What should you do when you order die cut circles, but your converter keeps sending you Pacman cutouts?
The relationship between a flexible material converter and their client is primarily based on trust, so receiving hundreds of useless parts for seemingly unreasonable prices can be frustrating.
As a flexible material converting company, Strouse has supported clients from other businesses on their journey to explore alternative options. We wanted to create a helpful resource for any business considering switching their converting company.
Today we’ll focus on making sure you can thoroughly analyze your reasons for switching converters and provide tips on achieving a smooth transition.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Switching Flexible Material Converters
Before you go any further, consider WHY you want to change converters to ensure the new one can match your needs.
Even though you’re looking for a change, there are many hoops to jump through: searching for a new converter without a specific goal will leave you frustrated and exhausted. Also, as we’ll address later, factors such as material lead time most likely cannot be addressed by changing converters.
Once you’ve started to think about switching, it can be tempting to hunt down every flexible material converter you can find on the internet. However, you'll likely have many issues if you don’t parse through the problems with your current production process before hunting down new converters.
Consider your current problem and whether you can narrow your options to find the best solution. Before cutting ties with a current process, reviewing the specific data behind excessive costs, product defects, or machine downtime is essential.
1. “WHAT’S DRIVING MY LEAD TIME?”
You’re enjoying a hot drink in your chair when suddenly you receive an unfortunate email: There’s a delay. Your lead time has changed to…
As your good mood sours, you can’t help but wonder whether it's due to:
- The material lead time
- The converting lead time
Based on our experience, your material lead time is often far longer than the actual converting process. Unfortunately, this can decrease the effectiveness of switching to a new flexible material converter.
Most converters will use the same, if not similar, suppliers for all their materials, so a silicone shortage affecting one converter is likely also taking its toll on the rest of the industry. Switching converters could land you at the same lead time as before, plus the additional costs associated with the initial set-up (which we’ll go over momentarily).
Is your converter taking 6 to 12 weeks to fill your order? On rare occasions, converters might be too busy to accept new orders or adequately run your part. A more common problem is that your current converter cannot keep up with your demand as you scale. If this becomes a persistent problem, it could be worth looking into a change to stabilize the delivery of your product.
The fact is that material causes most lead time issues, which are extremely common in the converting industry. Knowing where your lead time problems begin will allow you to navigate the situation accordingly. One workaround is to start implementing blanket purchase orders, something converters can offer to companies facing longer lead times.
2. “WHAT QUALITY ISSUES AM I FACING?”
Quality issues will cost you through defective parts, machine stoppage, and other automation errors.
If you order 10,000 parts, but 2,000 are defective, you’re experiencing a 20% product loss. This level of waste might be a massive blow to your profit and product assembly process. Not to mention, the stress of going through the hair-pulling process of fixing it.
For instance, if your assembly process is automated, your machines might stop whenever they encounter a defective part. Often, this requires a manual inspection and results in a total machine stoppage. These errors add up over time, ultimately causing additional profit loss besides the initial product loss.
A new converter might have better quality-control systems in place. For instance, Strouse can guarantee 100% part quality using in-line inspections, but this comes at a higher cost.
Depending on the effectiveness of your current process, quality issues are a completely understandable reason to switch converters.
3. “HOW MUCH MONEY AM I LOSING (AND IS IT WORTH THE CHANGE)?”
If a problem has grown bad enough that your current converter can no longer suit your needs, you’re probably experiencing significant profit losses.
Product loss could be due to any of the following:
- Defective parts
- Production downtime
- Chain issues (due to defective products)
- Increased demand for manual labor
Determining the primary cause of your profit loss is one step, but finding the exact dollar amount will justify seeking a new flexible material converter.
Because switching converters can be expensive, you’ll want to ensure your loss rate is worth the price of re-hashing your project with another company.
Introducing your project to a new flexible material converter is like starting from scratch. You’ll have to explain your project to the converter, request a quote, and most likely pay for die cut tooling.
Flexible material converters make thousands of minute measurements and adjustments during the machine set-up. A converter can’t predict specific issues that could arise on the machine press, so planning for potential delays or setbacks initially is your safest option.
If you know the current amount you’re losing per hour on defective parts, production downtime, or other loss factors, you’ll understand whether the upfront cost of changing converters is worth the amount it could save you in the long run.
How Can I Ensure a Smooth Transition Between Flexible Material Converters?
The best way to ensure a smooth transition between flexible material converters is to fully understand the problem causing you to switch and the solution you seek.
Additionally, being open and transparent about issues you’re currently experiencing will allow new flexible material converters to address your biggest concerns. The more background information you can provide on why you’re switching, the better your converter can adapt your process to avoid repeating previous issues.
Do you suffer from issues with your current converter and feel as though you’d be better off seeking new options? See whether we have your desired quality capabilities or get Strouse’s quote for your project now: