There's nothing wrong with sourcing optical parts from overseas. We frequently do it ourselves. However, working with vendors on another continent has its risks, and when things go wrong, they tend to go really wrong. Problems include:
- Inadequate process control
- Assembly problems
- Slow response to sudden changes in demand
- Tacked-on shipping, duty, and import costs not included in the bid
- Unexpected delays related to severe weather and disasters
- Stalled or rejected deliveries because of shifting international trade law
- Customer service that is 12 hours out of sync with North American time zones
When companies have come to Ross Optical with these problems, we have been able to help them "bail out" in several ways.
- Straightforward pricing: Because we are a domestic supplier, there are no hidden costs related to international shipping and customs.
- Unmatched customer support: At Ross, we pride ourselves on customer service. It's easy to pick up the phone to talk to any of our customer service specialists. Furthermore, we provide direct contact with our optical engineers who can help you find equivalent parts at the best price.
- Unique inventory: Our specialty is hard-to-find optics, so if anyone has an unusual part, it’s us. Furthermore, if we are helping a previous customer, we almost certainly still have their parts in stock because supply chain management is our top priority.
- Supplemental supplier: For some customers we become their backup supplier, keeping critical components in stock when their overseas partner cannot deliver.
- Product filtering: We use our in-house testing facilities to salvage the good components from a bad order. This service recoups some of the sunk cost, and the rescued parts provide an inventory buffer so that the customer can meet critical orders while we work to source the parts from a more reliable vendor.
No one can anticipate a specific overseas supply disruption, but the complexity of importing precision optical components is particularly challenging. If you run into unexpected problems, we can usually help you out of a bad situation. In the long run, we have the resources and experience to maintain a parts inventory for you so that overseas difficulties never disrupt your supply chain.
Learn more about reducing supply chain risk by downloading our free guide: