourself looking at a product recall, which could be both embarrassing and expensive.

The second reason may be less obvious, but it is arguably equally important and that is that you want to be sure that you and your manufacturer commit to continuous improvement and that includes being prepared to improve your quality control process.  If you think about it, historically-speaking, it was only a short time ago that quality control basically meant relying on human inspection, possibly with the help of measuring instruments.  Nowadays, many quality controls can be automated or undertaken by humans with the help of much more sophisticated tools.  Nobody knows where the future will lead, but you do need to stay on top of relevant developments and be prepared to incorporate them into your quality controls where appropriate.

Great Studio Photography in Aldershot

Studio photography offers the greatest degree of control over the environment in which the photograph is taken and is therefore often the best option for situations in which the subject has to be shown really clearly.  Here are three tips on how to ensure you get great studio photography in Aldershot.

 

Look for a studio which specializes in the type of photography you need

We have mentioned this tip before in other articles but it really is the foundation for a successful photo shoot.  Some studios will concentrate on human portraits, others on pets, a few will concentrate on objects (e.g. product photographers).  While these different areas share a common skill set, they all have their differences and hence benefit from specialist knowledge.  Even within these core areas, there can be definable niches, for example taking portraits of newborns is very different to taking shots to be used by actors and models.  Likewise taking shots of manufactured products is different from taking products of food.  Hence you not only need to check whether or not a studio has expertise in a general subject area, but also whether or not it has the skills and equipment for any specific niche within that area.

 

Check that the studio can deliver the style of photography you want

 

There are basically two types of photographers.  One sort has their own distinctive style and is sought out by clients who like that style.  The other sort adapts themselves to deliver what the client wants.  Neither approach is right or wrong, but generally one is better than the other for any given situation.  If a client doesn’t really know what they want, but likes a photographer’s pictures then it is probably better all round that the photographer takes creative charge (with possibly some input from the client), this is often the case in branches such as wedding photography.  If, however, the client wants or needs a specific result, then it’s crucial that they find a photography studio which is happy to work to their specifications rather than imposing their own “in house” style.

 

Make sure that the level of service is appropriate

Beware of being dazzled by slick websites, frankly all that shows is that the site has been put together by a good web designer.  Instead look for signs that the company behind the website has thought about the customers.  Do they state clearly and in plain English what services they can provide?  Do they give at least a ballpark idea of what each of their services is likely to cost?  Do they display their contact details clearly on their website?  These are all basic points which any service-orientated photographer should think to cover.  If you’re happy with what you see on their website, then get in touch and see how you feel once you’ve made contact with an actual human.  Good customer service is a bit like balance, it may be hard to define but you know it when it’s there (and when it’s not).  In particular, see how willing your contact is to answer your questions.  One of the marks of a good studio is that they will be happy to give you all the information you need to make your buying decision.

5 Top Tips For Pubs To Increase Food Sales

Times are hard for pubs.  Supermarkets can sell alcohol at bargain prices to tempt customers through their doors, while lower-cost, large-screen TVs and competition between TV providers all encourage people to drink at home with their friends rather than head down to the pub.  Because of this, pubs need to work to keep people coming through their doors and to get them to spend as much as reasonably possible while they are there.  Food sales can be a great help here, so here are 5 top tips to increase them.

 

Remember the importance of service

 

It may seem strange to put this first, but what people generally remember about any interaction is how it made them feel.  Food critics may rave about the delicious food served in a pub in Dorking, Surrey and possibly overlook middling to poor service, but the average person would far rather eat simple food at a really friendly pub in Dorking, Surrey.  In other words, it’s far more important to have a great atmosphere than it is to be a gourmet gastropub.

 

Be prepared to cater to diverse needs and tastes

 

These days having at least one vegetarian option per course served is pretty much seen as standard.  You may also with to look at potential gluten-free options.  It’s also worth remembering that people who enjoy spicy food are generally able to enjoy well-prepared, milder food, but for all the popularity of curry, there are still numerous people who prefer their food to be on the milder side.

 

Use local produce and producers wherever possible

 

There are certain global chains which have made their name by serving more or less the same food in every location, but these companies tend to operate on a substantially different business model to most local pubs.  Buying local has the added advantage of emphasizing your community credentials.  If you’re running a pub in Dorking, Surrey then most of your trade is probably going to come from in and around Dorking, Surrey, so encourage the people nearby to support your local business by supporting the local businesses, which employ your customers (and their neighbours, family, friends…)

 

Make the most of themed evenings

 

With events such as pub quizzes, where you control the schedule, you can use strategic timing to encourage people to eat at your venue.  With other events, such as football, where you’re up against other options, such as watching it on someone’s home TV, you need to pull out more stops to get their attention and trade.  Promotions may help, but you want to stay away from the “race to the bottom”.  Remember the importance of atmosphere, people like to be where people like to be (particularly their friends) so make sure that you get each event on camera and have photographs of people having a great time on your social media platform and/or website.  It’s OK if you’re not the best at photography, just take as many photographs as you can and choose the best.

 

Food is about presentation as much as taste

Every good chef knows that food needs to look good (or at least decent) on the plate.  These days, it also has to look good on social media, websites and menus, brochures and leaflets.  This means that good food photography is an investment.  Basically good food photography is what makes customers look at photographs of your food and think “Yum, that looks good.”.  Put this together with your “fun” photos from themed evenings (or any other occasion) and you give out a clear message that your pub is the place to go for great food and a great atmosphere.

How to Create a Successful Ecommerce Website

 

Get the underlying structure right

When creating a new website, it can be tempting to focus on the fun parts, such as creating content, but the truth is that websites need to be both robust and usable.  In fact, these days, they need to be usable across a growing number of devices from smartphones with their tiny screens to smart TVs with their huge ones.  They also need to be accessible and for a UK-based business, that is a point of law (The Equality Act 2010) as well as a point of ethics and good commercial sense.  In other words, ecommerce sites need to be built in such a way as to be usable by as broad a range of people as possible, including those with disabilities.

 

Provide compelling content

Content is what sets you apart from the competition, particularly if you are selling goods and services which are available elsewhere.  Resist the temptation to use manufacturer’s standard product descriptions and stock images.  First of all these do precisely nothing to enhance your

individuality as a brand.  Secondly they are treated as duplicate content by search engines, which negatively impacts a site’s ranking.  In practical terms it may not be possible to rewrite all elements of the product description so that it is completely unique (product dimensions for example, arealways going to be the same), but as much as possible should be recreated so that it is fresh.  Stock images are to be avoided at all costs.  As the old saying goes “seeing is believing” and you want and need customers to believe in you and your products.  So hire a good product photographer and get images which will really impress visitors to your site

 

Be sociable

Social media can turn a small business into a huge success story.  At the very least it can broaden the reach of any company and provide a platform for it to engage with people who are interested in what it has to offer.  There are basically two steps to maximizing your level of social influence.  Step one is to have appropriate social buttons on your website to make it easy for

your visitors to share it with their friends and followers.  Step two is to post the sort of content they like and want to share.  There are two golden rules to creating “shareable” content.  

1 – All content must entertain, inform and/or inspire

2 – All content must be succinct.

To clarify the second point, there is a difference between succinct and short.  Contrary to what is often suggested, internet users may well be quite happy to engage with longer content.  Succinct means that the maximum amount of content must be conveyed in the shortest amount of time.  Since photographs are hugely useful for conveying a lot of information very quickly (hence the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”, shareable content tends to be based on quality photographs, either on their own or supported by high-quality descriptive writing. 

Maximize Your Sales With Good Product Photography

Once a product reaches a certain level of public awareness it may very well almost sell itself (think of the eagerness with which new iPhone launches are awaited).  For small businesses however, particularly newer ones, it is crucial to work actively and effectively to maximize a product’s sales potential.  Here are 3 top tips on how to do this.

Make the most of real-world opportunities

Much has been written about the internet and how it has made it possible for small businesses to have a global reach.  This is absolutely true, but cyberspace has become very crowded, which means that smaller businesses have to be very astute about getting that vital early engagement which should, if properly managed, lead to broader reach through those crucial likes and shares.  Hence, even if your game plan is to dominate the internet, think local first.  If you live in Woking, get out and about in Woking and, indeed, the rest of Surrey.  You may not make many actual sales, but you can generate interest and, crucially, point people to your online presence, where your regular content needs to keep them interested.  You may also want to think about having a physical address, which you can give to customers.  Even in this digital age, details such as an address in Surrey and a landline phone number with the right code can inspire confidence since they indicate that somebody can be found in case of problems.

Engage on at least one social media platform

Any business which wants to maximize its sales potential needs to be on at least one social media platform.  This has long gone past the point of being optional.  Businesses can tie themselves in knots trying to measure and analyse social media.  For small businesses however, there are really only 2 fundamental points to remember.

1 - Choose a channel which fits your passions.

2 - If at all possible, use at least one photograph with every post.

If you love to write, then write and use Twitter to post a link to your blog.  Just be sure to use some sort of image with each of your posts if at all possible as there is extensive evidence to show that this does increase user engagement.  For those who love photography and/or are prepared to spend the money on quality photographs, Instagram is an obvious choice.  Those who aren’t confident with (or have budget for) either may find curating content on Pinterest is the way to go.  With the exception of Pinterest, posting content to social media is far more than just a “hit and run” process, it’s important to read and respond to comments too.  Engagement is crucial and it works both ways.

Understand that photographs are vital to success

Let’s split photography into two categories, products and social media.  Unless you are an expert photographer, then product photography is a job for the professionals.  They are practised in walking the fine line between presenting products in the best possible light (literally as well as metaphorically) without misrepresenting them (which leads to disappointed customers).  Ideally businesses should try to find a photographer near them.  If a business is based in Woking, Surrey, it’s a whole lot easier to manage product photography with someone who is also based in Woking, Surrey than it is to work with someone at the other end of the country.  For social media, it may be perfectly fine to use amateur/amateur+ photographs most of the time, although “mission critical” shots, particularly those involving your products are often best left to professionals.  Whatever form of social media you choose, however, remember the importance of tagging and tagging etiquette.  As a rule of thumb use one to three relevant tags.  Avoid the temptation to use every tag you can think of, doing so is likely just to confuse and possibly annoy users.

Good Product Photography in Guildford

If you are a Guildford based business and are looking for the perfect solution for your marketing materials, look no further than The Product Photographers Surrey we offer a professional yet relaxed photography service that enables my customers to showcase their products with maximum appeal to their audience. Our expertise will ensure that products will pique your customer’s interest whether they are used on a menu, brochure or in-house.

Exceptional quality photography service in Guildford

We have extensive experience in providing outstanding photographs of a range of products for businesses from a wide variety of industries. From mouth-watering shots of dishes from local restaurants to making the latest range of clothing or accessories from independent high street shops stand out from the crowd, our photography service can make even the most mundane subject more enticing to customers.

Using our vast photography skills and experience, we can accommodate almost any requirements, including a white backdrop that will enable your products to speak for themselves or incorporating a more natural setting. Whatever your preference, the end result will not only have your customers admiring a great picture, but also have them wanting to find out more about your products.

Why use The Product Photographers Surrey?

Using our comprehensive knowledge of photography, we take into consideration every aspect required to make a stunning photograph. Using the correct lighting, angle, colour and depth are all vital and can make the difference between a good picture and a great one. We apply our expertise to every project to ensure that every image we provide is exceptional every time.

We also know that using a service is not just about the end result. It is also important to deliver fantastic customer service, and this is something we pride ourselves on providing for all of our clients. We are always happy to discuss requirements and incorporate your ideas into our work, and strive to provide a service that exceeds expectations.

Providing photography services to businesses in the Guildford area

Based in just outside Guildford, we are ideally located to work with any businesses in Guildford or the surrounding areas of Surrey. We can work at the location that is most convenient to you, whether this is on site or from our studio, and we provide all the equipment necessary to make the shot perfect wherever it is taken.

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Contact me for more information

If you are based in the Guildford area and would like to find out more information about how our product photography and Food Photography services can help you with your next marketing campaign, email us at info@theproductphotographerssurrey.co.uk

Food Photography in Guildford, Surrey

Food photography isn’t as easy as it looks. It takes skill to get sharp clear images that are realistic, whilst making the food look mouth wateringly delicious.

If you use food photography for your menus, online sales, your blog or recipe books, The Product Photographers in Guildford can create beautiful images for any food photography project.

The Art of Food Photography

The secret of good food photography is to make the food look appealing, realistic and to draw the viewer’s eye to your product immediately. With the right lighting, colour and depth an experienced food photographer can do just that. 

Food Photography and Lighting

Natural lighting is best for food photography, so using a location that provides natural light is ideal, but if it’s not possible then artificial light can be used with the help of diffusors and reflectors. Whether you want to come into my Guildford studio, or have the photographs taken on location, I have all the necessary equipment to take great photo’s anywhere. 

Food Photography and Colour

Colour is important in food photography and knowing which colours contrast well with each other helps to turn an ordinary photograph into a stunning image. If you want your food to be photographed showing a table setting or other any other objects, consideration needs to be given to how the other objects effect the colour and mood of the picture. 

Experience

As  professional photographers we can make the difference to your food photographs because we know about the importance of angles, depth, lighting and colour and how to get the best photograph possible from your food whether it’s hot, cold, a piece of lone lettuce or a dish full of flavoursome ingredients, I can make it look tempting and delicious. 

Food Photography and Style

The fresher the food the better it looks on a photograph, but there are ways of making food look good for photography even if you can’t supply it freshly cooked, chopped or peeled. Iced water, a little oil and attractive, clean plates are all that are needed. Photographs that include steam or movement such as pouring cream or gravy can also have a great impact on the image of the food. 

Ideas

We have a great deal of food photography experience, so just ask us if you have a feeling for a photograph. We can tell you whether or not it will work and maybe suggest other ideas that will bring your photograph to life for you. 

Cost

Food photography isn’t as costly as you think and it can make a big difference to your marketing efforts. Good photography will attract people to your book, advertising material or your restaurant, so it is money well spent. Have a look or my pricing page to get an idea of our charges and if you need a quote then phone us on 07970 025 426 or, fill in the form on our website contact page. The Product Photographers, Guildford also do product and pack shot photography for individual business owners or corporate companies.

Product Photographers in Surrey

Product photography is an excellent way to enhance your products appearance, especially if you want it to look extra special or jump out from the page. We are The Product Photographers and our Photography can give your products that extra sparkle. 

Example post image

 

If you use photography for publicity or marketing purposes, or you are holding an event and need photographs with a special touch in Guildford, Farnham or anywhere in Surrey, UK, talk to us, we can help.

A picture speaks a thousand words

Busy people browsing the web don’t spend a lot of time reading information, their attention span is short and therefore it is vital to get their attention quickly. A photograph does this job because it creates a visual impact that stays with the customer in a way that words don’t.   

With the rise of the popularity of social media and platforms such as Instagram, more and more people are using photographs as a marketing tool and an effective one it is too. According to research, people are more inclined to browse a page with a photograph after a search on the internet, and more people trust a realistic photograph than a product description.

Mobile and Tablet Technology

Many of today’s consumers use their smart phones or tablets to search for the products or services they want. It is much more difficult to read a long text on a mobile or tablet, whereas photographs convert beautifully and engage the viewer immediately.

Product Photography in Guildford and Farnham

Whatever you want to show off, The Product Photographers can breathe life into your product. Clear sharp images that reflect the nature of your brand. A simple photograph that highlights the shape and form or a playful image full of colour and light. 

Product photos can be used to highlight one product, or with other products to create a mood. A piece of furniture can be photographed in a room which reflects the image you want to convey and helps the customer to imagine it in their own home.

Keeping it Real

Have you ever been in a restaurant that uses photographs to show you what is on the menu, but when it arrives on the plate it looks nothing like the image you were looking at earlier? How do you feel, cheated?

That’s why it is so important to show your products as they really are so that your customers know that when they order products from you, online or through a brochure or a catalogue, they can be sure that what they have seen is what they will get.

Short on Ideas, no Problem

If you don’t have many ideas, or you don’t quite know how to get the best out of your product image, we can help you. We can give you suggestions on colour, lighting and form to make sure your product photographs bring out the very best in what you are selling or promoting. 

Adding the Wow Factor

Professional photographers know how to take a photo that draws the eye, looks interesting and grabs attention. That’s what gives it the ‘wow factor’ and gets your product noticed. 

In the Studio or on Location

Your products can be photographed in our  studio near Guildford or wherever it is situated. Woking, Dorking or any other part of Surrey. Our portable studio means that we can bring all the necessary equipment and come to you.

Get in Touch

If you would like a no obligation quote for product photography in Guildford, Farnham or throughout Surrey, phone 07970 025 426.