Knowing what to ask when talking to a wire harness manufacturer is key to choosing the right one.
Wire harness manufacturers come with a wide range of experience and specialized knowledge. However, finding the right organization is more than simply reviewing their credentials for a specific project. You also want to find a team that is a good fit with yours. With a few carefully chosen questions, you can build a partnership with a reliable manufacturer that lasts beyond one or two jobs.
Talking with Wire Harness Manufacturers
The process you go through when hiring a wire harness manufacturers has a lot in common with conducting interviews for employment. The information you need to ensure they can do the job is covered by obvious questions, like:
- What industries do you serve?
- What is your experience with my type of equipment?
- What is your lead time on orders?
- Are you able to produce small/large quantities?
You absolutely want to cover that information, but there are a few other questions you may not think to ask that can shed additional light on how your working relationship would be. These include:
Who is your ideal customer?
There is no perfect answer to this question. You can, however, learn a little bit about how the wire harness manufacturer’s team likes to work, what their communication style is, and whether their expectations for how closely you will work match with yours. It can serve as a conversation starter, so it might be useful to give some serious thought to what kind of customer you will be.
What do you consider your greatest success on a project?
Again, there isn’t a right answer for this question. There can be a wrong one, though. You don’t want to hear, “The cable worked.” That should be a given. Listen for tough challenges that were overcome. Ask for details. While they may not be able to give specifications, they should be able to talk about they how they worked through the problem.
Can you give references?
You should ask for references from every wire harness manufacturer you are serious about working with. While references are almost always handpicked to give the best possible impression of the manufacturer’s work, they should still be able to provide them. And you should contact those references. Make sure you talk about their experience working with the manufacturer and how the wire harnesses they produced perform.
Do you have one or two big clients that provide you with most of your work?
Answering yes to this question shouldn’t automatically rule out a contender for your project. However, it can imply that your project might not be as high of a priority for them. While this isn’t always the case, it is something you want to address before you get started.
Can you describe your testing and quality control process?
This question is less relationship based, but it’s vital that you understand how a wire harness manufacturer ensures the quality of the products they produce. It goes beyond ensuring the product works. Products that have gone through rigorous testing are just safer to use. It’s not an area where you want to cut corners.
Technical know-how and manufacturing capabilities are obvious areas to consider when talking to wire harness manufacturers, but that information doesn’t always tell the whole story. Asking a few questions during initial discussions can help you understand what a relationship with the company would be like. When you’re ready to discuss your next custom wire harness, please get in touch with the Meridian team. We’d love to hear about your project.