Metal is Accessible
Many professional buyers, especially new ones, often feel that buying for the metals industry is overly complex. Between thousands of alloys, traceability requirements, machining requirements and more, this belief is understandable.
But metals are accessible, and you don’t need to be an expert to buy them.
A few quick tips can help even experienced buyers know what to look for.
1. Informed Suppliers
Good suppliers will provide information to make it easy for the non-expert.
If you still have questions, ask them about their product. Even basic recommendations can go a long way. If they have information such as product guides, informational videos, or learning centers, make sure to take advantage of them.
For example, Online Metals offers free product guides for all types of metals that we stock.
2. Traceability and Certification
Many industries, especially aerospace, defense, marine, and medical, demand their supply chains can document every step of the material’s way from when it’s still in the ground to when it’s on their receiving dock. Make sure your suppliers offer Material Test Reports, full traceability reports, and compliance forms.
Most suppliers will offer these but typically they charge extra for this service. The best ones do not charge.
3. Complex Quotes
It is important that your supplier is able to answer complex quotes in a prompt manner and keep you up to date with the order. Specifically, the ability to supply unusual sizes, alloys, shapes, and large quantities are going to be the main areas to look out for.
4. Custom Cutting
Custom cut lengths and sizes save you money and time. You save money on the cost of material since you don’t have to order a literal ton, as well as on shipping. Furthermore, you save time because your people don’t have to cut down the extra inventory nor pay to store it. At this point, there’s no excuse for suppliers who don’t offer a custom cut length.
5. Online Ordering
Lastly, the best suppliers will give you the option to place your own orders on their site without having to go through a sales rep first. This cuts out the delays created in the RFQ process.
For a handy comparison guide to help you with your research, refer to the accompanying supplier checklist, available with this download.