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How much does it cost to ask for help?

Author : Mark Checkley, KEB Automation

04 January 2021

Mark Checkley of KEB Automation discusses the pitfalls associated with engineers calling suppliers late in the design cycle, as well as the benefits to be gained if they were to engage earlier.

Over the years, there has been an increasing trend for engineering suppliers to be called later into the design cycle, which can lead to project delays, higher product costs or some elements of the design having to be reworked. So what’s holding engineers back from engaging earlier with suppliers? 

There are many reasons why this is happening, but I see three main recurring ones. First, it’s about company culture and the growing trend to reduce their number of suppliers and establishing a limited preferred supplier list. However, this does limit which suppliers they can ask for help from and so limits the expertise they’ll receive. Second, there’s often a power play between the design engineers and their purchasing department, which is a slightly different issue, but one which, as suppliers, we need to be aware of. Thirdly, credibility and reputation are key factors, not just the obvious reputation of the supplier, but often of the engineer who is looking at these designs for a new product development.

Read the full article in the January issue of DPA

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