In Good Company

by Todd McDonald on August 7, 2013

When it comes to prosperity in business, today’s “new-fangled” strategies range from Big Data to Blue Ocean to Crowd Sourcing and beyond.

But when it comes to manufacturing, it is the “tried and true” suppliers that can hold the key to success.

As Clare Goldsberry states in her recent Plastics Today article, Your Suppliers Can be a Big Part of Your Success, “your suppliers are major contributors to your business’s long-term success.”

Why?

Because they not only have expertise in materials and components but can also provide valuable support services, advice and even market intelligence, Goldsberry explains.

For this reason, it is essential to include your suppliers when doing your strategic market planning, as well as in the early stages of the product lifecycle for each and every project.

That’s exactly what we try to do with each of our supply chain partners – from working together to create custom tools to redesigning workflow processes to moving entire manufacturing operations and supply networks back to the United States.

For example, in 2009, when we were awarded a contract to take over production of ear thermometer covers for a leading provider of healthcare products, our audit of the existing workflow revealed a process wrought with inefficiencies subject to the restraints, delays and additional costs of overseas shipments and communication, as well as the inability to transport finished goods cartridges.

Our solution was three-pronged:

  1. First, we identified a partner with the expertise and experience to produce the printed components as well as assemble and ship the medical and retail cartons that was also in close proximity to both the materials extruder as well as our clean room facilities.
  2. Next, we worked with this packaging and printing partner to achieve a higher level of robotics and automation through a variety of tooling and machine modifications.
  3. Finally, we collaborated with both our materials extruder and packaging/printing partner to develop a streamlined workflow designed to eliminate excess inventory and delays as well as introduce a continuous flow of material reuse.

The result was a turnkey solution that enabled the recycling of Polypropylene web scrap, pallets and roll cores and also reduced the project’s overall environmental impact while also exceeding the customer’s quality standards.

Of course, this is just one example of how working in partnership with suppliers helped not only our bottom line, but that of our customer.

What about you? What are some ways you have your supplier relationships are part of your overall success?

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: