Suppliers, costs and manufacturing quality: why your products are only as good as your part
Thu 8 June 2017 - 3:00 pmIndustry | Manufacturing | News
If you run a manufacturing plant or industrial operation, your priority will be ensuring that you produce the highest quality products possible. While many factors will go into producing an end result that you can be proud of, one of the biggest deciding factors will be the quality of the parts that you use.
It therefore makes sense that if you want to get the highest quality parts to begin with, you need to find high-quality suppliers to work with.
So how should you go about finding the best suppliers at a reasonable price? Here are some strategies to keep in mind.
Know Exactly What You Want
Choosing a supplier all starts by determining exactly what you want from your ideal supplier in the first place. Your selection criteria is something you should spend some time deciding upon because it will help you to save a lot of time down the road.
But what factors should you consider at this point? They could include order quantities, their processes for quality assurance, payment terms, storage facilities, policy for returns, and more.
These are just a start, and there are other details to consider, such as the exact types of supplies. For example, you might require seals and bearings that fit together perfectly. Rather than getting these separately, you might prefer to order them from a supplier that manufactures them together in one place so they fit perfectly, in which case a supplier like eclipseseal.com might be a good option.
Have a think about what you expect for each of these and other criteria that is important for you, then use these to help you choose the right supplier for your business.
Research Suppliers Carefully
Collect opinions from all the different areas of your organization when researching your suppliers so everyone has an input. Set up a team to work on supplier selection, and once you have your team in place, they can dedicate time towards carrying out the initial research.
It makes sense to look for local suppliers first. This may not be necessary depending on the type of goods you manufacture, but it still makes sense.
Start online by searching for the types of suppliers you are looking for, and create a large list of potential suppliers. Then add them to a spreadsheet and share it with your team so that everyone can add notes.
Visit their websites, get an impression of their service, and note down the positives and negatives. Try to make contact with existing or previous clients, and search for third-party reviews as well, which can often be revealing.
Approach Your Shortlist of Suppliers
From your initial research, come up with a shortlist of a few suppliers who could all be potential options. Now is the stage where you reach out to them and make contact.
Try to speak to someone in person or over the phone, and ask them about the service they provide. Have a list of questions ready and make a note of the answers. Try and get a feel for how helpful they are, how easy they will be to work with, how seriously they take customer support, etc.
Consider Overall Value
Cost is an important factor when choosing a supplier, but value is far more important. Great value is provided by excellent customer service, consistently high quality of service, and reliability.
So while it may be tempting to choose the cheapest supplier, don’t make the mistake of choosing a supplier that is not up to the high standard you require, or it could prove a costly move.
An Ongoing Process
Once you have chosen your supplier, that’s not the end of the process. Now you need to make sure that they consistently provide a high-quality service.
Even the best suppliers can make mistakes, so carry out performance reviews regularly. You have already done your research, so you should have a number of other suppliers that you could potentially use if your first supplier does not provide the service you expect.
The Right Supplier Makes All the Difference
Be careful about choosing your supplier. While a reliable supplier can help to ensure your products are always produced on time and to the highest quality, a bad supplier can have a negative impact on your business.
So take your time over the process and make your decision carefully, then find a supplier who you can work with over the years to help your business grow.
About the author
Callum Hicks is a small business advisor who loves to help startups. An avid writer, he enjoys sharing his know-how on many small business and startup websites.