Three key questions to ask your composite tube manufacturer
Exel Composites blog by Patrick Loock
Customers have a choice when selecting their composite tube manufacturer. This choice may be based on product offering, or location of the manufacturer. Whatever the case, you make an investment in that manufacturer when you select them. So how can you check to make sure you are making the right investment?
When purchasing composite tubes, you are making two investments: the first is in the products themselves, and the second, which is a more implicit investment, is in the company who will be supplying those tubes.
Just as banks and other investment institutions perform their due diligence before making an investment, we think you should also benefit from the idea of due diligence before selecting your composites supplier. That’s why I have prepared three key questions you can ask your composites manufacturer to make sure the investment is right for you.
Question 1: What is your approach to learning and understanding what we need?
This first question is designed to help you gain confidence that your composites supplier is willing to make the investment in time needed to understand your needs. When a sales representative is meeting with you for the first time, are their questions focused truly on understanding your needs or on making a sale? How many of their questions are about your needs versus time spent on selling their company?
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to begin many new relationships with customers. We prefer to look at our customer relationships as more of partnerships. The partnership is focused on more than just selling a certain quantity of tubes, it’s about making sure you are getting what you really need to do your job efficiently. When it comes to composite materials, there are many different possible solutions for any given need and investing the time in asking more questions helps ensure I can offer you the most efficient solution. It also helps to make business easier for you, adding another dimension in value for you.
The partnering approach is based on the concept of a long-term relationship and is one of the best ways to ensure that a shared understanding of your business, needs, and expectations exists.
Question 2: How do you determine what the best solution for my need is?
I mentioned that there are many different possible composite solutions for any given need, so how do you know you are getting the best solution? Your composite manufacturer should be able to tell you clearly and explain other alternatives, so you have an informed choice.
Those choices come from the knowledge and experience that a composites manufacturer has in understanding the material properties of composite fibers, resins, and manufacturing technology.
At Exel Composites, we will always recommend what we feel is the best solution for your needs, even if it means selling you a less expensive product. For example, I have had situations where my customer felt they needed a carbon fiber tube solution, yet after asking more questions and having a clear understanding of their need, I was able to offer them a carbon and glass fiber hybrid composite solution that was best adapted for their need, and which also saved costs for my customer.
Question 3: How can you assure us you have the capacity to deliver?
Many companies who buy composite tubes use them in the products which they need to deliver to their customers. They have delivery schedules to meet, so knowing that the composite tubes are delivered on time and with a consistent quality is important for their business’ reputation.
Ask your composite tube manufacturer about their capacity to deliver. How many production centers do they have? Where are they located? How do they ensure consistent product quality?
At Exel Composites, we have established a global manufacturing network to ensure we have the production capacity to deliver. We have developed repeatable quality processes to maintain a consistent quality.
In addition, we also focus heavily on efficient project management. We complement our production processes with the back-office project management to ensure your order is produced when promised.
Investing time into doing your due diligence when selecting your composite tube manufacturer should give you confidence in knowing you are making the right investment. I hope these three questions are useful tools for you. At Exel Composites, we have been pioneering composite tube solutions for decades, and if you would like to ask more questions, feel free to contact me via email@example.com or one of my colleagues.
You can also ask us to contact you via contact form