Managing the Cost & Lead Time of Your Gasket Material

We’re sure you all have made resolutions to find cost savings and be on top of materials procurement this year. In order to help keep you on track, we thought we’d kick off 2017 with a look back at 3 of our more popular cost and lead time blogs. Now you can read them all in one place and always have them at your fingertips!

How Much Should Gasket Material Cost?

“What is Your Lead Time?” 4 Ways to Get a Better Answer From Your Supplier.

4 Ways to Try to Reduce the Price of Your Gasket Material

Go forth and find those cost savings and procure your gasket material like a rock star!

Happy 2017!Surbond product comparison

Are You Looking for Cheap Gasket Material? Be Careful What You Wish For.

We’re all guilty of it. Who among us hasn’t been known to Google “cheap (fill in the blank)” when we are trying to make a purchase? Sometimes you come away with the steal of the century, and other times, well, you bought what you paid for.

Over time, we have all learned what you can shop for based on price and what you must shop for based on quality and performance. If you haven’t already figured it out, gasket material is one of those things that you must be willing to spend a little money on to get the best performance. There is nothing wrong with trying to get the best price you can (none of us are made of money). However, keeping quality and performance at the forefront of your decision is a must.

If you are reading this because you are shopping for “cheap gasket material”, please keep reading for a few considerations you should be aware of on your quest to procure the best valued gasket material for your application.

How Cheap Can I Buy It?

1. Know the requirements.

Being aware of the conditions that the gasket will need to survive is going to place you in a range of materials that you will find success with. What temperatures will it see? What are the sealability requirements? How much recovery is needed? Is it being used in the aftermarket? The list goes on and on. Bottom line, if your application is going to see temperature peaks of 1800°F, you aren’t going to be able to get away with a standard rubber or fiber gasket material. Due to this fact, you can’t expect to pay prices that mirror what you pay for those technologies. You need to compare apples to apples.

2. Look at the total cost of the solution.

Don’t you love hidden fees and additional investments that are required after purchase? Make sure you do your homework on the gasket material technology in which you are investing. Some technologies, while appearing to be a better piece price, require very expensive tooling. Depending on your quantities, this could be a very costly option. Other technologies may have a higher piece price, but don’t require the tooling or other processing. In the long run, this could be a less expensive option for you. Make sure to look at the total cost of the entire solution, not just what is on your quote.

3. Is there a quality system in place?

One thing to pay attention to is if the manufacturer is certified to a quality management system. You can allow yourself to feel a certain level of confidence in someone that has gone to the work to certify their processes to a quality standard. Quality certification tends to equal quality products (however, these products still need to be tested against your requirements). With that said, don’t let a lack of quality system lead you to believe that the material is bad, you may just want to do your due diligence on the supplier and the material.

4. Be aware of imitation material.

Sometimes cheap material is cheap for a reason. It may be imitation material, or the raw materials used to make it are sourced from a questionable supplier. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but not in this case. Imitation is a quick way to get your money and sell you something that doesn’t work like you expect it to. Make sure that you are buying your gasket material from a reputable source and that you speak to them at some point during the process. You’ll be able to get a sense of how well they know their materials.

Buy What Is Going To Work

Selecting a gasket material is an area where you can’t afford to fail. Sourcing materials with the best performance for your particular application is going to lead to success down the road. If you have concerns about performance and price, talk with your trusted gasket material supplier. A good supplier won’t try to up-sell you, and will do their best to get you the perfect material for your application.

Until next time!Hi-Tex Comparison

4 Ways to Try to Reduce the Price of Your Gasket Material

Everyone loves saving money…us included. It becomes even more important when you’re in an industry where there are tiers of suppliers and price is scrutinized at every level. Finding a way to reduce costs will keep you competitive and a part of someone’s supply chain.

In most applications, the gasket tends to be less of a cost driver than other parts, but it doesn’t get any less scrutiny. Everything adds up when you’re trying to stay competitive and it doesn’t matter how big or small your piece of the puzzle is. We get calls all the time from our customers asking how they can save money. Continue reading to to see how you can try to reduce the price of your gasket material.

Reducing The Price

1. Are there price breaks or volume discounts

Ask if your supplier sells their material in a tiered system. If you’ve always bought the exact quantity of gasket material needed, maybe you’re paying more per sheet or coil than you should be. If you can move into a higher tier, you’ll sometimes get a much better price. The savings can then be passed along to your customers.

2. Figure out how to use more of the material

Now that you are buying more material to get that price break, you have two options. One is that you just enjoy the freedom of not buying as many times throughout the year. The other option, and how you’ll use more material, is to shop the gasket material around for other applications. You might just shoot your usage through the roof, and then possibly get an even better discount!

3. Is there a less expensive material that will work

Unless a particular material is on the specification, there may be an alternate material that will still meet your requirements. This may drive some additional testing to qualify it, but in the long run, if there is an economy version or a similar material at a lower price point that works, you’re going to have one happy customer.

4. Ask what else can be done about the price

As a gasket materials supplier, we look for every opportunity to pass along savings to our customers. If you have a particular material that is a pain point for a particular customer, talk to your supplier. If we are aware of the issue, we can look for opportunities to do something about it. Every once in awhile, we can work with our suppliers to explore volume and pricing issues that may help you in the long run. You don’t know if you don’t ask.

The Bottom Line

Price can be a difficult issue to work through. By fostering a strong relationship with your suppliers, you’ll be able to have these conversations. A good supplier recognizes when they have a strong relationship with their customer, and does everything they can to make the partnership as successful as possible. Sometimes a straight price reduction isn’t possible, but there are ways to purchase a gasket material that meets your requirements at a better price than what you are currently paying.

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Metal Tech has passed savings along to customers twice this year – one with the restructuring of a coil discount that helps more of our customers save money, and the other was a price decrease that we were able to make after working with one of our suppliers to reduce costs. We are always working for you!

How Much Should Gasket Material Cost?

Raise your hand if you are guilty….is one of the top 5 questions you ask your gasket material supplier “How much does it cost”? Look at all of those hands! If yours is up, refer back to last week’s post 5 Questions You Should Ask Your Supplier of Gasket Material.

In all seriousness, cost of material is a valid question. Cost is one of the most difficult aspects to deal with in life, let alone when you are going to be spending someone else’s money. How should you deal with cost when you’ve been placed on a shoestring budget and need to get approval before you can go too far forward with your project? The answer is (drumroll, please)…..Value.

Breaking It Down

Let’s break it down. You are working on an application and have a requirement for your gasket. You call up your gasket material supplier and tell them your requirements, and they list one or two materials that fit those requirements. What should your next question be? If you said “price” or “cost” you may be approaching this conversation the wrong way. Now, if you’re asking for a frame of reference, that’s one thing. If you’re asking and may potentially hang up the phone if you don’t like the answer, we beg you to keep reading.

Believe it or not, suppliers are not out to charge you as much money as they can get away with. There is a cost to purchasing raw materials and a cost associated with production of the product. (We will keep freight out of this conversation because freight is, well, freight.) We’re also going to put this out there…most businesses are in business to make money, and everyone has margins they are trying to achieve. The idea is to price things to sell and make a small profit. So….what cost tends to really boil down to in some manufacturing operations is the cost of raw materials.

How To Determine Value

Back to our question of value. How does one determine value? Well, first, you need to look at yourself (by that, we mean look at the application that you need a gasket for). What are your sealability requirements? Is there a corrosive environment? What kind of service life do you need? Special requirements tend to drive the need for premium products, which tend to drive up costs. If your applications require premium products, you should prepare to pay a premium price. Believe us, as suppliers, we are always looking for ways to try to lower your cost, but sometimes our hands are tied.

The second way to determine value is to run a test and look at the results. If a material meets your requirements and tests exactly like you want it to, why would you give up performance for price (especially if the alternate material does not perform)? Everyone involved in the decision making process needs to consider the lifetime of the application….

How much does downtime cost?

Think of how much money may be lost if your application isn’t running like planned.

What would a high service call rate (SCR) do to your application?

Don’t forget, it isn’t as easy as changing out the gasket. There might be thousands of dollars tied up in a repair – all because of a bad gasket.

What is the total cost of production for the gasket?

Material isn’t the only factor that goes into price (tooling, cutting, quantity, quality, etc.). A material that costs more up front may end up costing less when you factor in all of the additional costs for an alternate material.

What is the cost of poor quality?

If any of our loyal readers are ISO/TS 16949 certified, these words are near and dear to your heart. The evaluation of the cost of poor quality can be an eye opening metric. Quality (or lack thereof) can play a huge role in value. Taking into consideration whether or not your material supplier has a certified quality management system should definitely be at the top of your list when determining value.

Make a Proposal

There is a lot to take into account when you are trying to determine value. If you are adequately able to do so, the sticker shock can most times be eliminated. Information is key to making decisions, and you want to collect all of your information before making a proposal on a material. Don’t let cost drive you in your research. Most times, you get what you pay for. Value is King!

So, back to the initial question – “How Much Should Gasket Material Cost?” – unfortunately the answer is “it depends”. You’ll need to price out your specific needs with your supplier, but please remember to keep value in mind throughout your discussion.

How often do you consider value?

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