5 Questions Metal Manufacturers Must Ask To Solve Your OEM’s Challenges - Miller Fabrication Solutions

5 Questions Metal Manufacturers Must Ask To Solve Your OEM’s Challenges

August 25, 2017

Many OEMs face a complex mix of fluctuating challenges. It can be difficult to boil down the symptoms of these problems into a clear picture of your actual overarching problems.

When in doubt, seek an expert’s help. The right metal manufacturer will ask the following five questions to help you identify your biggest challenges and prescribe an effective solution.

1. What Issues Are You Having (Or What Are The Symptoms)?

Pinpointing your problems is sometimes more difficult than it seems. You may believe your biggest challenge is that metal manufacturing costs are too high, when the issue is actually quality – you might spend extra money replacing parts that aren’t manufactured well enough the first time.

It’s not uncommon for OEMs to treat symptoms rather than solve the primary issue. Only you can identify your biggest challenges, but speaking with a leading metal manufacturer can help you gain additional insight.

2. How Significant Is The Problem?

Both you and your OEM supplier must understand the scope of the problems you face. For example, is a particular issue a one-time scenario, or is it pervasive throughout your company?

The right metal manufacturer will ask questions about how many units a problem has affected and what it is has cost you, both directly and indirectly. You may be losing money on lost sales opportunities if an issue affects a large number of metal parts on a monthly basis.

Next, you need to prioritize which problem to solve first. OEMs usually want to solve the biggest problem first, especially if solving it has a major impact. But sometimes, three small problems that are easier to fix may make up 60% of an overarching problem.

In this situation, it may be best to solve the smaller problems first. Your metal manufacturer can help you prioritize so that you can quickly implement the most effective solution.

3. What Have You Tried Before, And Why Didn’t It Solve The Problem?

The number one mistake OEMs make when identifying their challenges is underestimating the indirect impact on their business. You have to think about how much time and money you’re spending due to:

  • Defective parts
  • Late deliveries
  • Inefficient metal fabrication, welding, machining, finishing and assembly processes
  • Overdesigned components

It’s important to be honest about internal problems. For example, over-designing a metal part can make it difficult to manufacture to specifications in a timely manner. If a simpler part will work just as well, consider re-designing it with input from your metal manufacturer.

4. What Time Frame Do You Have To Fix The Problem?

When you contact another supplier to fix a problem, the issue is probably already pervasive. Your metal manufacturer has to figure out how to solve the problem within a short time frame.

The right supplier reserves capacity, making sure it has resources available in case of emergencies. So when you need help solving an issue, your supplier will have time to get right to work.

5. What Is Your Expectation Or Goal?

Sometimes, you may not know your ideal solution, but you can usually tell your metal manufacturer what you need to get your production lines going. For example, you may need your supplier to produce 20 parts per day.

Work with your supplier to set goals along a timeline. In the first week of an engagement, your supplier may produce six parts per day. By the end of the month, it may be expected to produce 10 parts per day. Through an incremental approach, your supplier should reach its goal of 20 parts per day by a specified date.

The right metal manufacturer may even start producing parts for you in as few as two days. Whether you need to move production to your new supplier right away or over the course of a few months, your supplier should be able to accommodate your needs quickly and commit to producing your required parts by a set deadline.

When you’re ready to work toward a solution to your biggest OEM challenges, consider speaking with an expert in metal manufacturing. During your consultation, be on the lookout for the five questions above and gain a better understanding of the root causes of the challenges you face.

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