Posted on Friday, April 25, 2014 in UEA Blog

Organizations are now developing effective partnerships with key suppliers to grow and develop new opportunities in the marketplace. Historically, supplier relations have been cultivated by the purchasing department or specific buyers within the company. As rapid prototyping and shorter lead times demand more efficient manufacturing methods, suppliers have become a key source of expertise and technical knowledge. Production Engineers, Quality Engineers, and Application Engineers are leveraging these new relationships to gain competitive advantage without complex or expensive training.

Suppliers who are experts in their industry offer customized solutions that often cannot be fully developed without adding significant resources to the organization. These suppliers offer more than just cost savings in the relationship; rather they collaborate with the customer to assist with meeting their current and future business objectives. The purpose of this collaboration is to assist in understanding what solutions are available to improve key business processes. The savings generated by the relationship can be reinvested in the company through strategic initiatives.

Unfortunately there is not a one-size-fits-all model for supplier relations development. Trustworthy suppliers must be discovered. This requires courting similar suppliers until a common vision is developed with one of the options. A successful relationship requires continuous improvement and added value to the customers business. At times, the relationship may require a multilevel partnership involving many suppliers with different areas of expertise.

Partnerships should embrace loyalty and trust. All parties should benefit from their investment into the relationship. Often time's additional opportunities in new or existing marketplaces will provide secondary and tertiary financial opportunities for both parties. Recognizing these opportunities will only further improve the partnership and sustain continued growth for both parties.

UEA has partnered with software, machine, and tooling suppliers to leverage their knowledge and experience in manufacturing. These experts have enhanced the capabilities of UEA while allowing us to invest dollars in the right equipment. The benefit is passed onto our customers who we have partnered with to improve their place in the market. The complex relationships that benefit all parties are how UEA continues to solve problems from the inside out.

Scott Hagberg

Manufacturing Applications Engineer