Efficiency Tips

US Energy: Some Thoughts and Happy New Year to All!

For our first Newsletter effort of 2020 let’s start with a subject of great significance — US energy. Since one of the major advantages of US manufacturing is cheap and abundant energy, it’s an especially important subject for those of us relying on machinery. While we claim no special expertise, we believe there are several important issues to keep in mind as we move forward, and we welcome corrections/comments to our blog. President Trump reported… Read More


Happiness Awaits!

What is Proficient Sourcing, and why we benefit procurement professionals. If you would like to save time and effort finding good supplier candidates, then we can help. It is our objective to increase overall procurement happiness, which is accomplished by presenting outstanding candidates for your needs quickly and without any obligation on your part. Happiness in procurement comes about when a buyer, engineer, or someone else with a need for a supplier finds one (or… Read More


Next-shoring: Your Manufacturing Future?

The rapid pace of change in a few key areas has reshaped manufacturing strategy.  New developments have led to “next-shoring”, which means locating suppliers and manufacturing facilities near to locations where both customers are as well as sources for innovation.  Innovation, according to most sources, occurs most easily when manufacturing is nearby.  And this became one shortcoming of offshoring. In the recent past, locating manufacturing in low labor cost countries was a high priority.  Recently,… Read More


Get better RFQ responses: Part 1

If you seek a new supplier and are considering ones you don’t know, we believe you can do some rather simple things to get better RFQ results. We have lots of thoughts on this; future newsletters will have more. Most of what we see is an RFQ to manufacture or fabricate some metal or plastic part, or perhaps some assembly. Our job is to recommend candidates for this new situation. The RFQ wants a price… Read More


The Kraljic Portfolio Purchasing Model—(continued)

Last year we wrote about both Pareto’s Law (the 80-20 rule) and the Kraljic Model. At Proficient Sourcing we are interested in the philosophy employed by our customer base. In particular we hope to better understand OEM procurement professionals in need of excellent manufacturing sources for their outsourced work. In the two year history of this newsletter, the Kraljic article has been the most frequently visited of our website blog items. That article was a… Read More


Foreign language Drawings and Specifications

Proficient Sourcing encourages OEM buyers to allow us to help them by providing candidates for their custom manufacturing requirements. OEM buyers may be dealing with foreign products, and their RFQ’s may be for a foreign engineered product. Accordingly, on occasion we deal with drawings, specifications, and RFQ supporting information in some foreign language. By and large, the companies we deal with in our supplier network are under $20M in annual sales, and none that we… Read More


How to communicate to a first time buyer!

Recently we were awarded business from a new customer.  The supplier is a small company featuring highly desired capabilities and, in this case, provided very good pricing.  So we got an initial “trial” order. The supplier’s customer service person is one of the owners, who’s often in the shop.  In order to minimize customer concerns, we suggested several communication steps and we would greatly appreciate your comments on our recommendations. 1.   Provide the customer with… Read More


The Suggestion Box

During a recent factory visit we observed a suggestion box covered with dust and apparently fallen out of use. This cannot present a good image to employees, and also reminded us of the many things companies do to encourage employee involvement in generating improvements, both good and bad. THE GOOD: One company had regularly scheduled meetings of production employees to solicit ideas that would improve operations. The manager would dutifully write down all the ideas… Read More


Are Sales/Marketing and Purchasing data needs similar?

We wonder if the sales/marketing and supply chain/purchasing worlds share some data management needs. And with that in mind, recently we found an intriguing article in the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ First Quarter, 2011 newsletter. Step 3 of the “10 best practices you should be doing now” is this: “Make technology work for you. Too many companies select software they hope will make them more efficient, and they structure their workflows and processes… Read More


Look for Excuses to Eliminate

Most people have work that varies in intensity.  Sometimes the work is almost overwhelming, and there’s no time for things other than the immediate task at hand. Other times, not so much.  These can be opportunities for those advocates of “management by walking around”. If this style fits your situation, a conscious effort of looking to eliminate excuses can be a fertile area for productivity improvements. One good example of this occurred during a manufacturing… Read More