In our current supply chain crisis, it is more important than ever to make sure you are choosing the right suppliers for your manufacturing business. While cost is and always has been a major factor when choosing a vendor for the necessary materials to build your products, relying solely on whoever can get them to you the cheapest has come back to bite a large number of companies. If you are currently on the hunt for new suppliers to diversify or re-shore your supply chain, here are a few things you can look for to help you choose the right ones.
Accountability. Expecting perfection may very well mean that you are overlooking someplace that, with a little work, could end up being the perfect fit. What you can expect, however, is that your supplier takes ownership for quality issues and timelines. A good supplier should readily own their shortcomings, and work with you towards an amicable solution. This of course applies more to some industries than others. For example a loose thread in your textile business is probably something that can be easily addressed and remedied, but a mistake in a gasket for an aerospace manufacturer could potentially lead to throwing out an entire batch of products if not caught early on.
Which leads us to Certifications and Licensing. Ask to see any and all certifications that a prospective supplier has. Even if your particular product doesn’t require any licensing to complete, certifications in Aerospace or Medical Device manufacturing mean that the company has passed rigorous compliance’s in their quality control and processes. These types of qualifications, even if not relevant to your industry, will signify that they have a safer manufacturing environment, and likely a better product, than their non-certified counterparts.
Communication should not be something that you struggle with in an ideal vendor relationship. If you have a question you need answered from your contact, but have been unable to reach them to get a clear answer, than it may be time to move on to someone who will be easier to work with. Early in the trust building phase with a new supplier, pay attention to the readiness and timeliness of their communication. It will likely not improve later when you are inquiring about a deadline or shipment.
Company values is one that gets overlooked a bit, but it is a good metric with which to gauge how well the two of you may work together. Looking for a supplier that has a culture that aligns with your own will help to ensure that the two of you can build a partnership in which you work together towards a shared goal. Henry Ford said it best; “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”
Of course, there are numerous more identifiers that will help you to choose the best suppliers for your business, but keeping in mind some of these basic principles will help get you on the right track!
Written by Meghan McMahon, Business Development Manager at NaviTek Machining Corporation
NaviTek Machining Corp is an ISO 13485 and AS9100 certified precision machining company. NaviTek believes that as a business, taking care of your employees first and foremost will create a workforce that cares about the success of the company in turn. Contact Meghan at MMcMahon@navitekgroup.com to learn more.