Choose the Right Supplier

How to avoid becoming the next Tool & Die bankruptcy story:

For many years, the mantra in the steel and metal processing industry has been the same things: survival depends on efficiency. The rising competition on price from foreign suppliers only continues. Off-shore suppliers will always be able to beat domestic prices when it comes to cheap labor. The practice became to turn a sideways glance towards quality, reliability, innovation, and delivery in favor of taking the lowest bid. The results of that have been horrific to American metal companies. In 2008 only 15% of metal stamping and manufacturing companies showed a profit. Bankruptcies hit a new high. Research studies show that 99% of these ailing companies had supply chain disruptions.  Companies know that supply chain disruptions can be dangerous, hard to predict, and extremely expensive. Disruption could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Worse, you can lose customer loyalty or your own business entirely. Custom manufacturers have been put out of business and forced to declare bankruptcy due to supply chain disruptions that may have been avoidable.

Lean production and dual-sourcing is the solution to supply chain disruptions.

If you are using a metal supplier that has an absence of lean production practices, you must make your own adjustments to accommodate. This will require that you maintain stock inventory to prevent disruptions for your customers. Your overhead costs rise sharply. Is there a better way? Remember, failure to use suppliers who are using lean production methods can cost you thousands of dollars. No delivery means no manufacturing: you're stuck in the water and so is your customer.

To survive and thrive, choose a supplier that...
  • Consistently delivers quick development, responsive support, and on-time delivery
  • Has an integrated team with the skills to handle complex stampings and provide reliable solutions
This same standard should apply to your back up supplier. Known as "dual sourcing", it's the practice of always having a second source to go to in the event that your primary source has a problem. Both sources should be equitable in quality, standards, cost, and delivery so that you can rely on either one in a seamless way.

Even though the trend for several years has been towards off-shore and foreign suppliers, there are some very serious reasons why manufacturers should reconsider this for their companies. The logistics alone can make timely supply a hassle and nightmare. But the growing frustration at the inability of foreign suppliers to understand the American market and quality standards is upping the ante of concern. Using domestic supply sources will save you time and thousands in freight, duties and tariffs, warehousing, and currency fluctuations. You also avoid language and understanding barriers.

To stay competitive, you've got to provide a great product that is high quality, priced right, and delivered on time. Your process must be as efficient and "lean" as possible. Efficiency leads to survival. Unique Tool & Manufacturing Co., Inc. is a domestic metal stamping and fabrication company that can help you achieve the efficiency and quality that you need. Founded in 1963, we have years in the industry and a long reputation of high quality stampings, competitive pricing, and innovative engineering. We maintain the highest levels of manufacturing excellence by integrating our Statistical Process Controls and ISO 9001:2008 certification. Our highly trained employees and staff are ready to help you dynamically compete and succeed. For more information on the services Unique Tool and Manufacturing offers call 1-734-850-1050.
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