Supplier Partnership

At KEP, one of our biggest values is proactive partnerships. We care deeply about the relationships we maintain with other companies, always doing our part to maintain open, honest communication and integrity in our valued work. It’s like that student that everyone wants to work with for the group project – yep, we aim to be that kid!

So, what does that student do when their other partner isn’t completing their necessary work, slowing down the project? Well, they go above and beyond to solve the problem and find impactful, lasting solutions!

Our company recently found itself in this exact situation. For decades, we’ve supplied dip-molded anesthesia bellows to a major healthcare technology provider, which are used in their anesthesia product line globally. These bellows are necessary in order for anesthesia machines to function properly. Some integral parts of this product, which are assembled on the top and bottom of the bellows, are provided by another manufacturer. The supplier injection molds the two parts, while we dip-mold the bellow, assemble the components, package the product, and ship it out. For a while, this process worked – until the other supplier faced raw material shortages, and could no longer provide the two necessary components needed for us to complete the fully assembled anesthesia bellow.

Not only did we find ourselves without the necessary components, but we saw our customer was losing sales. After years of backlog and little communication or help from this supplier, we said, “Enough is enough!” and began searching for a new company to partner with so we could provide our customer with a new, reliable source for these life-critical components. Though this wasn’t our job to do, as our customer manages the direct relationship, we knew it was time to step up and get the job done!

We sourced not one, not two – but SIX – viable alternative suppliers for these parts. Our goal is not only to provide our customer with more options but specifically remove the supply chain headaches altogether. The six options are all strong – especially since their geographic proximity to KEP would cut down on other supply chain issues too!

So, what now? Well, we are working towards having a new supplier in first article production by Q4 of 2022 and and continuing to ship any product we can for our customer in the meantime. But the best part for us was that we could show our customer that we really are that kid from your school projects! We saw a problem and proactively found a solution that was better than before. Rather than just stand by and let our customer suffer from the whims of an erratic supplier, KEP took action!

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