Rogue Fabrication “Bends” the Buyer-Supplier Equation with Mfg.Com

THE CHALLENGE

Rogue Fabrication, based in Sandy, Oregon, fills a critical role for fabricators and metal shops. The company serves as a single-source engineering and manufacturing company that designs and produces fabrication tooling. Rogue Fabrication’s product line includes tubing benders and notchers, die sets, drill press reduction kits and metalworking tools, among other items. While designed specifically for motor sports, its tools are used in the healthcare, construction and boating industries to name just a few. Joe Gambino, founder and owner, shares, “We operate in a niche market and offer products that are inexpensive for the performance they provide. We offer quality but keep it affordable.”

So, it’s not surprising that simple economics created a business challenge for Joe. He relied heavily on local machine shops to meet a variety of his parts requirements. Joe notes, “They are quick, and I know their work, quality and delivery. But, every machine shop has a set labor rate and a configuration of machines that makes it very competitive on some jobs and not so competitive on others. The labor rate might be too high or it may not have the right type of machine for the part I want. While the local machine shops were excellent in making larger custom parts, I had a requirement for small turned and milled parts in aluminum and steel. The local shops were not at all competitive, so I needed to find other manufacturers and they had to be located in the United States, as the majority of what we make and sell is made in America out of domestic materials.”

THE SOLUTION

One of Joe’s industry friends suggested he try MFG.com. Joe says, “I didn’t go through any orientation. I just jumped on the website, saw where the buttons were and started using it. When I uploaded my first RFQ, MFG.com emailed me offering to help. They are always there for support which is really nice.”

“Initially, I uploaded parts in the RFQ dialogue section, so it was just a one-time use,” says Joe. “Now, I upload prints and archive them on MFG.com. That way, when I need the parts quoted again, I simply check the boxes and say what I want quoted. It is a real time saver.”

THE RESULTS

Joe oversees a very organized operation at Rogue Fabrication. He maintains prints, revision controls, part numbers and more. So, MFG was easy for him. He just uploaded parts, let the quotes come in and awarded the jobs. He estimates that he’s requested bids on 18 jobs overall, with 11 in the last 24 months. He’s awarded all 11 to MFG.com suppliers.

He’s impressed by the amount of money and time he is saving. Joe says, “Before MFG.com, I called suppliers using the phone book. It takes at least 25 minutes to find and call a supplier, describe the part, email the print, answer any questions and get pricing. If I reach ten suppliers, that’s over 6 hours on the phone. With MFG.com, you spend 30 minutes or less and reach 300 suppliers. It is tremendous exposure for the time investment. And, there is much less risk because you’ve got intermediaries at MFG. com who want you to be happy. If you call a supplier out of the blue, you have no recourse. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain by using MFG.com. That’s why I use it all the time now.”

He adds, “MFG.com gives me access to new suppliers I didn’t even know existed. For example, I recently used a company in Wisconsin. Their bid was the second lowest, but they had exceptional ratings so it made sense to go with them. They did not disappoint.”

Joe also has experienced some unanticipated benefits using MFG.com to source parts. The first involved MFG.com’s review of the engineering drawings. Once or twice they have pointed out missing dimensions. Joe characterized the drawing review as a “very helpful service.”

Then, Joe came across a supplier that delivered parts far exceeding the quality delineated on the print. He explains, “One thing you always specify on the print is the roughness average (how smooth and shiny the part has to be). The faster a part is made, the duller and scratchier the finish will look. When you make a part slowly with a really good surface finish, it costs more because it takes more time. We asked for parts that were pretty coarse because we didn’t care. They came in looking like they had been hand polished. It saved us money and really impressed our customers.”

Joe finds, too, that he looks to MFG.com suppliers to make complex parts: “Our machine is unique because it offers attachments and ways to adapt it to make it more flexible. Nobody wants to buy 15 tools for 15 jobs; they want to buy 1 tool to do 15 jobs. I depend a lot on our MFG.com suppliers to make these complex parts. They can make a tool, and we can sell it as an attachment. Then, our customers can buy those attachments and complete jobs using different types of materials that they previously could not bend.”

Conversely, there are less complex parts like a cam component where MFG.com suppliers are a help, too. “The cam component is not challenging, but you must have a certain type of shop and programming plan to make it,” says Joe. “It takes creativity, and MFG.com helped me get this part cheap.”

Joe concludes saying, “Rogue Fabrication does two things better than everyone else: we offer flexibility and great customer service. We give them the most ‘bang for their buck,’ and our products deliver the flexibility customers want. MFG.com does the same thing for me. MFG.com gives me flexibility by providing access to suppliers all over the world. Plus, MFG.com offers outstanding customer service. If something goes wrong, MFG.com is there to step in and advocate for me.”

 

“MFG.com gives me access to new suppliers I didn’t even know existed. For example, I recently used a company in Wisconsin. Their bid was the second lowest, but they had exceptional ratings so it made sense to go with them. They did not disappoint.”

Joe Gambino
Founder & Owner,
Rogue Fabrication

 

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