How To Shortlist Your New CNC Machining Suppliers

1st Mar 2021
by Sam Brown

It’s Time To Bring In New Expertise

You’re not happy with your existing CNC machining suppliers. You’re seeing warning signs relating to quality, SLA breaches and late deliveries. That’s never good – particularly for critical sectors such as medical or aerospace.

Perhaps your existing suppliers have hit capacity. Or they’ve become expensive. Or suddenly ceased trading – falling victim to the challenging times we all now face.

Maybe it’s simply time to turn up the heat a little. The mandatory tender process has kicked in and you’re doing what you do best – looking to improve quality and get best value from your procurement.

Download Your Free Guide To Changing CNC Machining Suppliers

Traditional Methods Of Sourcing Suppliers – And Their Pitfalls

So you’ve taken the decision: you’re definitely going to add a new CNC machining supplier (or replace one of your existing suppliers). You’re looking for someone new, fresh, keen and hungry – a determined player that’s out to impress you. And deliver superior quality at the right price. Not too much to ask, is it?

  • Step 1: Your first move is usually to consult with your purchasing colleagues: who do they know who’s up to the challenge? And that’s fine – up to a point – but you’re limited by the constraints of their existing networks. You may miss the real gems if you mine the same seams over and over again.
  • Step 2: Broadening your search to your trusted suppliers is the next move. That can unearth some diamonds. But only if the companies you ask don’t compete with the suppliers you seek.

Good recommendations from experts you trust are worth their weight in platinum. Group politics and vested interests are unlikely to rear their heads if you have a long and trusted relationship with the people you’re asking.

But it would be naïve to discount these risks completely. And again, you are limited by the strength of your contacts’ networks. You may still miss the gems.

Google Will Take You Only So Far…

Google is the obvious go-to resource but delve deep. Google is great at finding web pages about a given topic – but it’s less good at telling you whether that supplier will be a good fit for your procurement strategy.

So look well beyond page one of Google. Search for detailed testimonials and compelling case studies.

Be More Pro-Active On LinkedIn

Searching on Google is not enough: you need to cross-reference your contenders with LinkedIn.

And don’t just check out the firm’s LinkedIn company page: look at their key players’ personal profiles. You’re looking for digital authority that reflects their real-world expertise. Look at:

  • their skills and endorsements
  • their recommendations (and the authority of the people recommending them)
  • case studies they have shared
  • expert third-party content they have curated and shared
  • groups they have joined, questions they have answered.

But again, don’t rule out smaller contenders simply because their LinkedIn profiles and pages are not as slick as their corporate counterparts. It’s just another indicator – not an absolute filter.

Can Trade Associations Or Directories Help Me?

Trade organisations are another option explored by procurement professionals:

And there is always the plethora of online directories. But inclusion in a list of suppliers – even a vetted list – is not always a guarantee that they will have the specialised expertise required for your application(s).

Or that they will be able to deliver the quality, consistency and value you need. Especially not for something as important as precision machining components for medical devices.

Download Your Free Guide To Changing CNC Machining Suppliers

This blog post forms part of a three-part guide to reviewing your CNC machining suppliers. The guide covers:

  • what to look for in your new CNC machining suppliers
  • traditional methods of sourcing suppliers – with some caveats
  • key questions you should ask CNC machining suppliers
  • why you should demand rigorous in-house inspections (and not just rely on certifications)
  • good practice in procurement (looking further ahead).

Click here to get Your Guide to Changing Suppliers

Get Penta Involved

Penta Precision is ISO 9001:2015 accredited for quality assurance. Getting our experienced engineers involved in your projects early can alert you to potential design and engineering issues before they become costly, time-consuming and stressful.

Penta maintains quality and consistency through validated processes that are proven to work

  • We communicate well 
  • We take care at each stage
  • Our service is consistent.

Contact Penta for further information