The events of 2020 have meant that choosing the right option between an overseas (usually China-based) and a UK/ Ireland metal fabrication supplier is more important for a manufacturer than ever.
Why? Possible delays in orders from China being received by a UK/ Ireland-based customer can have a number of knock-on effects on a metal fabrication project.
Read on for quick read overview of the essentials plus details of our Complimentary Metal Fabrication Project Review we’ve made available as a leading, established local supplier.
Metal Fabrication Overseas vs a Local Specialist: Vital Considerations
Conor Ward of Steelworx, a Northern Ireland-based metal fabrication specialist, explains that some essential factors should be taken into account when assessing a China-based supplier as an option.
Why? Because a combination of changes in the local environment in China, and across the world, has had ‘perfect storm’ knock-on effect in a number of ways affecting the bottom-line profit of a project:
• Steel shortage in China: “A shortage of steel as a raw material at the moment in China means enough steel is being produced for internal use but China may even begin to look overseas for supplies.”
The effect: “This means costs when working with a supplier in China may begin to change.”
• Increased demand for steel: “More demand for steel means busier ports and increased shipping times. For example, some supplies of bikes have been under pressure due to this upsurge in activity.”
The effect: “Longer lead times, with some manufacturers seeing a wait of six months, plus – again – higher costs.”
• Standard shipping times and cashflow: “Even with the ‘normal’ shipping times from China of, say, seven or more weeks this means funds are tied up in stock you can’t sell.”
The effect: “Before it is possible to hold any kind of stocks of a finished product locally budget has to be tied up in buying and waiting for their arrival from China.”
• Variation in quality: “It can be difficult to find the right partnership with a supplier in China as quality varies wildly between world-class and sub-standard. While some factories will use good, modern equipment others – and these companies tend to come and go – will use machinery below the quality of what would be needed for a useable end product. After all, you can’t visit a factory at the moment to see for yourself.”
The effect: “Wasted time, and money, finding the right partnership including the wait involved in physically reviewing the quality of the work.”
• Loss of local support: “Being able to physically meet – COVID restrictions aside – a metal fabrication specialist in person in the UK or Ireland is obviously ideal. But bear in mind that in the event of an issue with any work using an supplier based a long distance away means an extended turnaround time for a replacement.”
The effect: “Long turnaround to resolve in the event of problems with work completed.”
Conor summarised his assessment of the issues involved in working with a metal fabrication supplier in China by advising businesses in the UK and Ireland to review every factor in the decision carefully: “There’s more to cost than the actual metal fabrication cost as uncertainty caused by rising prices, long lead times, delayed shipping and locked-in cash flow can all cause problems for a project.
“Ultimately, asking for expert advice and looking at every possible angle can help to make sure a project will run smoothly and also in a cost, and time, efficient way.”
How to Review your Metal Fabrication Supply Options: Free Support Available
The potential for delays when ordering metal fabrication from China, and the effects this will have on a project, shouldn’t be ignored.
With the global picture changing all the time, we’ll be glad to help companies in the UK and Ireland review all the factors involved in securing cost-effective, quality, reliable metal fabrication with reliable delivery and support. If we can help, we’ll say so…but we’ll be glad to discuss your project either way,
To speak to a Steelworx metal fabrication supply specialist simply contact us…
Continuous investment in training makes Steelworx one of the UK and Ireland’s leading bespoke metal fabrication companies, delivering high quality precision products with excellent turnaround times. We’ll be proud to show you why we’re trusted to deliver, every time.