It’s what most purchasing managers can only dream of: the 3-way combination of speed, accuracy, and low price that seems impossible to achieve.
Until it isn’t.
Yes, it IS possible to get higher-quality parts faster and at a lower cost. You just have to know what to look for in a supplier.
Speed, Accuracy, AND Low Price – How’s it Possible?
First off, suppliers need a combination of the latest technology, but also mastery in using machines effectively and efficiently.
Look for suppliers (such as Patriot Manufacturing) with high-tech, multi-axis CNC capabilities, along with the intellectual capacity to fully unlock the machines’ strengths. You’ll want to work with a team that understands how to push the limits of the machining process to achieve faster, better, and cheaper parts.
How can you know whether they have the right know-how? Ask them to share customer testimonials and case studies. Check their website for the equipment they use and the types of parts they’ve produced. It could be a red flag if they don’t display this kind of information. Do your own research by Googling the equipment and reading the reviews.
At Patriot Manufacturing, we regularly update our own website to reflect any new equipment purchases.
Second, suppliers need to be able to quickly shift from prototype-level machining to full-volume production.
To do this, they need to have the right facility layout and a broad range of expertise. Bar feeders help too, by automatically loading metal bars into machines. But speed is useless if quality suffers – and quality issues can lead to major delays when problems are caught down the line. So suppliers need to set up quality checkpoints to maintain fast, low-cost, and high-quality production.
Third, suppliers need end-to-end capabilities to get projects done a lot faster and cheaper.
Suppliers that can do everything from prototyping to finishing under the same roof can turn around complete projects much faster. When suppliers have to send parts elsewhere for processing, that’s when production times skyrocket.
Fourth, suppliers should have a facility with enough room to grow and incubate new ideas.
If your supplier is nearing capacity, they could suffer from space issues that make it harder to work and as a result drain productivity. They should have plenty of room to add capacity, and plenty of space devoted to part design, engineering, sales, and marketing. That’s a sign your supplier is a well-organized, forward-looking company.
Suppliers that are overly taxed might have to change facilities soon, which could interrupt current and future projects. Also, it might be a sign that they’re struggling to keep their head above water . . . of course you want your supplier to be around as long as you are, so keep an eye out for signs of trouble.
Does Your Supplier DRIFT?
This kind of drifting has nothing to do with cars.
I’m talking about Doing it Right the First Time. It’s a philosophy endorsed by the U.S. Army, and it drives our daily work here at Patriot Manufacturing.
The premise is simple. Our work depends on the free and fast flow of information and parts along our production process (and between our facility and our partners’). Even a small mistake at one stage of production can throw off the whole process. By adhering to the DRIFT philosophy, we’re able to consistently output quality products on-time and at low cost.
In a nutshell, suppliers that DRIFT don’t:
- Cut corners
- Make the same mistakes over and over
- Fail to correct mistakes quickly
On the other hand, they DO:
- Continuously monitor for quality improvements
- Encourage operators to point out their own mistakes
- Proactively look for long-term solutions to problems
Speed, Accuracy, AND Low Price – Clearly Possible
As you can see, it IS possible to get high-quality parts fast for a low price. You just need to work with dedicated supplier that takes quality and customer service seriously.
So, if you want the 3-way combination of speed, accuracy, and low price, look for a supplier (such as Patriot Manufacturing) that can take quality assurance off your shoulders, deliver parts according to your schedule – either just-in-time (JIT) or for regularly scheduled production runs – and turn around a competitive quote fast (12-24 hours is ideal).
Keywords: What to look for in a supplier, Get parts fast, Improve quality, Faster parts, Cheaper parts, Better parts