You need to maximise every penny spent to retain ROI and, invariably, there will be an intense period of negotiation and planning with suppliers to ensure that production will satisfy customer need, as well as producing a viable financial return.
When choosing a manufacturing partner, the price needs to be right. However, opting for a low-cost supplier (where price, as opposed to value, takes precedent) might just be kicking the can down the road. You may pay comparatively little upfront, but you’re at risk of losing your savings later down the line – as well as paying unexpected costs that you didn’t factor into your plans.
It’s important to know exactly what you’re paying for and understand the outcome of any potential budget-saving. So, let’s dive right in and discuss the true price of low-cost suppliers…
There’s No Shortcut to Quality
If you’re looking for precision pressings or stamped metal components, a cut-price manufacturer will often be making cut-backs of their own. Unfortunately, it’s usually quality that gets shrunk in order to offer you an appealing ‘deal’.
Ultimately, you get what you pay for. It’s a big risk to assume that budget parts will meet your standards upon delivery and, if you don’t spot the corners that have been cut, you could suffer a painful period of enlightenment when the final product fails in the hands of the end user.
Poor quality parts could cause your product to malfunction at the worst possible time, putting users at risk of catastrophic dangers. At best, you’ll wrestle with your conscience – and at worst, you’ll fall foul of hefty regulatory fines and a blight on your brand name.
Your Reputation Matters
Most customers would prefer to pay more for a product they can trust, especially in highly regulated industries such as medical and automotive. For the sake of your integrity, it’s important be honest about price vs performance.
If you’re using a low-cost supplier, there may be a disconnect over what can be achieved at that budget. This is extremely risky for your business, as the trust between yourself and your customer could be irreparably broken if the final product isn’t up to scratch.
If the quality of your product falls below expectation and the feedback is poor, your customer is unlikely to continue the relationship.
Word spreads fast in the digital age. One negative experience can result in thousands of pounds of lost revenue, as other potential customers simply decide you aren’t worth the risk.
Communication is Key
When quality is not a primary concern for suppliers, you can experience the fallout in ways that you might not expect.
Will a low-cost supplier go the extra mile and invest in your client relationship? Will they speak to you first-hand to alert you to potential production issues and delays? Will they take accountability for the project, suggesting improvements and being proactive in preventing shortcomings?
Good communication is often indicative of a shared view of success. If a supplier is only interested in churning out a budget product to maximise their own bottom line, you’re unlikely to receive the service that makes a supplier feel like a partner.
Not Everyone Has a Growth Mindset
… or even growth capacity. Low-cost suppliers are often operating on a shoestring, stifling any chance to be agile.
If you need to react quickly to market forces – be it a surge in orders, or rapid changes to spec – a low-cost supplier with low-end capabilities is unlikely to be flexible enough to cover your requirements.
If you need to strike while the iron’s hot, you could find yourself missing lucrative opportunities because of your supplier’s inability to scale.
Don’t Let Production Delays Slow You Down
The chances are, you don’t want to mislead or disappoint your customers and any desire to save money is coming from an honest place.
Unfortunately, your optimism that budget suppliers will be a win-win for you and your customer could come back to haunt you when you receive your delivery.
If you receive a shipment which doesn’t pass your own quality control, you will then have to remove, dispose of, and replace those parts. This will undoubtedly lead to costly downtime and significant production delays.
If you have customers waiting for orders, you’ll be on the back foot and could still receive poor feedback, even after you rectify the initial supply issue.
So, How Do You Balance Quality and Cost?
Nobody expects you to just throw money at a problem. It’s not how business works.
You need to find the right supplier for your parts. One that will discuss your budget and fairly address what can be achieved, without putting quality on the line.
Consider a supplier who can offer:
- Design services, using engineering knowledge to recommend materials and methods that will fit your budget and requirement
- Project management, ensuring your parts are manufactured to speciation and within budget, even when you’re not around to oversee production
- Bespoke tooling, which considers not only the material but the production life, for long-term value
- High-quality, modern machinery that will empower process efficiency
- Supply chain and logistics capabilities, giving you the option to streamline your efforts and reduce the need for additional third-party contracts
- Product approval and validation, for ultimate peace of mind that you’ll get what you paid for.
Let’s Discuss Your Needs and Find the Ideal Solution
Clamason have more than seven decades of experience in stamping metal pressings.
Our engineers collaborate with clients from the outset of a project, using advanced stamping simulation technology to inform the design phase. We also guarantee precision tooling in a quick and efficient manner, with next-to-no waste.
Once stamped, components can be cleaned and packed in safe environments, completing a full-service solution with exceptional value for money.