The vendors you work with have an impact on your business. Whether that impact is positive or negative depends on a few factors, including each vendor's dedication to quality. And, like any relationship, things can start going south before you start to realize it. Here are five metal manufacturing vendor red flags to watch out for.
1. Unreliable Delivery
Issues with delivery can come in multiple forms. Your vendor might be missing deadlines and pushing back your project timeline. Or, they might be packaging your products poorly. Either way, delivery is something you should be able to rely on. While an occasional mixup is understandable, be sure to speak up about any delivery issues if you start to notice a pattern.
2. Poor Quality
Don't get me wrong, the occasional component is going to be defective, but a high-quality vendor is going to know how they stack up. Does this vendor track their number of defective parts? And do they track it per hundred, thousand, or million? If a vendor doesn't track their quality and consistency, you're most likely going to experience lower quality overall.
A vendor focused on quality is one with the appropriate checks and balances in place to ensure they're putting out a quality product. For instance, following ISO 9001 quality control processes is one way vendors maintain consistent quality.
3. Poor Communication
In any vendor relationship, it's pretty normal to have more communication in the beginning of the relationship and less as time goes on. Once they learn your needs and preferences and you understand their process, there might not be a need for as much communication.
But in those times where you do need to address something with your sheet metal manufacturing vendor, how do they respond? Does it seem like they're listening and taking you seriously? Is it easy to get into contact with the person you want to speak to? If it's difficult to communicate with your vendor, consider this to be a serious red flag.
4. Customer Service Issues
While this can fall in line with communication problems, issues with customer service can also involve needing to repeat your project specifications or needs, catch errors on invoices, and wait for a response longer than is appropriate. Put simply, when a vendor's customer service is lacking, it's going to negatively impact operations at your facility. And the longer it goes on, the more time consuming and expensive the problem becomes.
5. Not Meeting Expectations
As a customer, you have needs, standards, and expectations. If those things aren't being met by your current metal manufacturing vendor, it might be time to look elsewhere. Just remember that in today's marketplace, you don't have to settle for sub-par business relationships.
There are vendors out there who are a good fit for your company, you just have to find them. I know it can take a little extra work upfront, but the benefit of working with a vendor who understands your needs and shows they value your professional relationship can make all the difference.
Take a look at your current metal manufacturing vendor and ask yourself if they are meeting your needs and expectations. If they're not, consider seeking one that will.