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Why Is This Going Wrong?

Round_PegThings change, we all know that. Sometimes for the better and sometimes for the “What the hell is this?” The first samples you received from the overseas supplier were pretty good, a tweak here and there and it’s perfect, “Go ahead with the run and I’ll wire the deposit!” Then a couple of months later the product you just received barely matches the sample, not to mention it doesn’t fit the other components at all!

Who’s really at fault, you or the supplier? Of course in your mind they are but in reality it’s probably 50/50. I come across this situation far too often. The reality is that a lot of decisions regarding new products aren’t clearly addressed with the supplier form the start. I recently dealt with a company that had a plastic part sourced in China and was finding that this component was difficult for the customer to install. After some digging I found out that the supplier was using polypropylene and as the parts cooled they warped. The client never actually specified what plastic was to be used and of course the supplier, who is in business to make money, chose a cheaper material. The part was eventually switched to ABS and performed flawlessly.

Now of course in this example the warping was caught on incoming inspection but at that point it was already too late. Orders were already confirmed and though the part didn’t fit perfectly, it would work so in the box it went. Another mistake the client made apart from not calling out the material was that they should have had someone from their company at the molder when the parts were first made, sample in hand for comparison. Having 50,000 bad parts show up at your door that aren’t really correct and having to supply a subpar product in hopes it doesn’t get returned does not make for restful nights.

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