A Winning Model for Sourcing Quality Plastic Parts | Proto Plastics

A Winning Model for Sourcing Quality Plastic Parts

When sourcing quality plastic parts, it pays to factor in the realities of the new economy. Now, the concept of best value includes the value of your relationship with your supplier. It’s worth it to find a source that can become your collaborator.

Buy, Make, or Collaborate

There are three types of sourcing, according to Dr. Oliver Williamson, a professor of economics at UC Berkeley, a specialist in transaction cost economics, and a winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics (2009).

To simplify Dr. Williamson’s analysis, you can either buy your supplies, make them, or choose a hybrid approach, in which your supplier becomes your collaborator. Dr. Williamson put these three options on a continuum of approaches to sourcing.

What do these three methods look like when put into practice?


At one end of the continuum, a company can buy supplies for the lowest possible monetary cost, period. This is the traditional approach, with buyer and supplier often competing against each other to maximize their respective profits.


At the other end of the continuum, a company could–theoretically–make every single component it needs, doing no outsourcing at all. Even in scenarios where this is possible, the approach would have its drawbacks. One would be that in-house production facilities can sometimes lack the competitive edge of suppliers who operate in the open marketplace.


In between those two extremes, you’ll find the hybrid approach to sourcing. With this collaborative approach, the supplier not only makes the parts you need, but also adds value to your manufacturing process by providing additional assets such as experience, responsiveness, and creativity.

There is a business program called Vested that uses Dr. Williamson’s research. As Vested describes itself:

Vested® is a business model, … mindset and movement for creating highly collaborative business relationships that enable true win-win relationships in which both parties are equally committed to each other’s success.

A recent paper by Vested, called Unpacking Sourcing Business Models, lists some things to look for in a good collaborator:

  • previous experience
  • supplier performance ratings
  • previous contract compliance performance, and
  • evidence of an external certification such as ISO

Proto Plastics is exactly this kind of supplier for quality plastic parts. We have collaborated to create win-win relationships with our customers for over 40 years, as demonstrated by our excellent performance ratings, success in contract compliance, and external ISO certification of our quality management process.

So when you’re sourcing quality plastic parts, consider Proto Plastics. To learn more about how we can become your trusted supplier, please contact us today.

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