How to effectively manage relationships with subcontractors

How to effectively manage relationships with subcontractors

Component subcontractors play an essential role in the world of manufacturing. The size and scale of most projects means that it is almost impossible to produce every single component in-house, which means outsourcing to a specialist becomes a necessity.

However, managing the relationship between your company and an external manufacturer can sometimes be a challenge. So, how can you ensure a hassle-free, strong and mutually beneficial partnership with a component subcontractor?

Pick the right one – First and foremost, to be satisfied with the performance of a subcontractor you have to select the right one for you. The one that can deliver what you need, when you need it, and to your budget. Sometimes, the reason for an unsuccessful or troublesome relationship can be traced back to an ineffective selection process, so make sure you know what you’re looking for and need in a subcontractor. We outlined the key factors to consider when selecting a component subcontractor in our last blog.

Communicate – Good and bad communication can make or break a relationship between you and your chosen subcontractor. In the early stages, effective communication is especially important. Be sure to make your targets, deadlines, safety requirements and quality expectations crystal clear. Also, before production begins, ask yourself this: have I/we provided the subcontractor with all the information they need to meet my expectations?

Work together and collaborate – In many cases, in-house design teams design the components they need and subcontractors only manufacture those components – with little collaboration between the two parties. However, a closer relationship between design and production can enhance product quality and ensure products are manufactured as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

The input of a production engineer into the design process can improve many things – from choosing the most suitable material, to knowing which manufacturing technique is most appropriate for a specific project, such as precision cold forming as an alternative to machining.

Provide regular feedback – Feedback is vitally important yet regularly overlooked. Many businesses tend to only provide feedback if and when they’re unhappy, but we recommend providing it on a more regular basis and when you’re pleased. Knowing what is going right and what isn’t working can be incredibly helpful for subcontractors and enable them to improve their service.

With over 90 years’ experience as a subcontractor, we’ve seen first hand the positive impact that the aforementioned advice can have on a contractor-subcontractor relationship. By following the points above you can have the best possible chance of building a long-term and mutually beneficial partnership with a component subcontractor.

If you’d like to learn more about our services and how we, as a subcontractor, meet the needs and expectations of our customers, please get in touch today.

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