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Do brand name apparel companies have long-term contracts with specific factories to make their goods?


Generally, the requirement is mutual. Thus often, no long-term contracts are signed to retain flexibility as both would continue working with each other till expectations are met at both ends.
Large companies have a set of requirements that guides their decision making on the choice of factories to get their work done:
1. Quality consistency
2. On-time delivery
3. Adherence to fair trade policies
4. Long term viability

Once they have a requirement for a new factory, they look for ones that they believe can do their work. Over a few samples and iterations the decision is made. Once a relation is established and quality is set, the work goes on as both need each other.

The factory is generally more than willing to work with a larger company as there is regular work available. 

Generally, there are reasons for a relationships ending:
1. Rate: The companies are constantly looking at driving the cost down, often pitching one factory against the other for bargaining. Initially, to get associated with the brand, factories jump over each other with discounts to woo the company. Often realizing at a later date that they are not actually making money.

2. Delays and quality issues: The factory is unable to meet deadlines or quality expectations

But some companies "take-over" the production capacity of the factory for an extended period of time. The benefit of this is that the company gets a reliable factory at a good price in return for consistent long term availability of work. These contracts are signed for extended periods of time, usually 3 to 5 years.

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