How Can Metal Fabrication Fit Your Dream Supply Chain?

Does your current metal fabrication plan fit into your ideal supply chain? Or do they stretch it out so it looks like a particularly overcooked noodle?

Here are some words that describe spaghetti noodles that you should never use to describe your supply chain:

-Usually a mushy failure

Unfortunately, metal fabrication can easily make your supply chain all of these things. When you require multiple fabrication services – such as forming, cutting, bending, punching, and welding – you add that many steps to your supply chain.

Long supply chains come with a huge list of risks:

-Defects at each fabrication stage
-Damage and losses from shipping between multiple fabricators
-Communication problems between suppliers
-Decreased responsiveness to demand
-Less flexibility
-Increased idle time and down time of product
-Less profitability for your company
-More stress for you

These problems are further exacerbated when your vendors are located far away, or you’re dealing with multiple vendors for different fabrications. So, how do you make your supply chain fit your needs while maintaining (or increasing) fabrication quality?

How Metal Fabrication Can Fit Your Dream Supply Chain

1.  Bring your metal fabrications close to home.

Obviously, bringing your fabrication services closer to your HQ will eliminate most of your supply chain problems. Specifically, it will:

-decrease your overall lead times,
-remove the majority of shipping and transportation risks,
-increase your responsiveness and flexibility, and
-eliminate additional hidden risks associated with offshoring.

Overall, you achieve a simpler, safer supply chain by using American suppliers. Here are some great resources on how to restore your manufacturing successfully.

2.  Partner with a comprehensive contract manufacturer.

How do you avoid problems associated with multiple vendors? You consolidate your metal fabrication with one supplier. Yes, there are quite a few manufacturers who do quality work with multiple fabrications.

Here are some of the problems eliminated when choosing a full-service provider:

-Shipping and transportation risks
-Conflicts between vendors
-Communication difficulties between vendors
-Supply chain stagnation due to one vendor being busy, careless, or unprepared
-Blame shifting when something goes wrong (something always goes wrong – what matters is how your vendors handle it)
-Tracking payments and reviewing invoices from multiple vendors

You’ll still have to do research on any full-service manufacturer. Although they provide multiple fabrication services, they may not provide the exact combination that you need.

Some manufacturers provide pre- and post-fab services as well. This can include engineering, production, assembly, finishing, packaging, and inventory management.

3.  Why not both?

This isn’t an either-or situation. You can have the best of both worlds.

Bringing your metal fabrication to a full-service American manufacturer provides all of the benefits of a close supply chain and comprehensive services.

Want to learn more about reshoring or full-service vendors? You’ll like these articles:

13 Surprising Reshoring Statistics

Types of Tubular Steel Fabrications

The Total Cost of Ownership of American Manufacturing