You've heard of “just-in-time,” and “just-in-case”. These two sayings seem to epitomize the spectrum of approaches fab shops, machine shops, factories and repair facilities take with inventory management. But these two extremes can leave you with no raw materials to get the job done, or too much waste in inventory you may never use, respectively. Many project managers, lead estimators, and even the owners want out of these extremes. Scouring websites and calling around in a panic to source materials is hard on the team, but housing excess inventory is hard on the bottom line. So, what's the alternative?
Simplifying your vendor list can be a part of a successful alternative.
Vendor lists tend to grow over time as needs arise for unusual materials, cross-sections, thicknesses and so on. After a few years you might find you're dealing with dozens of vendors, but placing few orders a year with most. Reducing that list helps you:
Save time searching for sources. Just get what you want, when you want it, from vendors with full-service capabilities.
Streamline ordering and payment processes. That means less paperwork, fewer checks to write, and less administrative work.
Reduce inventory. If you deal with vendors that have what you want and can deliver it in a timely manner you don't need to keep it in stock just-in-case.
Build lasting relationships with businesses you can depend on.
At Boyd we're here to help and valuable resources like our PIPE SIZE CHART is another example of how we use our expertise to give our clients useful tools.
Three steps to simplification
Look for vendors carrying a wide range of the products and materials you use. Not just the things you buy every week, but the materials you only need infrequently. (They're the “long tail” items that make purchasing and inventory management a headache.) Make a shortlist which might look like this:
- beryllium copper
- stainless steel
- steel pipe
- steel tubing
- carbon steel pipe
- aluminum pipe
- aluminum bronze
- silicon bronze
- phosphor bronze
- brass alloy
- saw cutting
- plasma cutting
- on time delivery
Find out if they can deliver what you need, when you need it. Look for stocking warehouses that are close by so you won't wait days for a delivery. If the vendor provides their own transportation that's even better.
Ask if they're willing and able to perform value-adding services like cutting to length, slitting or bending. Getting metal delivered in the size, shape, and quantity you want saves you time and can free-up floor space for higher margin activities.
At the end of this process, you'll have a list, probably a very short list, of companies you really want to buy from - ones that work with your best interested in mind. Make that your new, simplified vendor list and start spending more time running and growing your business and less time chasing your materials!
At Boyd Metals, we'd love to be on the top of that short list. With local management of each facility, our General Managers have the decision-making power to stock what you need and respond to our loyal customers' special requests. Delivery service is free and available next day to most of our service area. What's more, we don't require weight minimums for this service! Find out for yourself what #TheBoydDifference is all about and give us a shot at your next order.
Don't forget about our PIPE SIZE CHART. Just click the image below to receive this free and handy tool!
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