Gaskets are a critical operating item for many firms. No matter whether buying for OEM or MRO purposes, sourcing managers will want to work with a gasket supplier who can reliably supply against their needs. This blogs gives five key tips that sourcing managers will want to consider when choosing a gasket supplier.

Five Tips for Choosing a Gasket Supplier

Tip #1: Material Selection and Availability

Choosing a gasket supplier with limited material selection and availability will be frustrating when the vendor is unable to fulfill a supply request. Because gasket applications are so varied, you will always want to work with a vendor that carries a wide portfolio of sealing materials. These vendors will also be able to advise on the optimal material to select for any sealing application.

Material selection can also be a key factor when sourcing an equivalent material to substitute for an existing specification. An equivalent material may be found which is lower in cost than the original specification, resulting in a cost saving with no degradation in performance.

Sourcing managers should not only consider the width of a vendor’s material portfolio, they should also consider its depth. Vendors with good portfolio width and depth have a wide range of materials available in a variety of grades, thicknesses, and hardness (durometer).

Leading gasket supplier utilize inventory management best practices, thus ensuring the ready availability of materials. Choosing a gasket supplier which is a cheaper source of supply may mean compromising product availability and delivery performance: these suppliers may not have the same inventory reliability, resulting in stock-outs.

Tip #2: Product Quality

Gasket life and performance is a product of many factors. Top suppliers use the best materials and production methods to ensure a high-quality product. Gaskets produced by these suppliers are fully fit for purpose and meet all specifications and requirements. This means less field failures, fewer replacements, and lower lifecycle costs.

Where quality means conformance to specifications or regulations, such as NSF/ANSI 61 or FDA directives, is a requirement, leading vendors will carry materials that fully conform to these specifications/regulations.

Tip #3: Shorter Lead Times

Good gasket suppliers excel in lead time and delivery performance. These suppliers know the value of servicing customer orders promptly and delivering in full when promised. With many companies operating with reduced operating inventories, working with vendors who can consistently achieve short lead times coupled with high delivery reliability will always be preferred.

Tip #4: Custom Fabrication

Gasket sourcing is often concerned with procuring gaskets whose sizing and design requires custom fabrication. In these cases, choosing a supplier with advanced fabrication capabilities will be important.

Fabricating gaskets may involve the use of techniques such as laminating, joining, and bonding. Successfully executing these techniques require skilled workers who have both the expertise and accumulated experience. If custom fabrication is an important aspect of your sourcing initiative, be sure to evaluate a potential vendor’s capabilities in this area.

Tip #5: Customer Experience

Sourcing managers will always prefer to work with vendors who can deliver exceptional service and support. These vendors can significantly reduce transaction costs and provide responsive service when required. Leading vendors are increasingly employing technology to streamline the procurement and ordering process, thus reducing the costs of each customer-supplier interaction.

If you are sourcing and choosing a gasket supplier, CRG will be pleased to review your needs and discuss how we can add value to your company. To find out more, please contact our sales department at crg@canadarubbergroup.com.

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