In the world of Contract Manufacturing and Assembly Services, there are many factors to consider that can make it a pleasant or not so pleasant experience. Whether you are looking to outsource a production module or a one-time project, if you make the wrong choice, you will spend more time and money than you stand to save. In my experience here are the 3 main questions, that if you find the right answers to, you are well on your way to a profitable win-win scenario.
1 – What Quality Management System do you have?
The ISO standards and their specialty subsets such as IATF16949 for Automotive, AS9100 for Aerospace and ISO14971 for Medical Devices are all good starts. What you are looking for is, not companies that just have these certifications, but ones that show a deft touch in implementing the fundamentals in their day-to-day business. The benefits are many and include the ability to track inventory, properly train staff in safe techniques and provide high quality deliverables. Ask how long they’ve had the certification, how many times they’ve re-certified, and who is the manager of their QMS (Quality Management System)
2 – What customers have you worked for in my industry, or a related one?
Don’t be afraid of companies that have worked for your competitor. Yes, there are some companies that really dislike their competitors, actually they hate each other. Maybe you’ve heard of the company that had a meeting with representatives from Coca-Cola. When they took the visitors to lunch, the restaurant served Pepsi, so the people from Coke made them change restaurants. That being said, while some companies don’t like their competitors, if you’ve worked for them, you should be good at what you do. Think of it from a social psychology point of view: that person you like probably will like you more, if they know you’ve dated someone they think of as a rival…
3 – How much of your key staff have been with the company long-term?
High turnover at a manufacturing company can lead to decreased efficiency. When new people are constantly getting up to speed, it can slow down the production process and lead to more breakdowns in quality. By working with a company that is good at developing employee training systems and retaining its employees, you’re benefitting from the increased efficiency of a smooth manufacturing process.
If you can find positive answers to these 3 questions, you have a strong foundation upon which to build a relationship with a supplier or possibly you have found a strategic partner for bigger things. At JBE, Inc. we pride ourselves on our QMS, the diversity of industries we’ve worked for and the tenure of many of our associates. Give me a call if we can help you with any of your projects.