Optimizing your Metal Enclosures for Supply Chain Needs

Optimizing your Metal Enclosures for Supply Chain Needs

March 10, 2022

Tariffs, metal market prices and supply chain shortages, oh my. We talk a lot about optimizing your metal enclosure for manufacturing processes, but what about optimizing your enclosures for supply chain needs? Today’s procurement game is not for the faint of heart. Getting your metal enclosures on time and where you need them is key to meeting critical delivery, demand and growth targets.  

From making sure that you are choosing readily available materials to working with reliable metal fabricators, we will discuss some of the ways that you can optimize your metal enclosures for today’s supply chain needs.  

Choose Easily Accessible Metal, Metal Thickness/Gauges  

You’ve carefully chosen a metal spec for your new project or have an existing spec for a legacy product.  But now, the cost of that metal or specific gauge/thickness has gone up and the lead time has increased, so you are looking for solutions. 

One of the first things you need to do when optimizing your metal enclosures for the supply chain is choose readily available materials. This could mean reevaluating your current spec and exploring how alternatives may work better for your product line.   

Be sure to consider both metal type and thickness/ gauge, as a different gauge of the same material may have better availability. 

 Using a material with greater availability will: 

  1. Make it easier and faster to get the materials you need. 
  1. Help keep costs down. 
  1. Reduce the risk of delays in your production schedule.   

Work With Reliable Metal Fabricators   

Being a “reliable metal fabricator” is about a lot more than on-time delivery. One of the most important things you can do to lower supply chain risk is looking for a fabricator that practices open, honest communication.  

Supply chain disruptions are bound to happen in today’s environment. The sooner your team is informed about conditions affecting your metal enclosures, the sooner they can react and find a solution. This means that your fabricator will work with you to ensure that your production schedule stays on track.  

The second key to reliability is supply chain relationships. Just as you value your fabricator as a key supply chain relationship, you will want to work with a partner with strong, strategic relationships, and internal stakeholders responsible for procuring raw material, hardware and more. They will also be able to source the materials you need on time.  

This brings us to our next tip for optimizing your enclosures for today’s supply chain needs – supply chain footprint and sourcing strategy.  

Optimize Your Sourcing Strategy   

By understanding where your key components come from and how long it takes to get them, you can plan for a more efficient production process.   

For example, if you have a critical component sourced from China and it takes 12 weeks to arrive, you’ll need to factor in that lead time when planning your enclosure build schedule. Conversely, if there is a component readily available in the United States, you may be able to build faster by using local suppliers. Using local suppliers, when possible, can even improve your previous lead times as many companies turn to a dual sourcing strategy, they should also look for suppliers with multiple locations and solid sourcing strategies.  

Strategies to Remember 

Ensuring your metal enclosure is set up for supply chain success is just as important as designing it for manufacturing. Keep these three key strategies in mind: 

  1. Choose Easily Accessible Metal, Metal Thickness/ Gauges 
  1. Work With Reliable Metal Fabricators   
  1. Optimize Your Sourcing Strategy   

By following these tips, you can help your company meet critical delivery, demand and growth targets without any major hiccups. 

Looking for a fabrication partner who can manufacture your metal enclosures, kiosks, racks and cabinets from 5 North American locations? Contact our team!

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