The number of iPhone applications is chugging toward 1.5 million. Google applications for Android products total about the same. Which makes me wonder how someone can write an article that singles out the “10 Apps You Must Have Now.” But those lists come out regularly.

If it’s possible to sort through millions of applications to recommend the ones I absolutely “must have” for my phone, it seems like I should be able to do the same for the most important traits in a metal fabrication supplier. 

So I’ve come up with a list of “must have” values – based especially on partnering with small and mid-size OEMs – that indicate a metal fabrication supplier is doing everything possible to positively affect customer competitiveness and the bottom line. 

In our experience, customers EXPECT that a supply chain partner committed to “getting it right” consistently does at least six things:

  1. Understands the priorities and strategies that drive a customer’s business, especially from the supply chain perspective.
  2. Constantly thinks about what could cause a customer to have lead-time and uptime challenges. And works in advance to propose solutions. 
  3. Looks forward by using design-for-manufacturability to avoid locking-in unnecessary component costs over the lifetime a product.
  4. Uses every opportunity – whether the project is prototype design or high-volume production – to find the right balance between quality, lead time and price.
  5. Takes on difficult projects to push the limits of what’s possible, instead of focusing on what’s in the way.
  6. Risks in-house time and resources to help customers innovate and maximize the impact of their new ideas.