The meeting with your potential converter goes smoothly until they ask you a question that makes you think:
“Why do you need to know that?”
If you haven’t learned it yet, you’ll soon discover converters need more than one sketch to complete an order. In fact, converters often benefit from an in-depth understanding of the project management process to help them build the best parts possible.
Over the years, Strouse has worked with over six thousand different companies, which is how we know every process is unique. If you’re worried about sharing your company secrets, all of our customers operate under a mutual NDA.
Although it can be intimidating to disclose the inner workings of your company, these factors will explain why your converter asks so many questions about your process and how it will ultimately help your company.
5 Benefits of Disclosing Your Project Management Process To a Converter
The project management process refers to the different phases where you’re working alongside your team to carry out a project, from the strategy all the way to the project’s end.
These five benefits will show you how explaining role assignment, product usage, and design approval can help expedite your discovery phase and contribute to building a more efficient process with your converter.
1. ESTABLISHING DIRECT COMMUNICATION
Converting can be very hands-on and adjustable, meaning there are many changes needing approval, and information is easily lost in the process.
Email chains can become frustrating due to the context needed to understand every conversation. It’s simple to forward one email, but when your converter explains the terms, costs, and changes to someone who isn’t responsible for making the final decision, that person is burdened with the expectation to re-explain everything they just learned.
Whether it’s one person or a board of directors, knowing who decides the final outcome will help us relay the information to the right people to avoid wasting anyone’s time. Lastly, bringing in your decision-makers early allows your converter to include them in all vital discussions and explanations.
2. SPEEDING UP THE DESIGN APPROVAL PROCESS
When you send a converter your drawing, they’re almost guaranteed to ask technical questions about your part design. First, evaluate your company’s approval process by asking yourself:
- How do you get things approved?
- Who approves them?
- Who should we ask about design variations, original design, functionality, or scalability of your part?
Flexible material converting is a very technical and involved process; the design phase continues beyond completing and sending your converter a drawing.
The initial design you send your converter isn’t adjusted for rotary die cut converting and could lack necessary adjustments to material thickness, speed of the press, or other factors affecting your part tolerances.
Your converter needs to properly adjust your design so the tool doesn’t produce faulty parts, especially since replacing highly complex die-cut tooling can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
The decision-maker managing your final part design might be a head engineer, the team member who built the design, or someone else in your work breakdown structure. Putting your converter in direct contact with the individual who gives the final say on design questions helps prevent miscommunication about your part design.
3. BUILDING A TIMELINE OF EVENTS
Depending on where you are in the process, it’s possible you don’t have a timeline of events created. However, taking the time to make one will allow your converter to build in time for deadlines and potential setbacks.
Consider these points when you’re putting together your timeline:
- Do you have any impending dates or deadlines for your product?
- Are you assembling the final product with other parts? When are they expected to arrive?
- Does your product need to undergo validation and verification?
- What happens if we miss a deadline?
Product shortages are challenging for any business to endure, and it could be helpful for your converter to recommend preemptive solutions like placing blanket purchase orders. Planning out your stock and monthly shipments is a useful way to avoid worrying about scheduling mistakes or adhesive shelf life.
Finally, nobody likes the pressure of a sudden deadline. Knowing your timeline in advance will give your converter a heads-up when planning your product process.
4. FIGURING OUT YOUR PURCHASING INTENTION
Above all else, why are you hoping to purchase this part from your converter? What problem are you trying to solve, and where do you expect to be in a few years from now?
These questions may sound simple, but your answers could drastically affect how your converter approaches your design and material selection.
If your part has a complex design, it might be much more difficult to run the press faster or increase the quantity produced. Similarly, if you start out using an expensive material, it’s possible you’ll have trouble scaling up your adhesive in the future.
When ordering material, there’s a Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) that dictates how much you need to buy. As your converter, we constantly try to get you the best possible MOQ, but a high volume project with an expensive material could turn into a big issue down the road.
On the other hand, if you’re only producing a small number of parts, then there’s no need to invest in a highly expensive die cut tool if you can avoid it.
Based on your long term goals, we will likewise adjust the way we purchase your material and tooling for the optimal balance between price and quality.
5. UTILIZING THE PROJECT IMPACT
Smaller companies are hit harder by delays and part shortages. While a larger company could have more than fifty products in production, a smaller company might rely on a single product as its main revenue source.
Your converter will avoid delays regardless, but if we know there will be a colossal, negative impact on your product and company, we can plan for complications and recognize whether to factor in accommodations like storing additional parts in case of any setbacks.
How to Explain Your Project Management Process
Once again, your project management process is unique, and anything you can tell us about your part and its design can be useful information when it comes to converting.
If you’re interested in a guide on what to include in a project explanation, these questions will help you approach a converter:
However, if you’re already familiar with the types of questions you’re going to be hearing and you’re ready to speak to a converter, you might want to look into a Discovery Meeting.