Choosing the Just-Right Supplier
You’ve sent your drawings and RFQ out for bid, and several quotations are sitting on your desk for review. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the lowest price option. But as we all know, low price does not always imply good value. How well do you know the vendor who’s offering you this great deal? It’s time to put on your interviewer’s hat and ask a few questions. What are some of the factors beyond price that you need to know?
Is their business on a sound financial footing? Do they have the resources to purchase the raw materials and meet their overhead expenses, or are they financially stressed? Choosing a supplier with a less than favorable credit history or cash flow problems ultimately lead to last-minute scheduling or quality issues. Requesting a Dun & Bradstreet report is an excellent way to get insight into their financial situation.
How’s the fit? Is the supplier experienced with processing the material specific for your part, or is it outside of their normal scope of operations? Have they fabricated parts with the same level of complexity? Are they equipped to meet the tooling demands within the specified lead times?
What is the scope of their quality system? Are they familiar with the regulations of your industry, and do they have the necessary certifications and qualifications?
Are they reliable? Do they have the experience and capacity to handle your volume requirements while meeting your delivery schedule demands? Ask for some references!
Since changing vendors late in the production process is more costly and difficult when extrusion tools are used, hiring the right vendor is very much the same as hiring a new employee. You expect certain qualifications, interview candidates to get a sense of their background and work ethic, and then choose the one with the best fit and pay them accordingly. Before making a commitment to contract with a supplier, keep communications flowing, and you’ll get a sense if their manner of doing business is in sync with yours. They will ultimately be responsible for your product’s quality, so you’ll want to find a manufacturer that you know you can trust. And, no one is more trustworthy than Preferred Plastics!