How KAD Is Expanding Our Network of Material Suppliers
Author: Brian Kippen
I know you might be thinking. . . not another article about the global supply chain crisis!
But bear with me because while I am here to talk about supply chain disruptions and material shortages negatively impacting the manufacturing industry, I’m interested in discussing solutions. Actual, feasible solutions.
My team and I overcome precision machining challenges every day, and we’re using the same problem-solving skills to mitigate supply chain issues for our customers.
How are we doing it? By expanding our network of material suppliers.
KAD has precision machine shops in Vermont and California, and our network of local suppliers works hard to get us the materials we need. We love working with local suppliers because we can have materials delivered multiple times a week, and each delivery is an opportunity to build on our relationship.
However, the current crisis means we need to expand our network, so we’re continuously adding well-vetted suppliers to our list. The more extensive our network, the better our chances are of getting the material we need when we—and you—need it.
3 Ways KAD Is Expanding Our Material Supplier Network
We’re expanding our network with three simple yet effective tactics:
1. Proactively making connections
The net we’re casting extends beyond our bi-coastal locations. We’re comfortable sourcing materials from different parts of the country and have established a national network of trusted suppliers.
We leverage social media and connect with peers in the industry to get leads on reliable and well-respected suppliers to add to our list.
We cross-pollinate between locations, relying on our suppliers in California to source materials for our precision machining projects in Vermont and vice versa.
This approach works well because we already have pre-established relationships with these suppliers. What we lose in shipping time, we more than gain in reliability and consistency from leveraging our existing network.
3. Requesting referrals
If a supplier can’t fulfill an order for us, we ask them for a referral, essentially using their network to build ours.
Offering referrals is something I do in the shop all the time. When KAD gets requests for services we don’t provide, we always try to point customers toward another shop that can meet their needs.
Some shop owners might worry that referring customers elsewhere drives business away, but in my experience, the opposite is true. Customers I referred to other shops come back to us for new jobs because they appreciated our honesty, resourcefulness, and willingness to provide solutions. Sometimes, being focused on problem-solving means building the relationship, even if you don’t make the sale.
While our actions aren’t groundbreaking, they do work. Even amid material shortages, we’ve been able to keep up with precision machining orders by obtaining the necessary materials from new suppliers across the country. Providing direct value to our customers always beats complaining about problems in the industry.
Want to work with a precision machine shop that will overcome challenges to get you the prototype models you need? Request a quote, and we’ll be in touch soon.
Brian Kippen is the owner & founder of KAD Models & Prototypes, Inc. Before launching KAD in 2011 with model maker John Dove, Brian worked as the Director of Operations at A&J Product Solutions and a machinist at Performance Structures. Brian is drawn to the challenge of making design concepts into reality and motivated by the ever-changing landscape of machining.