Executive Blog

Adopting a “Materials-First” Philosophy – Why and How

The value of a “Materials-First” philosophy resides in the certainty that the materials flowing through a supply chain exhibit an acceptable level of risk before the rest of the company is dependent on them. Doing so has been proven to minimize The Risk of Being Reactive.

Materials-First is all about engineering quality and compliance into your raw materials before they are adopted into your product line. It is, however, easier said than done. It takes organizational discipline with steadfast, top-down managerial commitment combined with an efficient process that must deliver operational excellence. 

The challenge is that our industry is plagued with the seemingly incompatible balance between ‘shorter lead times with lower costs’ and ‘maximizing innovation while maintaining quality’. Not to mention the drive for design creativity that is often at odds with the realities of a continually changing supply chain! 

What are the keys to successfully implementing a Materials-First philosophy? 

  1. Acknowledge the fact that your company must validate the integrity of all materials before they are adopted and build this into your culture. 

  2. Establish and enforce baseline requirements for all material types and end-use applications. 

  3. Define and communicate the standard operating procedures that will be followed (both internally and within your supply chain). 

  4. Adopt a data management strategy that accelerates the flow of information which results in acceptable risk without compromising market-driven timelines. 

Is it easy? No.  

Is it worth it? Absolutely. Just ask our customers. 

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