Sourcing components for your products can be a lengthy and costly ordeal, and the more complex and value-added your product is, the longer the supply chain becomes. Here are a few ways to minimize the hassle and expense of part sourcing:
- Bring some operations in-house
They say if you want something done right to do it yourself, so it follows that if you want something done in a timely and cost-efficient way, doing it yourself might be the way to go. Let’s say that your product requires a plastic part that is chrome plated. Does your company have plastic injection molding capabilities? Could your company acquire the necessary equipment and personnel to mold the part? The savings could be immense over the lifetime of your product, as your company would be getting the component at cost, and without the cost of shipping the product from your vendor to your facility.
- Use an all-in-one vendor
Let’s say you need to source a plastic part that is PVD-coated. The supply chain here could get quite long if you have to procure a part from a plastic injection molder, send that part to an electroplater, then send the part to another finisher for PVD coating—lead time and shipping costs would be high. Instead, sourcing a part from a vendor with multiple capabilities, in this example, a surface finishing company with both chrome plating and PVD capabilities, could mean drastic savings. Additionally, working with fewer suppliers allows you to build better relationships with those suppliers and limits the amount of paperwork, phone calls, and meetings with multiple suppliers related to production of your component—saving you time and headaches.
- Reconsider your spec
Your company relies on specs to communicate expectations on the quality of parts it’s sourcing from vendors to those vendors, and your vendors rely on those specs to make decisions about the parts they supply to your company. But what if your specifications are too stringent? Your supplier could be rejecting parts as bad, per your specification, which might actually be more than adequate for your purposes. In this case, if your supplier is spending time and resources reworking parts or overproducing to compensate for rejections, that could be adding to your lead time. If you’re sourcing a chrome plated part, does your spec require that it be completely free of all imperfections? Perhaps imperfections (so long as they don’t interfere with form, fit, or function of the component) could be permissible on surfaces that aren’t visible in the component’s installed position. Maybe there are some imperfections excluded by your spec (for example, blush on a chrome plated part) that are only visible to the highly trained inspector, in inspection conditions—will these imperfections ever affect your customers’ use of your product? If not, perhaps the spec should be revised to allow some imperfections.
Controlling your supply chain is crucial when procuring components for your products, and by implementing some of the strategies outlined above, it’s possible to reduce the amount of money, time, and stress inherent to this process.
ECF has in-house chrome plating, PVD, brushing and mechanical highlighting, lacquer, and powder coating capabilities to meet your decorative finishing needs—call us today!