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Problem Supplier Attitude on Problem Moulding

echavez123

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Today, I called Supplier A and Supplier B about problems with moulding. In both cases, I am under pressure to complete the customer order. In both cases, I was able to cut the useable part of the moulding to complete the job. I called both about the issue and here are their responses:

Supplier A - We prefer to replace the bad moulding with good moulding. So, we will make an exception this time, and will credit you with the remainder of the bad moulding. But, in the future we want the full stick back for replacement.

My response: The customer is breathing down my neck to get the job finished. You only deliver to our city once a week. So, if I delay I will likely lose the customer.

Supplier B - Yes, tell us how much of the moulding is bad and we will credit you this amount. We are sorry you had to run into this problem.

I have been doing business with both suppliers since 2007. I really like some of the mouldings from Supplier A, but I end up correcting problems about 50% of the time on their moulding ( filling, patching, gluing etc).

I have a much higher success rate with supplier B, but they are more expensive than Supplier A.

What do you think about their responses?

Is it time to drop supplier A?
 
888

Joe B

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I would drop supplier A. Your customers are to hard to get and then having to fight an unnecessary fight to keep them is not something we should have to do. I have dropped several suppliers for about the same problem you are having. I just don't have the time to continually ship back moulding to suppliers that don't send good quality the first time. It takes time and some of my customers don't have that therefore I don't either. Nope, if they continually ship the poor quality moulding either have them check every stick before they ship it to assure you that what you get is acceptable or flat out drop them, if enough other framers do the same they will correct the issues or go belly up.
 

artfolio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Amen to Joe's comment. Time is money and a framer's time should be spent making frames for customers, not haggling with suppliers over sub-standard materials. Far better to spend a few more dollars with the supplier who reliably sends good quality materials than waste time dealing with returns, particularly if you also have to repack the dodgy stuff and ship it back.
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Is it a supplier problem - damaged stock though bad handling/storage, or a manufacturing problem - the factory made a bad batch.

If the latter case, the supplier is in the same hole as you. o_O

In the case where you have no option but to cherry-pick the moulding I see no reason why they couldn't credit you for unusable bits.
I think their policy is aimed at unscrupulous framers (there must be some) who would take naturally wasted bits (unusable short bits)
and ding them themselves to claim credit.
 

Andrew Lenz Jr.

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Our problem is how bad is bad when it comes to moulding warping? Sometimes, we can't make a determination if it's useable or not useable until it's cut and we load it into our vises.

Once it's cut, some suppliers, like Larson Juhl, won't take it back . . . look, if we can't use it, you can't use it either!! What difference does it make when we return it if it's cut into frame sides or it's one long unusable piece of defective warped moulding??

Andrew
 

munnframeworks

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Try to take the wholesalers view. Out every 10 lengths, you may have one length that has no damage in it. When we chop it we have the duty to cut out all the damages and blemishes .
That is why ( sometimes) it is more economical to buy chops. it also makes it more likely that you can deliver on time. My father Abe Munn used to say " You don't save money by saving money" .
That is why he always made the best quality product.
 

echavez123

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Our problem is how bad is bad when it comes to moulding warping? Sometimes, we can't make a determination if it's useable or not useable until it's cut and we load it into our vises.

Once it's cut, some suppliers, like Larson Juhl, won't take it back . . . look, if we can't use it, you can't use it either!! What difference does it make when we return it if it's cut into frame sides or it's one long unusable piece of defective warped moulding??

Andrew
I have called Larson in the past and explained I have some problem with moulding, and that I can cut what I need to finish the job to get the job done on time. Otherwise, I have to wait till it gets replaced. They were ok with this, and have credited that bad moulding. When the driver comes on next delivery, I return the back leftover for proof. This only happens once in a blue moon. I have pretty good success rate with Larson.
 

echavez123

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Try to take the wholesalers view. Out every 10 lengths, you may have one length that has no damage in it. When we chop it we have the duty to cut out all the damages and blemishes .
That is why ( sometimes) it is more economical to buy chops. it also makes it more likely that you can deliver on time. My father Abe Munn used to say " You don't save money by saving money" .
That is why he always made the best quality product.
Interesting, but I dont know if customers would accept the higher prices of chops. I feel we can be more competitive if we chop our own.
 

echavez123

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Is it a supplier problem - damaged stock though bad handling/storage, or a manufacturing problem - the factory made a bad batch.

If the latter case, the supplier is in the same hole as you. o_O

In the case where you have no option but to cherry-pick the moulding I see no reason why they couldn't credit you for unusable bits.
I think their policy is aimed at unscrupulous framers (there must be some) who would take naturally wasted bits (unusable short bits)
and ding them themselves to claim credit.
I order material once or twice a week. Our WO due date is 3 weeks out. When we are overloaded (like now), I may not get to the job until 3-4 days before the due date. If I discover a problem, it is too late to reorder. I dont expect 100% good moulding, but I do expect 90% or better. I think it is in the supplier's best interest to inspect the moulding before shipping, when they know they have problems with their moulding. They should not pass the responsibility to the framer. On the other hand, if the supplier markets good quality moulding, there is less need to inspect. I dont have time to cherry-pick the moulding. To do so, in a timely manner, I would have to unwrap the moulding for inspection, then set it aside till I am ready to use it. This of course increases the chance of getting a scratch, scuff or ding.

To our suppliers - PLEASE GIVE US GOOD MOULDING! This will help us retain our customers.
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I get the impression that it's most suppliers policy to send the moulding out and wait for the fallout. They know there is going to be bad
stuff here and there and framers will reject it. They factor returns into the pricing structure. If they had to guarantee 100% perfect stuff
they would have to unwrap/inspect/rewrap. That takes time and manpower which costs money, therefore we all would get perfect moulding
but it would be much more expensive. Wood is a natural product and the finishing process is quite involved so there is going to be a certain
amount of inconsistency.

In my experience, suppliers are very sympathetic to complaints of bad moulding. They expect it. And as framers we should expect it and accept
a certain amount of 'corkage' and factor this in. But it's how the suppliers react to and handle returns that is what counts.

I use mainly plain wood. It's years since I bought any finished stuff. And it's years since I sent any back. It's got to be really bad before it is not
usable. I fill huge holes and dings. Now and then I get a warped stick. There is one moulding that is notorious for splitting along the rabbet lip.
I run this though my table saw and fix on a narrow moulding to replace the rabbet. Brand new exclusive profile. :D More work, granted but it
does wonders for my stress levels.
 

wldman

Grumbler
Our problem is how bad is bad when it comes to moulding warping? Sometimes, we can't make a determination if it's useable or not useable until it's cut and we load it into our vises.

Once it's cut, some suppliers, like Larson Juhl, won't take it back . . . look, if we can't use it, you can't use it either!! What difference does it make when we return it if it's cut into frame sides or it's one long unusable piece of defective warped moulding??

Andrew
Why some suppliers will not take it back if it has been cut is because they will use the stock length to make chops or samples out of... if you have already cut it it is no use to them... with a full stick that only has a little damage on it they can cut it into either corner samples, chips, or if a customer orders a small chop they can use it then...
 

Joe B

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I have called Larson in the past and explained I have some problem with moulding, and that I can cut what I need to finish the job to get the job done on time. Otherwise, I have to wait till it gets replaced. They were ok with this, and have credited that bad moulding. When the driver comes on next delivery, I return the back leftover for proof. This only happens once in a blue moon. I have pretty good success rate with Larson.
I do not have problems if I have to return to Larson even if I have cut it. They understand that I will first try to use it but if I can't I do ask for replacement, I have never had them say no to either replacing a full length or a chopped piece. But with that said, I have very few issues with moulding from Larson Juhl other than the 1 foot allowances in the middle of a length.
 

tedh

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I guess they ship the bad stuff to Canada. I have had lots of trouble with twist. Especially with some of the higher-priced lines. And the Alto is to avoid at all costs.
 

i-FRAMER

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
our suppliers here just ask us to send photos as returning the stock i.e 1 length is not worth the freight to them. Also, i only notify if them the stock was useable and i could not get the job out of it. If i could the job, 9/10 times i won't bother reporting it. I have 30% waste built in to cover damages and waste anyway.
 

echavez123

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I do not have problems if I have to return to Larson even if I have cut it. They understand that I will first try to use it but if I can't I do ask for replacement, I have never had them say no to either replacing a full length or a chopped piece. But with that said, I have very few issues with moulding from Larson Juhl other than the 1 foot allowances in the middle of a length.
Larson is "Supplier B". It is rare that I have a problem with their moulding. I have a high confidence level with their moulding. It is good to know they will cover the occasional defect. If anything, I may find something warped, but the finish is generally very good, ie, no flaking or chipping when cut. Nothing more agravating than a moulding that chips at the cut, and then I try again, and it chips again ... I do not have this problem with Larson. Of my top 3 suppliers, I am considering dropping one, and there samples occupy ~ 25% of our display.
 

DVieau2

PFG, Picture Framing God
Interesting, but I dont know if customers would accept the higher prices of chops. I feel we can be more competitive if we chop our own.
Do you have two prices for any given job? What do you do when buying length results in 40% waste compared to chop?

Do you calculate your cost options while the customer is standing there?

One huge advantage with LJ is when you order on line the price of a chop can be checked against the (somewhat) predictable length waste factor.

Never mind the labor factor :)

I would suggest for retail pricing ( not volume jobs) you always charge the chop price and pocket the savings when you can.
 

Rick Granick

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Doug is absolutely right. The moulding is worth what it is worth. It is of no concern to the customer how you buy it.
I would highly suggest taking Jay Goltz's pricing class at WCAF, The Gioltz Standard.
:cool: Rick
 

framah

PFG, Picture Framing God
Remember, you buy it cheaper so YOU can save money, NOT your customer.

Also, competitive with whom? Be competive with your quality and customer service and the price won't be as much of a problem to your customers as you might think.

Also, say your job needs 12 ft of a moulding. You need to buy 2 sticks... apx. 18 ft or so. How do you get paid for the 6 ft. left over? If you are always buying length for all of your jobs, unless you have a thriving business in ready made frames, you are seriously losing money from unused, leftover pieces.

Buy length when you need to do quantities of frames and chop for the rest and charge everything at the chop markup pricing.
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
If you're making mostly smallish frames then you can usually work round dings with minimal wastage.
If you want a 5ft rail out of an 8ft stick and there's a ding in the middle the essentially the whole stick is useless.
If it's twisted of course the whole stick is also useless - unless of course the twist is localised. It does happen.

The ideal thing is to eyeball the stick before cutting and any defects - reject it. Not always possible though.
 

tedh

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Is the air cool and dry by you?
Hot and humid, but not bad inside the workshop. Surprisingly the box moldings are almost perfect, as are most of their lines. Alto and Vermont are the ones to watch.

Larson is totally supportive, but I rarely ask or complain. Faulty moldings become ready-mades, and still generate margins. In over 25 years I may have sent back two sticks, and only because I was cranky.
 

bruce papier

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Larson's saving grace for us is the truck delivery every week which allows us to order small quantities of length moulding. They are good about credit for bad moulding although they are not faultless when it comes to sending us bad moulding. Nobody is.

The real fiasco we've had more times than I'm comfortable with is when we have a large order and the quality of the moulding goes to h e double hockey sticks half way through the box. I had a very long discussion with a rep one time about what credit we would receive on the bad portion. I had to send them photos of the flawed moulding, figure out just how much was flawed (we had to cut around flaws to get enough to make all the frames we needed), have them decide if the flaws were their fault, etc. I wasn't all that happy by the end of it.
 

Rick Granick

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Remember, you buy it cheaper so YOU can save money, NOT your customer.

Also, competitive with whom? Be competive with your quality and customer service and the price won't be as much of a problem to your customers as you might think.

Also, say your job needs 12 ft of a moulding. You need to buy 2 sticks... apx. 18 ft or so. How do you get paid for the 6 ft. left over? If you are always buying length for all of your jobs, unless you have a thriving business in ready made frames, you are seriously losing money from unused, leftover pieces.

Buy length when you need to do quantities of frames and chop for the rest and charge everything at the chop markup pricing.
This is exactly what I do. Unless economies of scale are involved, buying length for individual orders is more wasteful than many think. Also, if you assume that buying chop will make your prices uncompetitive, you might be competing with those owners who aren't earning a good living from their hard work. Not a great goal. Again, I would suggest going to WCAF and taking classes taught by Jay Goltz and Ken Bauer. It will give you a new perspective.
:cool: Rick
 

Andrew Lenz Jr.

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Why some suppliers will not take it back if it has been cut is because they will use the stock length to make chops or samples out of... if you have already cut it it is no use to them...
I can see the point about yield for samples, but if it's for chops, if it's of no use to us, it's not going to be of use to them. Warped beyond use for us is going to be warped beyond use for them too. And the counter argument for the samples argument: I know for a fact that LJ throws away leftover moulding that is shorter than 3 feet . . . that's a lot of samples worth!

Andrew
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
chop vs length and 'passing savings' to customers is as old a 'point of view' argument as framers have been framing. It also highlights a distinction between framers entering the biz world and biz folks entering the framing world

I don't expect many will change but lots of biz people subscribe to the 'take a buying advantage and make it a selling advantage'. may i use widgets? Mary sells widgets, buys a few at a time, uses standard mark up of 2x. She pays $1 ea, sells for $2.40 when she figure that Freight adds another .20 widget. People come, some anyway, because she is so nice and they love her. Mary sells 10-12 widgets makes $1.20 a widget

Joe goes to a trade show, buy widgets for 40% discount in a box of 36. Gets free freight. Says he's going to run a sale (according to Mary's $2.40) at $1.88 showing a discount of about 25% and he will make $1.28 a widget and will sell a bunch more than 10-12 a month

so, we could say that by 'passing along' those savings he did three things: generated more gross profit percentages, a lot more gross profit dollars and established a 'positive' price impression to current and future clients

before someone says framing ain't widgets, remember the average 'Joe' consumer may not agree so quickly. A biz person might approach it like this. For the 'Mary' type customer, offer the best, show the best, sell the best. For Joe look at well priced lines and take advantage of great buys.

Bottom line: lot more Joes than Marys. Be prepared for both, it's not a binary decision. Believe your competitors are

Chop vs length? We always had a healthy blend of length, chop and some chop and join. Each has a time and place

that's it for Bob on Biz. Take what works for you, disregard the rest
those owners who aren't earning a good living from their hard work. Not a great goal.
couldn't agree more with Rick. In all my businesses always found the best path to earning a good (ok, great) living was figuring a way to sell more things to more people:)
 

framah

PFG, Picture Framing God
Tho most of my sales are chops, I do stock about 20 different mouldings in length as I sell those often enough to go ahead and buy a couple hundred ft. and chop as needed.
THAT is where buying length makes the most sense.

Sometimes it is actually better to just have the supplier join and not waste my time. Too many frames to buy chopped but not enough to bother buying length.

The time saved more than makes up for the extra cost of them joining.
 

Andrew Lenz Jr.

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Joe goes to a trade show, buy widgets for 40% discount in a box of 36. Gets free freight. Says he's going to run a sale (according to Mary's $2.40) at $1.88 showing a discount of about 25% and he will make $1.28 a widget and will sell a bunch more than 10-12 a month
The next month, a customer comes in, but Joe's price has gone up to $2.40 each since Joe ran out of the cheap widgets he bought at the trade show and now has a higher cost and no free freight. Customer complains. "Joe ripped me off. He charged me way more than last time!" Customer goes to back to Mary and happily pays the same price of $2.40 but knows he won't get "ripped off".

Or, Joe goes to a trade show, buy widgets for 40% discount in a box of 36. Gets free freight. Sells the widgets for $2.30—cheaper than Mary—nets $1.70 each and pockets extra profit to save up to upgrade his really old mounting press. (Widgets are have nearly "inelastic" demand so lowering the price makes little difference.)

:)

Andrew
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
make no mistake, we can create a thousand variables to counter the argument. But, in the real biz of real consumers, they do respond to stimuli like sales

I was merely making an illustration of how most retailers turn buying advantages into selling advantages

just sharing my experience
 
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