Get the Most Out of Your Supplier Relationship
A Good OEM Partnered with a Good Supplier Provides Value for All Involved
Contract metal manufacturers play a critical outsourcing role to OEMs from materials management, to assistance with design and testing, to order fulfillment and logistics. You have a choice to make when finding a supplier for their OEM parts and services. But with 58,000 job shops out there, one of the biggest challenges is determining which company is best for your needs.
It may be stating the obvious, but not all suppliers are created equal – some place focus on providing greater value to you beyond simply making the part. That’s why it pays to look at your potential suppliers as a partner in your business. Their expertise should complement yours. Your pooled knowledge and experience creates an entity that is better suited to solve your unique problems – whether that’s a better price or higher quality
Here are a few steps to make sure you’re getting the most value from your supplier relationship.
- Work with your supplier to identify and vet cost-savings opportunities up front: Your supplier needs to understand your pain points and how they can help. Consider this relationship a partnership with the goal to provide mutual benefit. Would you part be better suited for stamping or laser cutting? Look for a supplier that can direct you to the process with the most economical method of delivering your parts per your design and needed quantity.
- Get a shop tour: This will help you understand the full range of in-house services your supplier can offer. Whether your components may need bending, stamping, fabrication, and finishing – or some combination of these – having in-house capabilities to handle your part from initial engineering to production without the need to outsource critical production steps can save time and costs as a “one-stop-shop”.
- Establish cost transparency: Material is not the only component of pricing from your supplier. A good supplier will not surprise you by constantly changing their costs to you. Understand how quantity variations and design changes will impact your price. I’m reminded of a recent meme that I saw:What’s most important to you?Your supplier should work with you in reviewing costs and assuring delivery of quality parts within your time requirements.
- Plan ahead and be realistic about your timelines. For a metal fabrication shop, capacity can be unpredictable. Understanding how your supplier is equipped to tackle the ups and downs and work daily to ensure on time delivery is a necessity.Work with your supplier to understand their shop schedule and establish open communications to plan ahead and communicate upcoming needs.
In the end, it’s not just about the transaction but about the relationship between you and your supplier. The Wagner Companies focus is providing great parts, on time. With over 6o years of manufacturing experience in Milwaukee, our engineering, stamping, bending, welding, polishing, press brake, and laser operations are ready to meet your needs. Send us a request for quote on your project and let us have the opportunity to introduce you to the world of The Wagner Companies.
Best People, Best Product, Best Performance – words that Wagner lives by.
Author: Tony Leto
Tony is Executive Vice President (Emeritus) at The Wagner Companies. He has been in the metal business since 1984 with particular expertise in the areas of handrails, guards, building codes and standards.