"Who do you represent, what processes, what alloys?"
RMC works with domestic manufacturing partners that produce components (both metals and plastic/rubber) that can be used as part of an assembly. We work with most casting processes (including Die Casting, Investment Casting, Permanent Mold Casting, Sand Casting) as well as Sintered/Powdered Metal (PM), Forgings, as well as all types of Machining. The companies we represent work with all Alloys including Titanium, Magnesium, Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Iron, Brass, Cobalt and everything in-between.
"How big of a part can you make?"
Each manufacturing process has a size range that is most suited to it, but in general our partners are best at parts that you can hold in your hand (they can be as small as the size of a Pea or as large as a Basketball).
"How much will it cost?"
How much do you have? Just kidding. All of our partners strive to be competitive with other domestic manufacturers and in some cases with overseas competitors (when Total Cost is considered). Some of our partners focus on specific industries (Firearms, Aerospace, Medical) and so are most interested in those types of opportunities, but often there is one method of manufacture that is clearly more suited for a particular part, either due to size, volume, application or cost considerations. We can help develop ballpark pricing estimates for your components and "make sense" of all the choices you can make and all the directions you can go.
"What is the lead time for a quote and for prototypes and production?"
Generally our partners take about 1-2 weeks to prepare a quote and you can usually add another few days when outside processes are needed like heat treatment, machining, or finishing/painting.
"Are all of your Principals based in the U.S.?"
All of our partners operate in the U.S. and a few have overseas facilities to service the Asian markets and in rare instances we might ship parts back to the U.S. Most often, if we utilize overseas suppliers it is for Tooling or Tooling components. Piece prices are generally within 10-30% of our offshore competitors. Many commodity managers estimate that if domestic pricing is around 15% more than the offshore price, business should be kept with the domestic source.
"Will you amortize tooling?"
Generally this is not an option, but with all things there are exceptions especially with current customers or with high dollar volume programs.
"What are your payment terms?"
Most of our partners expect Net 30 days and a few offer discounts if paying early.
"Do you provide design/engineering assistance?"
Yes, all of our Principals provide extensive design assistance and we will work directly with your Engineering team and suggest tolerance adjustments and other changes that will result in lower costs or stronger parts or higher quality. We prefer to be involved early and often so that your parts are optimized for our particular process and no surprises occur late in the development cycle.
"Are you an Engineer or do you just play one on television?"
Don't let the lab coat and the pair of calipers in our pocket fool you. Our manufacturing partners have numerous degreed Engineers on staff and we will share our expertise as much as needed to get a part into production quickly and efficiently.
"What modeling software do you use?"
It varies, but all of our Principals can utilize both STEP or IGS files, although in some cases we can use a raw SolidWorks file. It is generally simpler to send a STEP or IGS version in case we need to share it with one of our sub-suppliers.
"What about Non-Disclosure (NDA) issues?"
We are happy to sign Non-Disclosure agreements as needed and we often work with multiple competitors in the same industry without any proprietary concerns. We take the confidentiality of your Intellectual Property very seriously and will strive to protect your data to the best of our ability. Some of our partners are ITAR certified for programs requiring additional safeguards.
"What are the tolerances?"
Each manufacturing process has different tolerance capabilities and we would be happy to discuss the specifics. With Castings, it is our objective to minimize or eliminate machining or other secondary operations so that we can reduce costs. Generally if the tolerances are tighter than +/- .005" we will have to leave some machining stock instead of being able to produce the part as-cast.
"Do your castings need draft?"
Most Casting processes work best with some draft. Investment Castings typically need the least and Permanent Mold and Die Casting require a bit more as they utilize Metal Dies/Tooling. The amount of draft needed is very feature dependent, and we would be happy to discuss in more detail via a conference call or webinar.
"Doesn't it cost more to use a rep?"
Depends on who is asking. If you are a potential customer then your costs are the same whether you work through a rep or send the RFQ directly to the manufacturer. Manufacturers typically have a fixed "cost of sales" whether they use an in-house sales force or reps. If you are a Principal looking for a rep then Manufacturers reps are an effective and efficient way for manufacturing companies to penetrate accounts and cover large territories. Fixed costs are lower for a manufacturer when using reps instead of having a large direct sales force. Reps don't earn commission until they sell something and therefore are highly motivated to work hard. Account penetration can be extremely rapid if a rep has an existing relationship and introduces a new Principal to his current customer base.
"Should I just submit my quote directly to the Principal?"
You can, although we don't recommend it. Redline "almost always" gets a copy of RFQ's that are submitted directly to our Principals, but if we don't, we cannot monitor the progress of the quote and provide timing and status updates. In addition, when you submit the RFQ directly to Redline, we insure all information is included in the request to our Principals and we follow-up with your Engineering or Purchasing Department in order to understand the application as well as possible. This dialogue is absolutely critical to get the best price and to provide the most added value for the customer. Once we understand your business and your application we can then quote the part in the most accurate manner.
"How much golf do you actually play?"
Not nearly enough based on my handicap.
"What if you don't rep the process we need?"
One of the best reasons to work with a rep is that we can provide referrals to other companies that we know and we can make suggestions on alternative methods for making the part. Even if one of our partners can't make the part we can try to help as much as possible with other sourcing suggestions.
"Who died and made you boss?"
"How do I get my buyer to award the business to your awesome companies instead of to the lowest bidder (offshore) again?"
We work closely with C-Level executives to help educate them regarding Total Cost when there is an interest. Asian labor prices continue to rise by double digits each year and many experts are projecting a parity to be reached in the next few years as transportation costs increase and the U.S. dollar stays (relatively) weak. Many companies add a 15% bump to the Landed Cost of Offshore goods to account for increased inventory levels, longer lead times, additional quality inspections, and the general "hassle factor" of working with vendors halfway around the world, with a different language and very few Intellectual Property safeguards. Like an old boss used to say: "I have enough trouble communicating effectively with someone in Wisconsin, let alone China".
"When can you get here?"
How does tomorrow work for you? We are happy to start our dialogue utilizing a webinar or conference call to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible.
"Can you make Prototypes?"
Yes we can! Some of the processes we utilize are more suited to low volume and prototype work than others, but we would be happy to discuss in more detail.