COM (CUSTOMER OWNED MATERIAL vs. MANUFACTURER'S FABRIC

A huge distinction on any bid by any manufacturer is whether the materials being used to produce the product are Customer Owned (COM) or owned by the manufacturer. This single decision on the purchasing agent’s part can affect project pricing by as much as 50%, so it is critical to clearly define and understand the difference between the two.

In light of this we want to share a summary of each option and offer some thoughts that one should heed in making this decision.

Customer Owned Material (COM)

As its label denotes, Customer Owned Material, is customer owned and therefore customer sourced. The basic gist is if you are renovating Hotel A then a designer specifies the fabrics for Hotel A. You then, the purchasing agent, make an estimate of the fabric needed for that job, (most of the time this is confirmed by the drapery manufacturer, in their quoting process) and then you go out and find the fabric. You order it from a textile manufacturer and set up shipping and logistics to have it delivered to the drapery guys! They take it from there and the cost of the fabric is not included in their bid.

Points to Consider – Sourcing, Lead Times, Cost, Logistics

The Ramifications – The sourcing lead time's piece of this puzzle is rather straight forward. As the one buying and delivering the material, in order for it to be made into a treatment, you have to go out and find it in a timely manner. Finding the source of that fabric, contacting them, learning about their stock quantities and lead times for production are all part of the process. The bottom line is that all of this takes time, and time is valuable.

As far as price, depending on a number of factors including the company you work for, your company’s buying power, and the size of the job that you are working on, some textile companies will sell you fabric for an extremely competitive price, but pricing does vary as does lead time. It is important to remember that the customer is responsible for all delays, logistical issues, etc. for any material provided until it is received and inspected by the manufacturer.

All of that to say, if you have a purchasing or procurement team that handles these logistical moving parts then you may be all set to move forward, but know that most manafacturers provide this service as well.
 

Manufacturer Material

You are renovating Hotel A, you take your architectural plans and specifications from the designer, hand them over to the drapery manufacturer, agree to pay what they have quoted for the fabric alongside everything else and… well that’s actually it on your end.

Points to Consider – Cost, Trust/Contract

The Ramifications – When the drapery manufacturer either has or purchases the fabric according to the specs provided for a certain project the biggest advantage for you the customer is that it eases namely two burdens; risk and time. 

When a manufacturer buys the fabric they ask all the questions, work with design as needed and inherit all logistical responsibility. We check lead times and quantities, we know that we may have to add extra time for FR treatment (read our blog “5 Flammability Ratings for Textiles used in Hospitality & Healthcare”) in certain cases and other nuances. We calculate shipping costs, do the research on substitutes and deal with the headache of fabrics that don’t pass inspection. Why? Because we are incurring the risk and therefore we from time to time also incur the headaches and the stressors.

For this we will place a small mark-up on the fabric (typically 5%), but it is simply to cover costs. 

In Conclusion

There are choices in this industry, some difficult, some not as much, some are complicated, some are simple. The one thing that usually remains true is there is more than meets the eye in the midst of them. We hope to help you consider all of those more obscure issues before they arise.

Speaking for Quiltcraft, know that we will inspect, care for and respond to any issues with excellent service regardless of who owns the fabric.

Ultimately you cannot go wrong either way, Customer Owned or Manufacturer Owned, but with this information you will be better prepared to make a decision with confidence. This is all we hope for and in this case we hope you will further consider which option is best for you on each and every project.


Connor's Bio.png