Mar, 12 2019

Teamwork: It’s How Material Suppliers and Fabricators Win

Teamwork: It’s How Material Suppliers and Fabricators Win

Material suppliers and fabricators who work together can win new business and increase their sales. By partnering with the right supplier, a fabricator can acquire technical knowledge. That’s important in a crowded marketplace at a time when some materials, such as silicones, are in short supply and high demand. They say that opposites attract, but did you know that applies to your supply chain, too? 

Material Suppliers 

Most material suppliers specialize in a single category of materials. There are compounders who make rubber. There are manufacturers who make cork, fabric, or plastic. There are also companies that offer several categories of materials, but not all of the ones that a fabricator needs. Even if you can source rubber and plastic materials from a single source, it’s unlikely that your supplier will also offer metal mesh, several types of cork, and textile reinforcements.   

Vendor consolidation may seem attractive, but even fabricators who just buy rubber may not be able to get all of their elastomers from a single source. That’s because many suppliers further specialize by material type. For example, Specialty Silicone Products (SSP) supplies sheets, rolls, and ready-to-mold silicones and fluorosilicones. SSP doesn’t supply EPDM, nitrile, neoprene, polyurethane, natural rubber, or other types of elastomeric materials. 


Material suppliers are specialists, but fabricators are generalists. In fact, many of the die cutters who buy silicones from SSP cut hundreds or even thousands of flat non-metallic materials. Examples include cork, sponge, PTFE, thin plastic films, fabrics, EPDM, elastomeric sheets, and coated fabrics. Fabricators who use water jet cutting equipment or that mold gaskets also buy many different types of materials to meet their customers’ needs.  

The differences between fabricators and suppliers don’t end there. At a gasket cutter or molder, the salespeople and engineers need to know the basics about a large number of materials. At a material compounder or manufacturer, the salespeople and engineers need to be experts in the materials that their company makes. At SSP, for example, we can provide you with deep-dive details about silicones and fluorosilicones for sealing and EMI shielding. 


To help fabricators win business and increase sales, SSP is ready to participate in calls with a fabricator’s prospects and customers. Together, SSP and its value-added partners can drive material selection for military, medical, aerospace, electric vehicle (EV) and many other demanding applications. Have you asked SSP to support your sales process yet? If you’re a fabricator who’s ready to sell more silicone or fluorosilicone products, contact SSP on-line or email Dominic Testo