Supplying your own material is like knocking on the pilot’s door and offering to be a co-pilot. However, unlike piloting, supplying your own material might be your best decision under the right circumstances.
Although we purchase material for most projects, we’ve also worked on numerous projects where it made more sense for clients to send their material to Strouse directly.
Once you’ve read the pros and cons of supplying your material, you’ll know whether being the supplier is the right choice for your company.
Can You Provide Your Own Material?
In a nutshell: Yes, Strouse allows you to provide your own material, but it’s more complicated than that.
Using your own material puts you in the role of the supplier for what could be the total length of your project. Before you make a commitment that could last for months or even years, let’s look at the positives and negatives of being your own supplier.
Pros of Using Your Own Adhesive Material
Being your own supplier can be empowering. You’re in charge of finding the right material at an affordable price, shipping it to your converter, and following up to ensure that they don’t run out of material or encounter additional issues.
Here are three of the biggest reasons why you might want to supply your material:
1. CUSTOMIZING YOUR ADHESIVE MATERIAL
When you have your own brand or work alongside another company to create highly-specialized material, sending your own adhesive to a converter often makes the most sense.
If you’re determined to use your own material that nobody else can make, becoming the supplier is your best option.
However, it’s worth noting that if you’re not producing your own material, you might want to consider letting the converter purchase it for reasons you’ll see later on in this article.
2. THE ABILITY TO SELF-WAREHOUSE
If your project is larger, the amount of material needed may be too large to store at your converter’s facility. Self-warehousing allows you to prepare your flexible materials far in advance and store them safely in case production is ever interrupted.
You might be stuck without a product if something happens while using an outside supplier. By self-warehousing, you can store the raw materials for future production at your facility and you can ship the converter what they need when they need it. This allows you to have a stable supply chain and eases the burden on your converter.
Of course, if you’re taking part in the storage, you’ll want to know how to store adhesive tape rolls.
3. CONTROLLING MATERIAL LEAD TIME
Some materials have month-long lead times, and you can’t sit around and wait for them. Waiting on your material can easily be one of the most excruciating parts of the adhesive converting process.
You are assuming direct control over the lead time by providing your own material. Packaging and shipping the material to your converter on time becomes your responsibility.
Lastly, one upside of bringing your own material is that you don’t need to rely on anyone for shipping updates. Instead, you receive notifications directly and inform your converter about schedule changes:
But although there are positive aspects to becoming your own supplier, it can also lead to higher costs, logistical issues, and miscommunication.
Cons of Supplying Your Own Adhesive Material
Unless you’ve supplied material in the past, this could be your first experience planning certain aspects of your project, such as ordering material to arrive, or adjusting the quantity to account for adhesive setup waste.
These are a few cons of supplying your own material that could lead to delays or a higher cost.
1. INCREASED MATERIAL COST
Your converter could have access to lower prices than you depending on the type of material you’re buying.
When your company has been around as long as Strouse (nearly 4 decades), you begin to form trusting relationships with different suppliers.
However, it’s worth noting that a large part of your cost is likely unavoidable if your material is highly specialized or requires additional processing.
2. SHIPPING COORDINATION
While controlling the supply of material can reduce lead times, there’s also the unfortunate possibility that any setbacks on your end will cause schedule delays.
Unlike big-name suppliers, you probably won’t have a suitable replacement for the material on hand unless you’ve stored a large quantity of it. Allowing your converter to suggest a supplier can be helpful because not only does your converter have experience working with them, but it also assumes the organization burden off of you.
3. LACK OF STORAGE SPACE
Before you begin hoarding material, it’s worth asking: Does your converter store material in-house?
For example, here at Strouse, we don’t have the space to keep a giant supply of adhesive lodged in-house. Instead, we order quantities for the purchase orders that we have on hand and that make sense for our storage and production capabilities.
Despite working with thousands of materials, we primarily store materials we’re actively using. If the supply chain for your raw materials fluctuates, you may want to consider storing your own materials.
Unsure when to involve a converter in the process? This guide will explain the positives of involving a converter early in the process:
Should You Supply Your Own Adhesive Material?
Supplying your own adhesive is useful when it occurs in specific circumstances, but when should you NOT supply your own?
The decision to supply your adhesive material should rely primarily on three factors:
- Am I using specialized adhesives (unique to my company/rarely found anywhere else)?
If you’re using a specialized adhesive or an otherwise unique material, you likely have no choice but to send it to the converter. Just make sure you figure out when to send more, and whether you’ve asked about setup waste.
- Does it make the most sense to supply my own adhesive material?
Supplying your own adhesive can give you more control over the process, but it can also add unnecessary steps and get backed up by scheduling complications or shipping delays.
- Does my company have the resources to manage the storage, scheduling, and shipping involved in being a supplier?
This one can be difficult to answer, but if you’re confident that your employees have the time and skills to manage this back-and-forth when a converter, and it seems like the best choice for your company, then great!
Otherwise, if you have any questions about the process, feel free to ask us about supplying your own material: