Offshore Optics Sourcing: It Doesn’t Need To Be a Nightmare



Do offshore vendors scare you? Time zones and languages! Shipping schedules and quality control! International Customs and ITAR regulations! Worrying about all of those factors can make you want to avoid offshore suppliers completely, regardless of cost benefits. Rather than hiding under a blanket and hoping these fears go away, maybe you just need someone to turn on a light. Offshore vendor management is one of Ross’s key services. Here’s how we make it work.

  1. We know our vendors. Through the years we have developed long-standing relationships with a select network of offshore providers. As soon as we understand your needs, we begin looking for a solution. We probably already know the right supplier with the right capabilities, and if not, we’ll find the best options quickly.
  2. We start with a sample order. Before we send anything to you, we test the quality ourselves. With our in-house metrology capabilities and total optical inspection, we can verify all aspects of the optics before you ever even see a part.
  3. We make site visits. The best way to monitor a production process is to be there. We make annual visits to our suppliers to ensure that they can meet our customers’ long-term needs.
  4. We constantly communicate with our vendors. By phone. By chat. By Skype. Whatever it takes, we stay in continuous contact with our vendors. We know them. They know us. If there’s an urgent need on their end or ours, there is no scrambling to figure out who to call.
  5. We control shipments. We set specific shipment dates for specific amounts by specific methods. That allows us to consolidate shipments to save on shipping costs, and it ensures that orders are received and acknowledged.
  6. We keep score. We let our vendors know how we think they are doing and what we want them to do to correct any issues. We expect them to send us monthly reports on open orders.
  7. We can supply our suppliers. Ross has the unique capability of helping our suppliers stock raw materials. It is not uncommon for us to engage our network to supply the specific Schott or Ohara glass for your parts if those materials are difficult to acquire at the required rate. Keeping up with material needs helps us stay on schedule and keep lead times short.
  8. We know ITAR. If your products are directly or indirectly related to defense technology, you can’t afford to guess whether you are in compliance with ITAR. Ross is an ITAR registered vendor, and we monitor ITAR’s complex rollout schedule so you don’t have to.

Managing offshore suppliers requires knowledge, experience, and organization. Instead of hoping for success or hiding from the opportunities, why not work with experts? When Ross handles your offshore sources and shipping, you can stop worrying. Give us a call, or email me at, and learn how we can help you sleep better at night.

For more advice on how to manage optics vendors and inventory and reduce supply chain risk, download our free guide.

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