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first converting order
Lee K. HouseJul 10, 20244 min read

What to Expect from Your First Order with Strouse

“Why might my lead time change between orders?” 

As you’re probably aware, the initial production process involves a lot of communication and follow-up questions. However, this could leave you feeling adrift during future orders

Strouse has been building custom parts for over three decades, and we fully recognize that first-time orders function differently from long-term orders. Today, we will discuss what to expect from your first order with Strouse to prepare you for any future orders you place. 

Before we begin, if you haven’t placed an order with Strouse but are interested in doing so, contact us to schedule a project consultation:

What Happens During Your First Order?

When it comes to custom products, the first order can be time-consuming. 

1. THERE WILL BE LOTS OF QUESTIONS

Assembling your product’s first press run is like trying to build furniture while someone instructs you over the phone: confusing, experimental, and often needing adjustments. 

Your converter will likely ask clarifying questions about the material and design during pre-production. Elaborating upon your application and process will speed up and help improve the results of your first order. 

On the other hand, re-orders are a far more familiar process. By then, your converter will have an established setup method to build your part. Unless there have been any significant design changes, your converter won’t re-quiz you on the application and process. 

In short, if we ask you many questions during your first order with Strouse, don’t panic—it’s normal for this process stage. 

2. ESTABLISHING PAYMENT

In our experience, establishing payment can take longer than anticipated.

If you already plan on placing an order, establishing payment terms in advance can save you substantial time. Credit card or Check payment methods can be verified quickly, but Terms can take longer since they involve sending letters of inquiry to your references and awaiting a response. 

3. CALIBRATING MACHINES & DETERMINING THE SETUP 

If you’ve worked with a converter in the past, you know that custom assemblies require some trial and error before they can run smoothly. 

Full-scale production is a unique assembly that requires technical adjustments, often made during the setup and manufacturing run process. Plus, if you’ve received samples from Strouse in the past, you may not know that full-scale production is an entirely separate operation and setup

Converters create samples using tool-free laser or digital knife converting, but these processes aren’t always used in the final setup. Although these cutting methods are effective at creating samples, they aren’t always cost-effective for full-scale production.

“[Converting] is a process. It takes time to make it right, but we have to do it to make sure you’re getting a quality product.” — Kesha Evans, Customer Success Advocate at Strouse

You’re probably wondering, “Why does this matter to me?”

Your initial lead time generally includes enough buffer time to account for any additional adjustments. However, you’ll be pleased to know that re-orders require far less trial and error. The first project assembly is somewhat unpredictable, but the familiarity and efficiency of your project will increase as your converter grows more accustomed to your custom process. 

4. PART QUANTITIES MAY VARY (SLIGHTLY)

Custom processes take refinement, meaning the initial run may not contain the exact number of specified parts. You might have noticed that Strouse typically follows the ±10% part rule. Converting isn’t an exact science; the more we run your order on our machines, the more experience our operators will have in making the right adjustments for quicker and smoother production. 

What To Expect From Future Orders

After all the emails spent exchanging details, you’ll be pleased to know that future orders are often a far quicker process than your initial order. 

While your first order is slowed by the need to elaborate upon product specifications and establish a payment method, re-orders have far fewer hoops to jump through. 

When placing a re-order, remember to let us know if anything about the part design has changed, and include any product information or previous purchase orders you may possess. Then, Strouse will quote the re-order based on current material prices. 

Having already set up the machine in the past, assembling the press for a re-order will take less time and require far less back-and-forth communication. The more we build your product, the more quickly we can sort through order details and assemble the machine press for a smooth and efficient production run.

Placing your first order with a new company can be stressful, but ultimately, it’s a significant step in bringing your design from prototype to production. 

Working with Strouse is a collaboration that will set you up for long-term success. Whether you’re placing your first order or any re-orders after, you’ll know that Strouse is consistently searching for ways to improve your production. 

If you haven’t already, reach out for a quote for your project and start your journey towards acquiring an accurate product solution.

Lastly, you can check out our Learning Center for more information on your timeline throughout the manufacturing process. 

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Lee K. House

Copywriter & Content Creator for Strouse. Lee graduated from the University of Alabama in the Spring of 2022 with a double major in English and Spanish.

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