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The Nuts & Bolts of Successful Manufacturing Relationships

Kevin Moorcroft - Managing Director
nuts and bolts on a white background

Manufacturing philosophies are subject to change and fashion, but Challenge Europe find that the one constant is the need for trust between suppliers and manufacturing customers.

‘It can be seen that this ‘hand-in-glove’ relationship may often become so close that it is difficult to discern where the boundaries lie.’

Indeed, this relationship may often become so close that it is difficult to discern who orders, who determines stock levels, who even carries or funds the stock, who establishes the final specification and who a particular operative actually works for. In such an intimate relationship, egos are subjugated to efficiency, quality and flexibility in the process, which can involve:

  • Secondary assembly, kit collation, lineside supply and other protocols.
  • Supplier managed stock – ordinary, delivery to site.

It also includes the combined supply of:

  • Standard fasteners, special fasteners.
  • Custom fasteners.
  • Specialist components, assemblies and finished components.
  •  Production kit.
  •  Delivery to site on schedule.

The supplier acts as a stock/supply node that can bring together the outsourcing and supply of components for their small-to-medium SME customers in the manufacturing industry. Such an intimate relationship builds a supply chain management package as a trusted part of a system, improving efficiency, raising quality and reducing costs. Therefore, this takes the worry out of day-to-day supply issues.

Stocking & Delivery:

Sourcing and the supply chain in a manufacturing cycle are key factors that fall under the headings of stock inventory control, site management and production system integration.

Quality & Service:

‘By understanding and satisfying the needs of a customer, a contractor can recognise that the assurance of quality is a fundamental factor.’

A factor that governs all work conducted within the supply chain relationship model under the considerations of:

  • In-house approval.
  • ISO 9000 systems.
  • Quality products and suppliers.
  • High-tech applications.
  • Sophisticated materials.
  • Specialist processes.
  • High volumes with low fault tolerances.

Thus, partnerships in engineering, product enhancement, component supply and assembly, stocking and delivery, costs and pricing, in-house investment and sourcing/supply infrastructure support the manufacturing process through service elements comprising: ex-stock, VMI, JIT, Kanban, Linefeed etc., technical support, trade counter, fast response capacity, sub-assembly processes, supply administration, sourcing consultancy and national/international logistics management.

Product Enhancement:

‘An excellent supplier can advise on optimal design-for-production (DFP) values at the product concept stage and provide pre-production advice on the handling of components, kits and sub-assemblies.’

Successful manufacturing relationships contribute to ongoing product improvement by suggesting and supplying components of alternative materials which can reduce component counts and shorten assembly times.

As concept consultants, an excellent supplier can advise on optimal design-for-production (DFP) values at the product concept stage and provide pre-production advice on the handling of components, kits and sub-assemblies. This allows processes and component stocks to be tailored for the production line by negotiating component supply, implementing assembly planning/methodology, design of kit specifications, component grouping and packaging to meet specific production needs. In addition, subcontractors can carry out physical assembly/packaging operating to ISO 9001 accredited quality systems to international standards and a corporate vendor approval process.

About Challenge Europe:

Challenge (Europe) Ltd is an ISO 9001-accredited stockist and distributor of threaded fasteners, with an emphasis on supplying manufacturing companies located within the UK with specialist standard or custom components.

Further information on manufacturing partnerships with Challenge Europe can be found at www.challenge-europe.co.uk/presentation.

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