Under the weight of the pandemic in 2020, the U.S. economy shrank overall; however, spending on home improvements and repairs grew as people modified their homes, yards, and gardens in the face of lockdown restrictions. The composite decking and railing industry was one that experienced a surge in demand, and many suppliers struggled. One composite decking manufacturer found itself in this situation when its sole source vendor for extruded rail accessory profiles and components couldn’t keep pace with new orders.
The composite decking company’s senior direct material buyer contacted the vendor’s raw material supplier to ask for a secondary supplier recommendation. Without hesitation, it recommended Custom Profile, as the two companies had a long-standing relationship.
The buyer reached out to Custom Profile in May 2021 to learn more about them and discuss the company’s needs and Custom Profile’s capacity. Whenever the composite decking manufacturer brings on a new supplier, they conduct a supplier audit beforehand. The buyer and her R&D and quality team members audited Custom Profile’s facility.
“We evaluated their processes, looked at their quality lab, and reviewed current profiles that they extrude. Everything was very good and pointed to a potentially good relationship,” said the buyer.
With the audit concluded and NDA signed, Custom Profile began looking at ways to add additional value to the relationship.
Bringing Custom Profile on as a supplier has proved to be a beneficial move.
“Custom Profile has exceeded our expectations to date. They’ve proven to be much more on point than even our initial supplier,” said the buyer. “They’re very responsive; their price points are excellent – very competitive. Communication and transparency are so important, and they’ve provided both. They’ve brought some technology to us, solution suggestions, and alternate options that have worked very well.”
In one case, Custom Profile recommended a cost-saving alternate material. In another instance, a packaging solution proved to be a significant cost saver. When some profiles are bulk packaged and shipped long distances, they don’t hold up very well. The profiles must meet certain specifications and are evaluated when they arrive at their destination. The company was having issues with some profiles not meeting certain specifications for measurements, including bending and warping, after being shipped. Custom Profile made suggestions for alternate packaging that has driven cost savings and allowed the components to arrive in good condition.
“Cost savings have been upwards of $10,000 annually just on packaging improvements,” the buyer said. “There have been other significant cost savings just by moving 50% of our volume to Custom Profile.”