7 Ways A Metal Manufacturer Should Offer Versatility For OEMs
July 21, 2017
In running a business, you can’t always plan for the unexpected. That’s why it’s important for the partners you work closest with to be flexible to your changing demands.
If your OEM suddenly wins a major deal and must ramp up production, you need a metal manufacturer that’s equipped for the task.
Learn about seven ways your supplier should offer versatility for OEMs.
1. Provide Transparency Into Financial Health
The right supplier will provide you with financial health metrics such as its Z-score ratio, quick ratio and debt-to-equity, so you can feel assured that it’s not likely to go out of business and jeopardize your supply chain.
These metrics help you determine reliability. For example, if your supplier’s debt-to-equity ratio is 0.4, it is lower risk.
You need a metal manufacturer that isn’t leveraged too heavily and can build capacity quickly when demand rises or changes.
2. Adhere To High Quality Standards
OEMs often have complex requirements, and expect high-quality standards — and rightly so. After all, manufacturers of oil and gas field machinery or railroad rolling stock, for example, can’t perform at the level they need to without these grand gauges.
A versatile supplier that keeps your production line running should average 250 defective parts per million. However, it shouldn’t be happy resting there, and should continually work to reduce its defect rate until it reaches zero defective parts.
3. Always Deliver On Time
To deliver high-quality metal parts on time, your supplier must plan for forecasted demand.
Many metal manufacturers don’t see the benefit of strategic planning because the costs can be high. The labor, time, technology, prioritization and other factors that go into superior strategic planning can be a hard pill to swallow, particularly in light of other resource demands.
However, the investment is worth the time and money.
Your supplier should have the proper processes and tools in place to handle your strategic planning needs today. What’s more, a top supplier should have an eye toward the future to see where and how trends may be accommodated down the road.
4. Promote Safety
Safety culture starts with safety orientation. When new employees arrive at your metal manufacturer’s facility, they should go through an orientation that teaches them:
- Everyone is responsible for safety – it’s a team effort
- Safety behavior is measurable and must be demonstrated
- Employees should be conscientious of their work and surroundings
Staying out late or not eating right are all factors that can impact safety. When employees aren’t concentrating fully on the task at hand, they can put themselves in a dangerous position.
Management should run weekly safety meetings with employees to discuss how they can avoid hazards on the job. Your supplier also should follow all OSHA regulations and update its team whenever regulations change.
5. Identify Cost-Saving Efficiencies
Your OEM supplier should have an audit process in place to help you identify cost-saving opportunities. For example, your supplier can find ways to optimize metal fabrication, machining, welding, finishing and assembly processes to save time and materials.
It should also conduct audits to help you redesign metal parts and assemblies for more efficient manufacturing.
Over-designing a part is expensive. Your supplier may help you determine that text engraving on a certain part is unnecessary, or that machine holes may not need to be as deep as originally thought.
Audits help you minimize the impact of high materials costs and apply cost savings to other parts of your business.
6. Make Capital Investments To Support Your Growth
Every investment a supplier makes is intended to serve its customers. Although your metal manufacturing partner takes the risk of the investment, it’s important to answer requests from the market.
For example, a supplier that didn’t have a paint line 15 years ago may have found that its customers truly needed painted parts, as this was the industry trend.
A supplier should often ask itself: “How would making this investment differentiate us? And how would not making this investment differentiate us in a negative way?”
Making a major investment to support customers’ growth is sometimes the best decision a supplier can make.
7. Manage Demand And Resources Flexibly
One way your supplier remains flexible is to purchase redundant resources. In other words, it purchases multiple models of the same equipment. If one piece of equipment breaks down, your supplier simply moves production to another, functioning model.
Your supplier should also be responsive to your demand by:
- Offering diverse services
- Using lean manufacturing principles
- Employing highly-qualified staff
- Executing at a fast pace
By offering versatility for your OEM business, the ideal supplier protects you from supply chain uncertainty. Most importantly, it keeps your production line running efficiently with high-quality parts, empowering your growth.