5 Criteria for Selecting a Supplier of Automotive Adhesives

Dec 12, 2019 10:55:05 AM

There are two basic approaches to selecting a supplier of automotive adhesives that companies tend to stick to:  

  1. Have a spec and price in mind, and just accept the lowest bidder.  This can be effective, but it’s too rudimentary an approach to yield the best possible ROI.
  2. Define a more nuanced list of financial, business, and relationship-oriented criteria for selecting a supplier, so you’ve set a high-water mark before you wade into the pool of hopefuls.  Vet each supplier against the list, and select the one that’s the best comprehensive fit.

In the name of efficiency, many automotive buyers default to #1.  Those who go for #2 tend to earn better results with their eye for detail.  Don’t have time to research, discuss, and refine a set of ideal traits? We’ve got a few suggestions.  Try these five criteria for selecting a supplier:

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1. They should express comfort accommodating a wide range of price points.

The best automotive adhesive suppliers will have two advantages over other “lowest bidder” types.  First, they’ll have an extensive portfolio of automotive adhesives at their disposal at a variety of price points.  Second, they’ll have the infrastructure and resources to adjust the relative price point of each adhesive option by adding or subtracting services (through value adds, shipping options, timelines, lean manufacturing, innovation, economy of scale, and more).  

This means they can scale their product offerings to your needs and suggest attractive alternatives in the same range.  A clear price point should help your supplier better serve you, not act as a perilously low limbo stick that threatens the long-term sustainability of the partnership.

2. A site visit is welcome (or even encouraged).

Never forget to look for yourself before signing on with an automotive adhesive supplier. If your potential new partner is cagey or uneasy about the prospect of a visit, this is a red flag that they may be talking up their capacity and procedures to earn your business.  A production floor tour, factory audit, and some product sample testing can go a long way to ensuring that they can walk the walk in addition to talk the talk.

3. There’s an established reputation of exceptional trust and quality service for this automotive supplier.

Price gets a lot of focus in the automotive supply chain, but the truth is that the total cost is really comprised of many moving parts.  A collaborative, full-service supplier is far more cost-effective than a less conscientious supplier with similarly priced goods.  Go for a track record of excellence, knowledge/expertise, and quick service—all major value adds.  Find insights in online reviews, or via contacts who have used the supplier before.

4. The supplier improves upon previous automotive adhesive supplier contracts.

One of the best times to brush up on your criteria for selecting a supplier is when an older relationship isn’t working anymore.  Something compelled you to select the previous supplier, at one point, but those standards aren’t high enough anymore. Any new agreement must be an improvement.  Perhaps you need less delivery distance, or other new opportunities to beat the status quo.

5. You’d be proud to associate their brand with yours.

An adhesive supplier with sustainable and socially responsible manufacturing processes, for example, could give your image a green boost.  If they’re well known in the consumer market, the partnership could lend you additional credibility.

All of these criteria for selecting a supplier are built on values like flexibility, trust, transparency, and win-win situations. When combined, they’re just as critical as upfront costs.

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