How to Select an Industrial Caster Manufacturer
You are looking for an industrial caster manufacturer. You aren’t looking for a supplier, or a distributor. And you aren’t interested in going through a middleman.
To choose the manufacturer that is the best fit for your company, complete this checklist. Get satisfactory answers to these 12 questions, and you’ll find the right industrial caster manufacturer.
1. Why are you unhappy with your current caster supplier?
List the reasons you are searching. What is it about your current supplier that is unsatisfactory? You need to know the reasons you are searching so that you’ll recognize the best manufacturer when you see it.
2. Does the industrial caster manufacturer take a solutions approach?
Casters can be viewed as commodities. But you aren’t looking for a commodity supplier of casters. What you need is a manufacturer that takes a consultative approach to solving your material-handling challenges.
3. Does the manufacturer have deep technical application expertise?
How many decades of technical expertise does the manufacturer have in designing, engineering and building innovative, performance-built casters in your environment?
4. Does the manufacturer have a global footprint?
Some industrial caster manufacturers are regional players, others are national, and a smaller number have thousands of satisfied clients in dozens of industries around the globe. Go with the company that has the worldwide expertise and global supply chain experience to meet your unique demands.
5. How many years has the manufacturer been in business?
Longevity isn’t the only yardstick you should use in measuring the capabilities of an industrial caster manufacturer, obviously. But in an industry that has been characterized in recent years by mergers and acquisitions, you can be sure that any company that has been operating for decades under the same name must be doing something right. Look for a company with at least a century of combined experience creating casters and material-handling solutions.
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6. Can the manufacturer handle your order volumes?
You are perhaps looking for an industrial caster manufacturer because you have a project coming up that requires a large volume of casters. You want to find a company that can handle your volume of orders. So look at your list of candidates, and make sure the ones on your shortlist carry sufficient inventory and have production processes that can handle your demands.
7. Does the manufacturer understand your use case?
You have a material-handling solution that is designed for a particular industrial application. It will handle extra-heavy loads, for example. Or operate in high-temperature environments. Or be able to withstand saltwater, chemicals and other corrosive elements. Or you have a cart that's hand pushed and another cart that's power tugged. Or you have a cart that's going outside and being tugged 20 miles an hour with 20,000 pounds on it.
Regardless of your application or use case, you need a caster manufacturer who understands your application and has experience designing, engineering and building casters that match.
8. How will the manufacturer add value?
You aren’t looking for a manufacturer who will sell you a commodity product at the lowest price. Otherwise you will be searching for a replacement manufacturer with the year. What you need is a company that adds value. For example, they provide empirical data about ROI, push-pull force, product longevity, durability, ergonomics and more. They will get into the weeds with your engineers to discuss coefficient of friction. They gladly share their expertise about the pros and cons of caster-rig construction, wheel tread material and more.
9. Will the manufacturer reduce your costs?
Working directly with a manufacturer instead of using a distributor typically reduces your costs. But does the manufacturer save you money in other ways? Do their products last longer, for example? Are their casters maintenance free? Will the casters help prevent safety incidents and in turn liability claims? Ask how your manufacturer will lower your costs.
10. Will the manufacturer be easy to do business with?
Sometimes the difference between one company and another all comes down to soft skills. One company is proactive about visiting your facility and returns your calls quickly, the other doesn’t. One company offers an ordering process that’s integrated with your ERP, the other doesn’t. So, in your search, be sure to account for the pain-in-the-backside factor.
11. Does the manufacturer understand your competitors?
You want a manufacturer who not only understands your industry, your company and your unique marketplace challenges, but who also understands your competitors. After all, the casters that your manufacturer supplies will be going up against the casters that your competitors install on their equipment. Look for a manufacturer who knows what your competitors are up to and you’ll help your firm stay ahead of your competition.
12. Does the manufacturer offer a satisfactory warranty?
When it comes to industrial carts, you not only want your workers standing behind your carts. You want your caster manufacturer standing behind their casters. The first sign to look for is a warranty. Not all manufacturers offer one. Or they offer one with strings attached. Look for a manufacturer who wants a long-term relationship with you and not just a transaction.
Finding a reputable industrial caster manufacturer is 10% research and 90% due diligence. Run all candidates through this 12-point checklist and you’ll be on your way to starting a profitable relationship with a trusted, proven industrial caster manufacturer. Someone like Caster Connection.