Six questions to ask when choosing a manufacturing supply chain partner

In recent years businesses in the oil, gas and energy markets have had to change to be more competitive, efficient and resilient. The need for operators and service companies to drive project costs down has increased, meaning that the supply chain has had to become responsive to these needs by offering cost-effective solutions that don’t compromise safety or quality.

As a leading manufacturer of oilfield equipment, Probe have a first-hand understanding of the challenges that operators and service companies are facing.

Dave Good, Technical Sales Manager, Probe, has compiled a list of questions that he is commonly asked by procurement and supply chain managers. He provides insight into the solutions his team now provide in time of austerity.

 probe1-3550

1. HOW WILL YOU REDUCE COSTS AND ACHIEVE SAVINGS FOR MY PROJECT?

One of the first things clients want to know when discussing a potential project is how we can meet their budgetary requirements. It’s not a difficult conversation to have because we always ensure that our key priority in achieving strategic cost reductions is targeting resources where they can earn the best return. Our respected team is founded on engineering excellence and expertise in problem solving, meaning that they are best placed to find the correct and most efficient approach to each project.

This is a good conversation to have with your supplier from the offset to ensure that your visions of cost reduction are aligned. A reliable supply chain partner will be transparent from the beginning and will not try to hide costs which will surface later in the project.

2. CAN YOU CONSISTENTLY DELIVER QUALITY PRODUCTS?

Many of our clients have been coming back to us time and time again for their manufacturing requirements. Our in-house raw material stock, machines and engineering expertise has allowed us the flexibility to design equipment manufactured to all the specific intellectual property (IP) that has been supplied by our clients over the years.

Clients tend to look for a supplier they can build a relationship with and rely on for future projects. This will save the client both time and money in the long run. We pride ourselves on forming trustworthy partnerships with our clients and would recommend that service companies look for that quality in their suppliers. Our clients have been extremely loyal as they have confidence in our products and services.

caxton-2712

3. HOW MUCH STOCK DO YOU HOLD ON SITE?

We are proud to say that we generally have over 1,000 tonnes of raw material in stock at any one time, something we believe sets us apart from our competitors. Because of the purchasing power created by such large stocks, we can also take advantage of favourable delivery times from our suppliers for other grades of steel that we do not stock. All our material is also fully traceable, with certificates issued by the original steel mill together with heat treatment and mechanical testing reports.

This is an important question to ask your supplier before committing to a project, especially if you are working to tight deadlines. If your supplier has to order raw materials on a project basis, this can potentially add weeks onto the lead-time.

Steel

4. WHAT ARE YOUR LEAD TIMES LIKE?

This really leads on from the question three and is again something to ask your supplier early on. Due to the nature of the industry and the demanding wider projects that our clients work on, we are accustomed to meeting very short lead times.

Recently we were contacted by a client late on a Wednesday afternoon. They needed a 2.1/16” 15,000 equal studded tee, spacer spool and blind flange for an urgent well test operation offshore in the Netherlands. We quoted that day and received an order from them two days later. The parts were manufactured over the weekend, assembled and pressure tested on the Monday morning and were delivered to the client in Den Helder the very next day, just six days after the initial enquiry. Engineering momentum at its best!

5. HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY RISKS AND DETERMINE THE RISK MITIGATION OF PROJECTS?

For senior responsible owners and buyers, it is important to engage with the marketplace in terms of identifying the desired outcomes, risks and issues of any project requirement. As part of project scope Probe will provide feedback on how the outcomes to a requirement might be achieved, the risks and issues as we see them, along with feedback on timescales, feasibility and affordability. Effective management of risk helps Probe manage innovation and improve performance by contributing to increased certainty and fewer surprises for our clients along the way.

5. WHAT IS YOUR QHSE ASSURANCE?

QHSE is paramount in this industry which is why it is essential to check that your supplier’s operations are in line with industry standards; something you cannot just assume.

At Probe we proudly display our licenses on our website and are more than happy to share with you our strong safety commitment. We conduct our activities in a manner that promotes the health and safety of our employees, assets and clients, as well as the prevention of any negative environmental impacts. We have implemented a formal Integrated Management System (IMS) and have gained certification to ISO 9001 – 2008.  

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY: 

As a fellow Acteon company, Probe have been our go-to manufacturer for many years now. They always asses each project individually and analyse how cost reduction targets can be met whilst offering the quickest most efficient route through the machine shop. We rely on the equipment that Probe manufactures for us to be able to meet the deadlines of our own client’s projects. This often means we call on Probe for equipment at very short notice. Due to their large on-site stock of raw material, they always deliver on time and on budget for us.”

LINDSEY HOLT SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGER, CLAXTON

Probe social cards

Search the blog

Never miss a post!
Subscribe to the blog

We’re part
of something bigger

Acteon FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR GLOBAL SUPPORT NETWORK

Established since

Read more about our journey
forty-years-1