For some, the coming months will signal not just the conclusion of the calendar year but also the end of the fiscal year. The beginning of a new year signifies an opportunity to start anew.
New beginnings are a great time to make improvements, and we encourage all the buyers out there to resolve to be a sourcing superstar in the coming fiscal year. That may sound like an impossible goal to achieve, but surprisingly there are some simple steps you can take today that will put you well on the road to success.
As a buyer, particularly one who purchases custom machined parts, assemblies and more, there is nothing more important than building a network of direct materials suppliers on which you can rely. So, take a good hard look at your manufacturers and evaluate what's working and not working for you.
Start with an honest appraisal and grade each supplier, categorizing them as one of three types:
- A best partner
- A good partner
- A faltering supplier
A best partner is a high-functioning manufacturer with solid business practices, strong financials, experience and a record of solid performance. These firms are proactive in adopting and perfecting new manufacturing technologies and can ramp up new processes quickly and successfully. They are qualified in terms of certifications, and they possess a solid record of past performance not just with you but also within the industry as a whole.
Good partners evidence some of the same qualities as your best partners but may offer limited bandwidth. They likely have performed well over the years, but may lack the technical expertise, technology and/or capacity to meet your evolving requirements. It may be worth a try to allow these suppliers a chance to step up and adopt new technology, but you have no way of knowing whether they will perform to expectations.
There are many ways a good – or even a best – supplier might suddenly falter. There could be slippages in delivery times, quality issues resulting in more and more rejected parts, sub-supplier issues, loss of key employees and more. The question becomes: Is this a temporary situation that is correctable in the near term or the beginning of a downward spiral? Again, as a buyer you have no way of knowing. But can you afford to wait and see?
The top sourcing professionals at the most successful companies understand that risk is a factor associated not just with your good or faltering suppliers, but also with your best partners. There may be new regulatory requirements, financial issues brought on by the economy, labor problems, sub-suppliers that can’t deliver needed materials or repair your production equipment quickly, and more. Then, too, fire, flood, civil unrest and other unforeseen requirements, such as a contract clause that specifies production must occur in a specific region or locale, might impact your supplier base’s ability to deliver. Does your mix of direct material suppliers give you the ability to succeed when risk threatens to impact deliveries and lead times?
Top buyers anticipate all the “what ifs,” plan for them and attempt to mitigate risk as much as possible.
That is where MFG.com comes into play. As a global marketplace, it puts you in touch with potential manufacturers worldwide. It offers you all the tools needed to find the right supplier, with the right experience, using the appropriate technology, situated in the desired location and offering services at a fair market price. And do so as quickly as you may need.
What’s more, the MFG.com platform offers you analytics whereby you can quantify, measure and assess supplier performance on a specific job and over time – and reward high performers with more work. Better still, MFG.com is an automated method for managing risk, creating a paper trail of every communication, compiling historical data automatically and providing other insights into performance that eliminates labor-intensive manual analyses and provides quick reports containing the information you need when you need it. MFG.com conveys the capability to act immediately and decisively.
Today’s buyers must never be content with the status quo or complacent when it comes to risk. They are always rebuilding and expanding their supply base and instituting safeguards against potential disruptions. They rely on MFG.com as their sourcing tool of choice, knowing there simply isn’t anything like it anywhere.
Be a Sourcing Superstar in 2017.
If you’re not already using MFG.com to keep your supply chain lean and tuned up, why not join us? Sourcing through MFG is 100% free, with no hidden fees or commissions. Book a quick demo and learn about all the tools MFG.com offers to help you mitigate risk and maintain the dependability of your suppliers.