Building Value Through Supply Chain

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By Don Sherrill

It is exciting to build and launch a new or improved product. As drawings are developed, companies define what they want parts to do, how they function, budget parameters, and the quality standards necessary. Partnering with manufacturers in the supply chain early on can add long-term value in ways you may not have considered.

Match function and process. Discussing your vision for form and function with your supply chain partner adds value by tapping into their expertise in manufacturing processes. If you have a problem or question, manufacturing partners may suggest materials, processes, or design adjustments that deliver parts that function the way you need more efficiently.

Holistic view. Design engineers may focus on individual manufacturing steps and look for different vendors to meet defined stamping requirements, heat treat specifications and finishing standards. Metal manufacturers that provide vertical integration – all those manufacturing services in one location – analyze all steps from start to finish. They add value by managing production in one place efficiently and effectively to meet the quality standards you define.

Inventory management. A surprising value from manufacturing partners can be optimizing your inventory. Manufacturers that provide a single service (i.e. stamping) will likely produce in large runs to achieve your target price. That volume of product adds to your inventory. However, by partnering with a manufacturer that offers all steps of the manufacturing process from one company (i.e. stamping, heat treating, finishing) you can obtain just the right amount of completed parts to match your needs. You don’t have to stockpile partially completed parts in inventory to save costs and just-in-time production balances costs with revenue. By maintaining little to no inventory, design changes are less costly because transition to a new version will not create a large volume of scrapped parts.

Partnering with trusted manufacturers that understand your products and problems and provide integrated services that meet your supply and quality standards can deliver real value to your bottom line.