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?