Is your supplier ghosting you?

19th Oct 2023
by Sam Brown

As Halloween approaches, I find myself thinking about some of the scary stories I hear from customers about their experiences with other suppliers. Poor communication is front and centre.

In this blog, I’ll take you through what might be a familiar situation when it comes to communication from your CNC machining supplier, what the horrifying cost of that might be, and how you can improve communication with your existing or new supplier.

Enter if you dare…


Is your supplier ghosting you


A sinister reality


Picture the scene, maybe you have experienced this situation recently…. You make an enquiry with a CNC machined parts supplier.

They’re really interested in you, they’re responsive to your calls and emails and you submit a RFQ which is promptly processed, and your quote returned.

There’s a bit of back and forth, you’re impressed with them and decide to place an order.

If you’re lucky, you’ll receive an order acknowledgment within a week.

The lead time for the part is six weeks so you place your trust with the supplier and assume that unless you hear otherwise, the part will be delivered on time.

Five weeks pass and as you haven’t heard anything, you assume that everything is on track for the original delivery date.

But the silence is starting to worry you, so you decide to send them an email anyway, just for a bit of reassurance.

A couple of days pass with no response so you decide to give your contact a call, just to check in and ensure everything is as expected.

Unfortunately, your contact isn’t in the office (hence no response to your email) and no one else seems to be able to help, but you’re assured they’ll give you a ring first thing in the morning.

First thing comes and goes.

You give them a couple of hours just in case your ideas of ‘first thing’ differ… and then you call them.

When you finally speak to your contact, you discover that there has been an unforeseen delay and the parts won’t be delivered on the agreed date after all.

At this point, you’re just three days from the expected delivery date.

You’ve got four engineers lined up to assemble the parts when they come in.

What a nightmare.


The frightening cost of poor communication

Lack of communication isn’t just an issue when there are delays or late parts. Poor communication for parts that do get delivered on time can still come at a significant cost.

When your supplier isn’t proactive in their communication, it puts the onus on you to chase and seek reassurance that the parts are on track. In the example above, you can see how the time starts to add up:

  • Time spent thinking about whether the parts would arrive on time
  • The email sent
  • The phone call when you couldn’t get hold of your contact
  • The time waiting for the call the next day
  • The call where you finally got the information you were after.

And that’s before the time you now need to spend rescheduling your engineers and sorting out any further implications of the delay.

In reality, there may have been a lot more back and forth on email, or you may have ended up playing phone tag with your contact when each of you is away from your desks.

Multiply this by the number of parts you’re buying from different suppliers and it’s not hard to see that time spent chasing suppliers can come at a significant cost…terrifying!

Other suppliers - edited


Improving communication with your current supplier


When you trust that your supplier will keep you up to speed, it can free up your mind and your time, and allow you to get on with what you do best.


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Set expectations

When placing an order for machined components, you’re entitled to set your communication expectations with your supplier.

This might include requesting that they contact you at certain intervals to report on progress – not just when there are delays.

For example, you could ask to schedule a phone call for a couple of weeks before the part is due which would help to put your mind at ease.

If your current supplier is not willing to do this, maybe they have some skeletons in their closet, and it might be time to start looking for a supplier who will.


What to look for in a new parts supplier

Small components being taken out of machine

If I could sum up what’s needed from a parts supplier in one word, it would be trust.

Trust is a hugely important factor when you’re choosing a new supplier and good communication goes a long way to building trust.

You want to know that you have chosen a CNC machining company that’s going to keep you in the loop rather than leave you in the dark and fearing the worst.

If you’re in the market for a new precision machining supplier, I highly recommend that you find out what their customer service process is and how they will communicate with you.

If they can’t tell you, this could be a red flag.

Here at Penta Precision, we pride ourselves on standing apart from our competitors when it comes to communication.

In fact, communication is so integral to our service that it’s one of our “3 Cs”: communication, care, and consistency.

Our Proven Process incorporates touch points where we outline when you can expect to hear from us. We have found that laying this process out for our customers goes a long way to building trust.


What communication can you expect from Penta?

When placing an order with us, you will receive email confirmation within 48 hours with a firm delivery date.

We will call you 14 days before your delivery date to give you a progress report.

If any unforeseen issues arise between these contact points (as sometimes happens in this industry), we will contact you to keep you in the loop so there are no shocking surprises. This enables you to manage people and resources your end and consequently, there is no down time.

Find out more about our proven process.


Penta - edited


Talk to us about your upcoming project


At Penta, we are always open to a chat about your project, your requirements, and how we can help to free up your time.

There's nothing to fear, give us a call on 023 9266 8334 or email .

Witching you a Happy Halloween 🎃