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Resources Blog The Secret to Success as a Purchaser in Manufacturing: Speaking Directly to Vendor Engineers

Making purchasing decisions in the manufacturing sector is a daunting task. Purchasers are often working from one spec sheet, and engineers have a big picture problem in mind. There are many factors to consider, from pricing and lead times to product quality and compatibility. One crucial factor that is often overlooked is the ability to talk directly to engineers.

It may seem like an insignificant detail, but the ability to communicate directly with engineers can make all the difference when it comes to making informed and strategic purchasing decisions. According to a recent study, 86% of manufacturing purchasing professionals reported that direct communication with engineers was important or very important when making purchasing decisions.

Why is direct communication with engineers so important? For starters, engineers have a deep understanding of the products they are designing and manufacturing. They can provide valuable insights into the features and functionality of products, as well as any potential compatibility issues that may arise. They can also help solve the customer’s problem in a different way than the customer envisioned. For example, if an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) is looking to lightweight an office chair, the purchaser might be looking for a smaller gauge in the tubing, when the most efficient solution would actually be a unique tube shape laser cut to accommodate specifications. At Lock Joint Tube, the launch of our "Ask An Expert" page has given outside companies the ability to contact our engineers directly has significantly streamlined our business.

Engineers can help to identify opportunities for cost savings and optimization. For example, they may be able to suggest alternative materials or manufacturing processes that can help to reduce costs without sacrificing quality. In fact, a recent study found that 65% of manufacturing purchasing professionals reported that they were able to negotiate better prices when they had direct communication with engineers.

Another key benefit of direct communication with engineers is the ability to anticipate and address any potential issues before they become major problems. This can help to ensure that products are delivered on time and meet the desired quality standards.

So, how can you ensure that you have direct communication with engineers when making manufacturing purchasing decisions? Here are a few tips:

1)     Build relationships with your suppliers. Make sure that you have a point of contact who can connect you with the engineers responsible for designing and manufacturing the products you are interested in.

2)     Ask questions. When you are in communication with engineers, don't be afraid to ask questions and seek clarification. This can help to ensure that you have a complete understanding of the products and any potential issues.

3)     Provide feedback. If you do encounter any issues, provide feedback to the engineers. This can help to improve the products and ensure that future orders meet your needs.


Direct contact with engineers means they can problem solve before problems arise. It is a critical factor in making informed and strategic manufacturing purchasing decisions. By taking the time to build relationships with suppliers and communicate directly with engineers, you can ensure that you are getting the best products at the best prices.



When purchasers are looking for materials, all they have to work with is often one spec sheet. A quick conversation between a purchaser and an engineer can save hours in research time.

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