One of the drawbacks of big, corporate class "c" components is that they are, well, big, corporate class "c" components suppliers. Because these behemoths are often public companies, they tend to have lots and lots of levels. And with lots of levels comes lots of rules.
That's totally understandable. They need rules every step of the way precisely because they are so big. If every Joe and Joanna wanted a slightly different process in the procurement, inventory and delivery of their components, chaos could reign. In that regard, the steadfast rules of huge corporations actually do make some sense.
Unfortunately, that doesn't help you much. You need a class "c" supplier to manage the thousands upon thousands screws, bolts, clips and other fasteners that your plant uses every day. If your class "c" components supplier is inflexible and weighed down by too many rules, the smallest unexpected occurrence could bring your operation to a grinding halt.
That's why a family-owned vendor managed inventory specialist, such as ASF Components, is well worth considering.
Now, family-owned doesn't have to mean mom and pop. Not in the least. For instance, ASF Components handles contracts of up to $55 million. More importantly, family-owned, privately held VMIs are agile enough to turn like a speedboat. Not a battleship. And they are able to use rules as guidelines, not handcuffs.
Another big advantage of a privately held, family-owned class "c" components supplier is that they are able to custom design programs for individual customers. If ever two terms didn't belong in the same sentence, they are "custom design" and "rules."
So why do big OEMs work with the big class "c" components suppliers? One of the major reasons is that "birds of a feather flock together." As one big company to another, they understand each other. Or they do until there's a problem with logistics, or inventory, or quality or international shipping. Then, the quick response of a family-owned VMI company looks better than ever to the OEM.
The choice between the two is certainly with consideration. To a growing number of OEMs, working directly with someone who answers to the customer, instead of answering to the board of directors, is a much better way to go.
As always, productivity rules.