First and foremost, make sure the manufacturer you are vetting can create the product you need and do so correctly and efficiently. When presented with specifications, any good manufacturer should be able to give you a simple answer of whether or not they can make the product and give you a list of capabilities they have to make it happen, and if they cannot provide this, it may be time to scout out someone else.
Often times, when we think of capacity, we think of more; we think of bigger. Can the manufacturer handle a large volume of work? That’s an important question, but it’s also important to know if they can handle a fluctuating volume of work overtime in case demand changes. Establishing a partnership requires a lot upfront, so it’s also important to identify early on if the manufacturer has the capability to scale and grow with you as your demand grows.
Many manufacturers have the right capability and capacity, but can they deliver consistently? Chances are, you are orchestrating several elements that need to come together at the right time and in the right place to deliver a final product. Machines lock-up, vehicles break down, and people get sick. The question is not “Will there ever be issues?”, but instead “Will the manufacturer do everything within their power to deliver consistently despite issues?” “And what is their past track record in doing so?” Explore their portfolio of work and the longevity of relationships with clients. This will speak strongly to their overall consistency.
We’ve all been there before. You have a question that needs to be answered, so you call the contact you were given. Not only does no one answer, but you reach a mailbox that is either full or has not been set up. All great partnerships are built upon great communication. Will they work hard to make themselves available to help you resolve issues? Will they keep you informed or keep you in the dark? Will they translate data and specifications, interpret properly, and take the proper steps with strong communication along the way. Pay close attention to communication in the scouting process. It may save you a lot of heartache down the line.
The manufacturer must make money to exist, but so do you. Any manufacturer that you want to do business with should be able to provide you a detailed quote. Compare quotes from different qualifying manufacturers, weighing the pros and cons of each. When it comes to a quality product, we’re not always looking for the cheapest option because often times the cheapest option is not the best option. We’re in search of that sweet spot where high quality and reasonable cost overlap.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are 5 core qualities that anyone should desire when looking for a manufacturing partner, and if you find yourself in need of a metal fabricating manufacturing partner, look no further! Learn more about our work in laser cutting and metal fabrication here: www.campmanufacturing.com Happy hunting!