The shift from design and prototyping over to continued production is often a pretty monumental shift. The engineering team relinquishes control of the design, and the ownership of managing the supply chain and continual production typically goes to a procurement team.
In an ideal world, you’ll want to continue sourcing the part from the same partner who helped to build your custom prototype to ensure the level of quality stays continuous and you don’t have integral parts failing in the field.
This might seem pretty obvious, or common sense, but in practice, it can be difficult to achieve. Procurement systems are often cumbersome and filled with thousands of different suppliers. Simply miscoding or labeling a supplier can result in them not showing up in searches to order specific items or parts that they may have been a huge part of helping to create.
As an engineer, you’ll likely have a vested interest in ensuring the part undergoes little to-no-changes during large-scale production that could ultimately cause the part to fail. It is best to work with your procurement team when handing a part over the fence, to ensure the suppliers who helped build the pieces are coded correctly and labeled appropriately in the system.
As a member of the procurement team, you’ll ideally want strong relationships with your key suppliers. Often strategic activities like reducing your number of suppliers, and ordering larger volumes through those that offer the best service result in bulk discounts, better prices, and likely shorter lead times as well.
One of the most important items for procurement teams is ensuring parts maintain the original quality standards they were built and tested with. Maintaining relationships with the suppliers that helped to build prototypes is the best way to save both time and money in the long run by avoiding costly mistakes.
Focusing on spending better rather than penny-pinching on each individual component ordered can have incredible long-term benefits to both speed to market and bottom line.
Learn more about how to vet manufacturing partners that will make great long-term partners for strategic procurement:
10 Things to Expect from Your Custom Gasket Manufacturing Partner
Read through this rigorous list of checkpoints to consider when looking for a new custom gasket manufacturing partner.
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How to Choose a Custom Gasket Company
With similar information to the previous article, this breaks down the information into a step-by-step guide for evaluating partners.
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