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Beyond Price Alone – A practical checklist to ensure quality parts, on time

When it comes to contract metal manufacturing services, the three Ps seem to be the primary drivers when selecting a supply partner – Price, Price, and Price. Certainly, reducing cost is critical for every buying situation. However, this focus alone may result in costs down the line. Which is why it’s also important to consider initial savings against future cost-rendering issues – whether production delays, rework, or customer rejections to name a few.

Meanwhile, everyone stakes a claim at being the best quality and a “value-added supplier.” So how do you choose among the myriad of suppliers? That’s the million dollar question. To help you with your next supplier selection process, here’s a practical checklist to ensure that you’re working with the right supplier on your next job to get the parts you want, on time.

⃝ Quality/ISO Certification

Quality is no longer a “value” but an “expectation.” An essential need for every purchaser is to confirm that the supplier’s quality meets the demanded requirements. One of the best ways to verify quality is to work with a supplier that is ISO 9001 Certified.

An ISO certified company will have the data to back up a claim of “quality.” ISO certified suppliers will also have well-defined and documented procedures to improve the consistency of their products. This includes a definition and measure of quality, procedures in place to ensure corrective action is taken whenever defects occur, and the ability to catch and correct defects early on at a lower cost.

⃝ Delivery

Having quality parts and having them arrive on-time, is key to success for any purchaser. Delays in delivery will result in down-time, late delivery to your customers, and general chaos within your operation. An ISO certified supplier will have metrics to quantify their on-time delivery – ask for it. A good supplier will gladly supply you with the quantifiable support to back it up, beyond the promise alone – putting you at ease.

⃝ Capacity & Versatility of Service

Another critical consideration to be aware of is a supplier’s capacity and ability to complete the job at hand with the equipment they have. You’ll want to know if they can absorb your project with existing equipment and personnel – or risk being unable to meet your quality and delivery needs. The best advice for assurances is to get a tour of the facility to confirm that their line card is true and accurate. Also, meet the engineering and quality teams. You are not just looking for a one-time source for a part, you are looking for a mutually beneficial relationship.

⃝ Proactive Value-Add

A good supplier can also provide value-added services that include engineering design assistance and suggestions for maximizing cost-effectiveness. In a marketplace in which a “take it or leave it” quoting process is common, look for a supplier that will provide a proactive value-added approach. A good supplier will think about how they might further add to the quality of a component or produce a more cost-effective piece through the integration of one or more fabrication services.

⃝ Location

While having a supply partner that is in the neighborhood is not a requirement, there are many benefits to having a local supplier. Consider the local advantages:
• Visit the facility and monitor your production status.
• Meet with the engineering teams to review questions or challenges.
• Benefit from a shorter supply chain.
• Be more reactive during periods of high demand.
• Foster a better relationship.

That’s not to mention freight expenses which can quickly add to costs when not working with a local supplier.

A Partner, not a Vendor
At the end of the day, everyone is cost-conscience. And that’s a good thing. But to quote Benjamin Franklin, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” Take the time to assess criteria of significance beyond price alone. Starting with this checklist, these steps will help paint a clearer picture for today while safeguarding against potential issues and unwanted costs down the road.

A supplier that functions as a partner not just a vendor, can provide you with peace-of-mind and serve as an extension of your team that is critical to your success as a buyer. For more information about keys to ensure quality parts on time through your supplier, contact info@mailwagner.com today.

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