Most sourcing managers have heard stories about low-quality products that are made overseas. Foreign sourcing may not be as appealing these days, but you need to make the best decisions for your own business. If you’re in the market for die cut parts, pick a partner instead of just a parts provider. If the choice is between a foreign firm and a Made in the USA die cutter, consider lead time, quality, risk tolerance, cost control, and storage.
Manufacturing lead time is the total time it takes to make an item. Some activities, such as determining requirements and placing the order for die cut parts, are within your control. Other operations, such as the manufacturer’s access to materials and die-cutting capabilities, are beyond your reach. If a die cutter in China takes days to answer your e-mails, can you be confident you’ll receive prompt notice about problems that could extend lead times?
Die cutting produces parts with varying degrees of precision. Tight tolerances are achievable, but there’s a balance between die cutting tolerances and die cutting costs. What are the allowable dimensional variations for the parts that you need? If you need rubber gaskets, your part drawing may specify an RMA tolerance table. Die cutting tolerances are a function of many factors, and a manufacturer who promises low-cost parts could cost you more in the long run if quality suffers.
Shorter supply chains reduce risk by minimizing the effects of everything from bad weather to political unrest. Die cut parts that are shipped from abroad move from foreign ports to U.S. Customs, and from ships to trains to trucks. Along the way, problems can and do happen. Did you know that the typical lead time for die cut parts from an overseas supplier is 90 days? Normally, maritime shipping alone takes about 30 days. If your lead times can’t budge, how much risk can you tolerate when it comes to die cutting?
Fluctuations in fuel prices aren’t all that can affect your freight and shipping costs. Import fees and changes in currency exchange rates could mean costs that turn a relatively inexpensive die cutting job into an accounting nightmare. Quality die cutting provides protection against rework, but how can sourcing managers guard against other hidden costs? By choosing a domestic die cutter instead of an overseas one, you can eliminate import fees and exchange rates from the equation.
Finally, think about storage. High-volume production reduces per-unit costs, but is a large minimum order quantity (MOQ) really what you need? Once you receive all of those die cut parts, you’ll have to store, track, and release them. Overseas die cutters may promise low costs for high MOQs, but complete job costing is more complex.
Are you ready to learn more about domestic die cutting? Would you like a trusted partner instead of just a parts provider? Contact JBC Technologies today.