How the Right Supplier Can Help Save your Reputation - Can you afford to pay for their mistakes with your reputation?

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Here at MES, we carefully select our suppliers to exceed our stringent quality standards. Here are four signs that indicate it’s time to switch suppliers.

It’s your job to ensure that your organization’s reputation is what you want it to be. The challenge (and opportunity) is to make sure that you’re working with suppliers who not only value your reputation but also help protect it.

Shoddy quality from a supplier is a direct reflection on you. Can you afford to pay for their mistakes with your reputation?

Successful businesses know that reputation is a key component of customer loyalty and, ultimately, profitability. Researchers say that up to 80% of market value is a result of business intangibles like reputation.1

It’s your job to ensure that your organization’s reputation is what you want it to be. The challenge (and opportunity) is to make sure that you’re working with suppliers who not only value your reputation but also help protect it.

But how can a supplier help and not hurt your reputation when it’s providing consistently sub-par quality painting services on your castings? They can’t. At least that’s what one globally recognized leader in truck and trailer safety lighting found out before coming to MES.

“This global transportation leader was experiencing an endless run of paint quality and coverage issues,” says Jay Ethridge, MES Business Development Manager. “Paint was literally falling off the casting. It was thicker in some areas, non-existent in others, and, frankly, the quality of the powder coating was absolutely dismal. Even worse was the fact that these weren’t ‘hidden’ castings. They were absolutely visible components to the end-user – and a tangible reminder about their intangible and invaluable reputation as a truck and transportation lighting company.”

So, how can the right supplier help save your organization’s reputation? More importantly, how can you make sure you have the right supplier in the first place?
Quality Talks

You’ve probably heard a lot of organizations speak about their suppliers as being more than vendors. They use phrases like “we’re in partnership” and “they’re an extension of our team.” While this is an admirable and desirable goal, it means nothing if the supplier doesn’t meet or exceed your quality standards.

Make sure that your supplier is consistently delivering quality products and services to you because that virtually guarantees that you’re delivering the same to your end user.

Keep in mind that quality has far less to do with efficiencies or cost-savings than it does reputation. Quality can be affordable without being cheap or shoddy. For example, powder coating is a common painting technique, in part, because it’s a quicker, less expensive way of putting paint on a casting. Powder coating is not, however, a one-size-fits-all solution.

It certainly wasn’t for this OEM. Because their supplier was getting paint in between the fins or ribs of the casting, it was clear that powder coating alone wasn’t working. Worse, the casting was not a “hidden” component, which meant it was seen by the end user. Peeling, mishmash, distorted paint jobs told a quality story that had the potential to leave a lasting impression, and not the one the OEM wanted.

That’s when MES engineers went to work to find a fix. The goal?

Better.

Better paint finishes.

Better coverage.

Better overall quality.

“We knew we could deliver superior specialty coating and paint finishes,” says Jay Ethridge. “We knew we could deliver products worthy of their reputation – and ours. And that’s exactly what we did.”

After brainstorming solutions and testing their theories, MES determined that a two-step process would provide better coverage and longer-term durability. Using an industrial paint gun known as an electric coat or e-coat, MES was able to fully cover the casting. Then, to add even more coverage, protection, and strength, MES applied a layer of powder coating over the top of the e-coat. Viola! Superior quality and coverage achieved.

Think Ahead

If there’s one thing about reputation, it’s this: It cannot rest on its laurels. Keeping your reputation in its rightful place, therefore, should include partnering with a supplier that can help you innovate and optimize your offerings.

Choose forward-thinking suppliers who anticipate your needs, as well as those of your customers. At MES, our engineers run through dozens of “what-if” scenarios. In addition, it’s the MES way to be an avid reader, researcher, and trend watcher, all to the benefit of our customers.

Be sure to fully leverage this kind of supplier expertise. Look for a supplier that has and shares a plethora of ideas, concepts, and insights that you don’t already have.

In the example of the OEM with paint issues, MES could’ve stopped at solving those quality issues. But we didn’t. Instead, we shared our inventory management systems and warehousing capabilities. With our help, the OEM was able to let go of the burden of drop shipments and inventory-crowded floors at their plant.

In turn, we’re now providing just-in-time (JIT) delivery with improved lead times, as well as shouldering the responsibility of stocking, managing, and shipping inventory out of our Columbus, Ohio location or Mexico-based warehouses.

Problem-Solvers Make the Difference

Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” To protect your reputation, take the time to vet your supplier’s problem-solving abilities.

Don’t wait until there is a problem to see if they can handle it. Instead, test them by posing a small problem as a pilot project. Or, at the very least, ask for case studies that demonstrate their capabilities.

As a solutions-oriented supplier, MES not only solved paint quality issues and inventory management problems, we provided dedicated planning, engineering, and supply chain experts to ensure a smooth onboarding process and seamless working relationship.

Today, we’re still the OEM’s supplier of choice and we continue to stock healthy inventory levels, ship products on time and order the right amount of a specialty coated product they’re known for and proud of.

Embrace Change

Protecting your organization’s reputation means ensuring that you have the right suppliers in place. Take the time to assess your supplier’s performance, continually review it, and make changes when necessary. The right supplier is the one that delivers top-notch products and services free from worry, hassles, or quality issues – and that’s a supplier you can count on with your reputation.

The MES Solution At-a-Glance

Industry: Transportation – Post-Manufactured Services

Company Type: Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) Truck and Trailer Safety Lighting

Size/Rank: Worldwide Leader

Challenge: Reputation is everything when you’re a global leader in LED lighting and visibility systems. Unfortunately, their old supplier was jeopardizing that reputation with ongoing paint issues, including too-thick paint, peeling paint, and incomplete coverages.

Solution: MES’s engineering team came up with alternatives to powder coat-only painting using a one-two punch of e-coating combined with powder coating for high-quality, full coverage of the casting.

Results: MES solved the customer’s paint issues and then some to deliver better quality paint finishes, full coverage, and longer shelf life. As their new supplier, we also freed up the OEM’s floor space by offering outstanding warehousing and inventory control.

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Zach Hamner
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