As a consumer, it is natural to wonder how the price of any product or service is determined. Plenty of companies will give you a quote, but how many actually explain what determines the cost that a quote provides?
At Mueller, we are just as dedicated to transparency and trust as we are at crafting world-class products. In this guide, we will discuss how pricing is determined for many of the various markets we serve. The markets we serve include aerospace, electronics, transportation, health & safety, lighting, HVAC, industrial, and more.
Since aerospace is a complicated and unique market, primarily due to necessary government regulations, it doesn’t follow this pricing guide exactly. However, this guide does explain the factors that are taken into consideration when figuring out a project’s cost in any of the other markets we specialize in.
While every customer is different from the next, this guide will give you some insight into how the cost of an order is determined at Mueller, as well as what makes us different from other custom converters. That way, you can not only do business with Mueller in complete confidence but also discover why we are the most trusted name in die cut solutions.
How Our Ordering Process Effects Cost
At Mueller, we like to keep the ordering process as simple as possible for all potential clients. Pricing expert Nathan Probert says, “We want to give our customers the best unit price upfront, right out of the gate. That’s our philosophy.”
This means that when you submit a request for quote (RFQ), we get to work on finding out how much money we can save you right away. The sooner our team can get involved in the design process, the better. The more input we are able to give, the more likely it is that we can help customers save.
After the design stage is completed, we begin the quoting process. This is where we collaborate with you to ensure whatever product we are producing lives up to the world-class standards we uphold. From there, we begin production on your order at our state-of-the-art facility, where our highly-trained operators craft your desired product with innovative and effective techniques.
Once your order has been completed, we package the product to your specifications and make sure it is shipped and delivered on time. At Mueller, we pride ourselves on our ability to meet every deadline, every time.
How We Determine Price
There are many factors to consider when Mueller is determining the cost of an order. To help break it down, we’re going to take a look at each factor that our team considers. By being as transparent as possible, we will provide the information you need to help you make the most informed buying decision possible.
The primary driver for determining price is material selection. With so many different raw material options for you to choose from, the decision itself can be a little overwhelming. At Mueller, we pride ourselves on being able to fulfill any order with the materials specified by the vendor. What sets Mueller apart, however, is our opportunity to provide alternative material when desired by the customer. When clients are open to an alternate cost-saving material that provides the level of performance suitable for their application, Mueller works with our network of alternative suppliers to make it happen.
The material you choose for your product will ultimately play a large part in determining its cost and quality, so all options must be considered. Luckily, Mueller can help you do that.
Going hand-in-hand with material selection is order volume. Like many elements of our pricing breakdown, this is handled in the quoting phase of our process, where we look at all available options and decide the most cost-effective course of action.
While it might be easy to assume that ordering in bulk is always cheaper, Probert says it is “commodity-dependent.” This means that bulk prices depend on the material type itself, which we take into consideration when developing a quote. So while many vendors do offer price breaks on large orders, we will always strive to find the lowest price for the materials needed for your order.
Testing / Quality Assurance
We always want to ensure that the products we produce measure up to both your standards and ours. To do that, we inspect the finished product to be certain it meets your specifications.
What sets Mueller apart from the rest is our group of quality certified operators, a rarity in the manufacturing world. Instead of taking completed parts off-line and waiting for a separate quality assurance department, our operators are internally trained to check them as they go, which saves both time and money.
There are no products without the people who produce them, which is why labor costs always factor into a project’s pricing. While Mueller includes how much it will cost to get machines up and running and other traditional costs in the quoting phase, we avoid other costs in regards to labor.
One of those costs is unpredictability, which accounts for delays or unforeseen roadblocks during production. Mueller avoids this through its redundant capabilities, which means that our facility houses multiple pieces of equipment that can complete the same task. With this series of safeguards in place, our team can adapt quickly and get the job done, avoiding overage or any other extra costs.
The in-line quality assurance check that Mueller operators do also serves to reduce time and cost of projects. Probert says, “Automating and being able to do things in-line and not having to take things off-line and doing it by hand... those are the ways Mueller wins. That’s how we reduce costs and keep our costs competitive.”
Mueller also avoids excessive waste and scrap fees by using low cost or scrap material during setup or to test run machines and presses before using the selected product material as a way to decrease waste. This results in a higher yield for our customers.
Every job is different from the next, meaning each requires its own equipment and tools to produce. Our in-house team of engineers manage tooling to help facilitate costs, with functions that range from increasing yields and reducing labor to tasks like slug removal.
According to Probert, “We have built whole pieces of production equipment for large projects if that’s what it takes to come up with the lowest cost production method and best yield.” So while tooling is still a factor when it comes to determining order price, the Mueller engineering team works hard to facilitate this element.
Ordering with Mueller
There is a great deal that goes into determining the cost of any manufacturing project. Although there is no sure-fire way to determine the price of a job until you work with us directly, this guide will help you understand how Mueller quotes jobs and the price-cutting opportunities that exist for our customers.
Between material selection, material quantity, testing, tooling, labor, and engineering, Mueller determines order cost through a number of factors and metrics. Now, you have a strong grasp on what those factors are and are equipped to order with confidence.