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When it comes to custom sheet metal enclosures you have two options:

  1. Try to predict when you’ll need more inventory, hope leads times and pricing haven’t changed, and attempt to replenish your stock by the time you’ll need it.
  2. Partner with a metal fabricator that offers managed inventory services to have inventory ready when you need it.

It may be tempting to order what you need when you think you’ll need it, but over time this may lead to additional costs and product delays for your end customers. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of managed inventory for your custom metal fabrication.

Never Run Short on Your Custom Sheet Metal Enclosures

One of the primary benefits of managed inventory is having inventory ready when you need it. Picture this scenario: you receive a large order for your custom sheet metal enclosures that clears out all the stock you had in-house. The next day another order for 25 units comes in, but it’s needed right away.

If your sheet metal fabrication partner offers inventory management services (and you utilize them), then you’ll be ready to accept that second order. If you aren’t and order 1 took you by surprise, your lead times may result in losing order 2.  

Lock in Prices Upfront

Price volatility can occur at any moment, but with inventory management you can lock in your prices upfront. 

Take the industry-wide sheet metal shortages that struck as a result of the pandemic, for example. Sheet metal shortages have led to industry-wide price increases. If you were already utilizing your sheet metal fabricator’s managed inventory services, you likely felt less, if any, impact of that price volatility because you had inventory on hand that had been purchased prior to related pricing changes.

Take Advantage of Price Breaks

In addition to locking in prices upfront, managed inventory can help you save on the cost of your custom sheet metal enclosures. Many fabricators offer price breaks on high-volume orders. so the more you buy, the lower your individual product cost becomes.

See how our customer, Bitrode, has utilized our inventory management services to fabricate a higher volume of their electrical cabinets at a lower overall cost. Plus, they benefit from faster shipments when cabinets are needed in-house.

Pay Reduced Freight Costs

Another decision that companies have when it comes to their sheet metal fabrication is fabricating and storing inventory in the US or overseas. While it may look less costly on paper to have you product manufactured and stored overseas until it’s needed, this can quickly add up.

Let’s explore these two scenarios:

Scenario 1: Overseas Fabrication

If you’re working with an overseas sheet metal fabricator, you might benefit from a lower cost per item and reduced inventory management costs. While this can be enticing, there are a few more considerations that can make it more expensive and riskier than a fabrication partner located in the US.

First, it’s important to consider the freight costs to transport the product to the US. Just like price volatility occurs in raw materials, import and freight costs can range and quickly add up. If your inventory is already sitting in a warehouse overseas, you have limited options to avoid skyrocketing freight costs (unless you want to pay another manufacturer to remake the product in the USA).

Next, you must consider the overall shipping times and potential delays. Having a product imported can lead to delays in your delivery times, and leaves you open to external delays from backed-up ports and canal jams. Plus, if you have an issue with your product once it’s received, you go through that endeavor – and cost – twice.

Scenario 2 – Made in the USA

On the contrary, if you’re working with a partner that fabricates their products in the US, you don’t have the same degree of price or delivery volatility. While freight costs can change slightly, you won’t be impacted by the wide range of costs associated with imports. Plus, access to your excess inventory won’t be dependent on whether a cargo ship can access a port.

Instead, you’ll have access to inventory that’s close to home and can be quickly shipped out right when you need it.

Utilize Managed Inventory for Your Custom Sheet Metal Enclosures

When it comes to your custom sheet metal enclosures, the benefits of finding a partner with managed inventory solutions are hard to overlook.

If you’re looking for a partner that proudly fabricates and manages inventory in the USA, send us a message to learn how we can help.

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