Original Publication Date: July 12, 2021
There’s no shaking the fact that the industrial buying process is a lengthy one. And with supply chains becoming more and more complex, it’s more critical than ever to feel confident in your industrial supplier and their ability to collaborate, ensure quality and deliver on-time.
According to Thomas’s State of North American Manufacturing report, “Industrial companies added an average of 11 new suppliers to their supply chains in 2020.”
With the anticipated growth of the country’s manufacturing needs, and countless businesses gearing up to grow as we come out of the pandemic, having a trusted industrial supplier is essential to success.
If you find yourself in need of a new supplier or are planning to audit your current one, consider these important factors.
1. Available Capacity
It probably comes as no surprise that available capacity sits at the top of the list. With supply chains becoming more competitive, availability and short lead times are often considered the most important factor when choosing a new supplier.
It’s unlikely, however, that a quality supplier will be completely free of lead times, so another way you can gauge their availability is by having a transparent conversation with them about how they grow, prioritize and manage their customer base. A quality supplier may be at full capacity, but that won’t keep them from efficiently meeting production needs if they’re adjusting the production planning and schedules to prioritize appropriately.
Another important factor to consider when looking for a new supplier is their reliability. This primarily addresses on-time delivery and quality rates.
Say delivery times are long or deadlines are repeatedly missed. Odds are this supplier won’t have the level of reliability that your team needs to stay on schedule. Delivery times aside, you also want to be confident in your supplier’s quality. It won’t matter if they get your order to you on time if part quality is compromised.
In addition to gauging availability and reliability in a potential supplier, you should also examine their capabilities closely. An effective way of analyzing a supplier’s capabilities is by considering their staff, collective experience, and range of machines.
Your ideal supplier will have a highly trained team, measurable industry experience, and an arsenal of CNC machines that will fit your company’s production needs. Depending on your team’s needs, it might also be important for you to consider a supplier’s capabilities outside of production. Where do they stand with prototyping, complex assembly, and even inventory management?
4. Quality Certifications
We’ve touched on quality rates, but what about quality certifications? These are an essential, objective way of identifying a reliable supplier. Common certifications include ISO 13485 and 9001, but other important ones to consider include:
- Adherence to Regulatory Compliance (i.e. RoHS and REACH)
5. Sterling Reputation
As you’re researching and vetting new suppliers, you’ll also want to measure their reputation in the industry and among their customers. An efficient way to do this is by examining their company reviews, customer testimonials, and industry awards.
Reviews and testimonials can provide you with insights about their customer service and customer experience, while awards can tell you if, and where, they excel in their industry.
A successful supplier relationship hinges on many things, but a critical one that often gets overlooked is collaboration. How well does a supplier communicate with their customers?
This goes way beyond their ability to respond to an email. An ideal supplier will communicate production issues to you as soon as they arise, proactively find solutions, and keep you updated at all times on the status of your order. The right supplier won’t wait for you to reach out to them; they’ll reach out to you.
Are you in the market for a new industrial supplier? Contact our team! We’ll walk you through our capabilities, customer experience and industry expertise to see if we’re the right fit for your company’s needs.