“They were slow to respond to inquiries, took months to return bids, and were largely unwilling to make investments to manufacture the parts he needed.”

That observation from a Fortune magazine article on the “reshoring” trend – and its positive impact on U.S. manufacturing health – describes what an American entrepreneur experienced when he made it a priority to find U.S. contract manufacturers to make parts for the new product his small business was launching.

In another example, an inventor found a U.S. supplier, but “the factory made mistakes, caused shipment delays, and was slow to respond. They often don’t even answer their phone.”

The CEO of an online manufacturing directory was equally pessimistic when talking about what moderate-sized OEM businesses find when they search for domestic manufacturing suppliers.

“The No. 1 reaction people have when looking into the U.S.,” he said, “is surprise and dissatisfaction about how few options there are.”

It’s not a very positive picture of two categories that Schaffer Manufacturing represents. We are a contract manufacturer and a small business. One that works every day to earn a reputation for delivering, adding value and consistently “coming through” in whatever way a customer needs us to make a difference. We never use “small” as an excuse for not delivering “big.” And that’s true whether the project is a few prototype parts or high-volume production.

Certainly, we’re confident about what Schaffer can do when it comes to metal fabrication. But I think an equally important part of our success and growth is that we look to partner with small and mid-size OEMs that have values – especially toward business relationships – that match the way we like to operate.

Collaborating with customers who share Schaffer values is a big reason we often make our own investments in develop solutions that meet challenges or solve customer problems. It’s why we are willing to do some investigation and experimentation in order to arrive at a better price, quality and delivery result than an OEM might experience with another source.

When a customer believes in open communication and is interested in a better or different way to make something, the relationship fits the way we like to conduct business. From there it’s about applying our expertise and resources to add the supply chain value we know we can create.