With so much manufacturing now located in Asia, Canadian businesses that need to produce metal parts for their products often subcontract that work to an overseas supplier. That process, though, is typically both time-consuming and inefficient, while supply chain delays can derail production timelines or cause a product to not get made at all.
In many cases, it can take days to get quotes – especially if there’s a big time zone difference – while order processing times can take some time, too. When supply chain issues do occur, manufacturers may not know about the problem until hours or days later, which could put a business well off schedule.
Given all the complexities that come with an overseas supply chain – and that’s come into much more focus since the pandemic began – many manufacturing companies are now thinking about working with domestic suppliers, where they can often get faster and better service.
However, until recently, it’s been difficult for Canadian manufacturers to find suppliers on often short notice and get a good price. They usually have to ask around to find someone locally, and if they want to compare pricing, they’ll need to call individual suppliers one by one.
In 2019, GRAD4 was founded to help bring buyers and suppliers together. The company was cofounded by manufacturing industry veterans who believed there was a better way for companies to handle the subcontracting process. They launched a digital platform that connects Canadian businesses with quality metal manufacturers and helps them outsource jobs more quickly and at a lower cost.
In just minutes, businesses can create and upload a request for quote (RFQ) to the site for free. That RFQ is then seen by hundreds of suppliers – all of whom have been vetted by GRAD4 – on the platform. Suppliers include several domestic metal manufacturers that leverage cutting-edge technologies, such as Computer numerical control (CNC) machines, to produce precision custom metal parts at competitive prices.
Buyers receive bids and can message suppliers through the platform if they have questions. Then they close the contract directly on the site. The process typically takes 90% less time than the old, outdated way of outsourcing, and buyers save 20%, on average, thanks to the competitive bid environment.
All of this makes it possible for Canadian companies to bring part of their supply chain back home, which not only means spending less time and money on transportation, but also sidesteps seasonal delays due to international holidays, and protects against unforeseen supply chain issues.
The GRAD4 site now facilitates about $250,000 in contracts each month, and continues to add new features, such as a messaging system for buyers and suppliers to communicate more effectively.