Selecting a freight car project vendor is one of the most crucial activities during the project planning phase and should never be taken lightly. Project vendors influence everything from the timeline of the project to the overall quality and performance of the final product. By extension, the work delivered by a vendor directly correlates to the value of your freight car and becomes a reflection of your company and reputation.

Making quick, hasty decisions can result in failed products and wasted resources, so it’s important to take the time to make sure the company you choose meets your qualifications and will ensure cost-effective and high-quality results.

To help you prepare for choosing vendors for your next freight car project, we’re breaking down each of the components you must consider throughout the selection process.

Experience

Experience is one of the most critical factors to consider when looking for a vendor in the freight and transportation industry. In addition to the number of years of experience, you should also account for the level of expertise of the company’s staff and the type of projects they typically handle.

If the company lacks experience working on a project like yours or doesn’t have qualified, seasoned employees, you risk putting your organization and project in the wrong hands. For example, a metal manufacturer specializing in the electronics industry may not have the technical expertise needed to take on a freight car project.

To help you qualify your vendor options from the beginning, make sure to ask the following questions:

  • Have you worked on a freight car project previously?
  • Have you manufactured similar products that are required in the project?
  • Do you have clients from the freight industry? How many?
  • Do you have the technical expertise and capacity to handle the scale of the project?

Quality

Various regulations, legislative rulings, and standards apply to rail transportation. Compliance with these rules allows transportation companies to work reliably and safely, so you can’t compromise on quality.

To avoid problems with the materials used in your freight car project, you should intend to only purchase components that align with (or exceed) the quality standard to which you hold your own products and processes. Before choosing a supplier for your project, consider the following actions:

  • Schedule a site visit
  • Ask for references
  • Check out which certifications the company holds
  • Confirm what metrics the company uses to track quality performance
  • Conduct your own quality testing to ensure materials meet the necessary specifications upfront

Working with a trusted supplier (like Corrugated Metals Inc.) that has years of industry experience, continuously meets industry standards, thoroughly tests its products, and stands behind them with warranties, will support your business and help you avoid quality issues in the long run.

Equipment and Resources

Cutting-edge designing and manufacturing technology is important for companies to stay agile and continuously meet growing needs. This includes everything from equipment for creating custom fabrication solutions, to automation tools to lower the chances of costly quality control mistakes, to software for storing materials and preparing products for delivery.

Manufacturers that take advantage of advanced technology can provide versatility, have the ability to flex and bend with market demands and know how to utilize their resources more effectively and efficiently.

For example, Corrugated Metal Inc.’s revolutionary new configurator tool enables you to choose from a vast range of product materials, finishes, and metal capabilities. With these options, you can customize the exact products you need before you buy to ensure accuracy and help streamline the ordering process.

Communication

When it comes to your project’s execution and timeline, it’s beneficial to remove as much guesswork as possible. An ideal vendor treats customer service as a guiding principle. You want a partner that keeps you fully informed through proactive communication and regular progress reports to avoid unplanned project downtime.

Before committing to a company, do your research and talk to other customers to make sure their service includes:

  • Comprehensive project management, including timelines and specific deliverables
  • Quick response times to questions and requests
  • Clear and easy communication
  • Guidance and support, from design through the delivery of your parts

All these factors will help ensure your project’s timely completion with fewer mistakes.

Competitive Pricing

Project vendors account for a big chunk of your total project cost, so it’s crucial you receive quotes from multiple companies to look for competitive prices. However, a slam-dunk cost comparison isn’t the right way to analyze the quotes. And going for the lowest quote doesn’t automatically mean it’s the best option, either.

Vendor prices vary for a variety of reasons. For example, a company using high-quality raw materials or the latest cutting and welding tools may charge slightly more than others. But such a company is also more likely to meet your desired quality standards and production timelines, preventing unwanted issues and costly delays. So, when reviewing quotes, make sure to take all aspects of the price into consideration and go with the option that doesn’t sacrifice quality and will help save you money in the long run.

Choose Your Vendors

Not all vendors are equal, so you choose yours carefully. However, it doesn’t have to be a bumpy ride. These tips will help you find a match suitable for your next freight car project without compromising quality or efficiency.

At Corrugated Metals, Inc., we offer unrivaled metal capabilities and have an abundance of un-utilized capacity to service orders with quick turn-around times. We are committed to providing dedicated service and quality so you can keep your project on track and increase your value to your customers.

If you’re ready to learn how we can help streamline your next freight car project, get in touch today.

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