You know that the quality and health of your company’s supply chain is directly related to your ability to operate successfully. Quality problems, missed deadlines, or constant searching for new vendors wastes time and money. So, if any supplier provides some business-critical product or service you need to know – before you hire them – that they’re great at what they do, and capable of guaranteeing uninterrupted service. So how do you find the right one?
We can’t speak about all types of suppliers, but we can speak about our own area of expertise – companies that machine components from plastic sheet and composite materials. Here are the four things we recommend looking at first.
This is a key measure of a supplier’s ability to meet your needs over time. This is particularly critical if you’re counting on a long-term relationship. Measures include size, profitability and key ratios consistent with healthy companies in the supplier’s industry.
These are the capabilities your supplier needs to serve your business successfully. Carefully delineate them upfront. A great way to do this is to talk to all your internal stakeholders. Then be ready to ask probing questions and see what you need to until you have your answers. One strong recommendation – make sure that machining components is their expertise and focus, not just something they do on the side. Beyond that, consider things such as location, speed and capacity, QC and testing procedures, equipment, access to raw materials, expertise machining specific materials (like G10/FR4) and competitive pricing. Think beyond your current needs. If you grow, can your supplier grow with you?
How does your supplier keep in touch and let you know the status of your projects? Are they offering a single point of contact? Are they willing to customize their communications and reporting requirements to match your needs? Can they offer the data and reporting you require? What about access to their senior people should you need it? And perhaps, most important, how responsive are they to your requests during the evaluation process? What happens then is probably a good indicator of what will happen later.
Ability to Innovate and Program Machining Solutions:
We could have included this in “Competencies” above, but we didn’t want it to get lost. Typically, companies come to a supplier with a design for a component. Then it’s up to the supplier to figure out the best way to make it, including developing a proprietary machining program. If the company is good at doing this (and at JMJ Profile we are) it can favorably impact everything – costs, speed to market, stock utilization, compliance with specifications and ultimately the component’s performance in its final application. All of which means a more saleable outcome for you.
We know there can be more to a supplier evaluation than these four things (for instance interviewing current supplier customers). But we believe these evaluation steps are the most important and that any supplier who comes through them successfully is highly likely to be able to meet your needs. If you would like to learn more about JMJ Profile Inc., or have an RFQ, please contact Joe Colacci at 856.767.3930 or at email@example.com.