At Superior Tube we’re committed to manufacturing metal tubing products of the highest quality. To do this, we rely on a network of raw material suppliers, all of which have been selected according to rigorous criteria covering quality, service, delivery and cost. We work closely with these suppliers to drive innovation, finding and testing new metals and alloys as we seek to develop tubing products for the engineering projects of tomorrow.
Our customers are an important part of this process, and we respond to their needs. We support them with initial design, appropriate material selection, actual production and test certification right through to the delivery of their tubes. Our aim is to provide companies around the world with a clear competitive advantage based on outstanding quality and forward thinking.
Raw Material Supply Chain
At our tube mill we use three basic forms of raw material: seamless extruded hollows, flat strip metal, and precision bored or drilled solid bars. These are made from a diverse range of corrosion resistant, high strength materials, including nickel alloy, stainless steel, titanium and zirconium. What we purchase is governed by the needs of our customers.
Our long history in the market means we’ve been able to develop and manage a global supply chain for the base materials used in our precision tubes. We source raw materials primarily from European countries and the US, and everything we buy complies with our rigid purchase specifications which have been drawn up to meet your requirements.
Raw materials list
Stainless steel alloys we commonly procure include: 304, 304L, 316, 316L, 321, 347, 21-6-9, 17-4 PH, 17-7 PH and 6 MO. The nickel alloys we order cover: 200/201, 400, 500, 600, 625, 718 and MP 35N. We also manufacture in zirconium alloy (Zircaloy brand) and titanium. We also carry other alloys, depending on current contracts and recent customer demand. If you have a need that’s outside of these alloys, please reach out to us and we’ll work with you to source another alloy if needed.
Supplier quality assurance and development
We manage and control our list of suppliers according to the needs of our customers and regulatory requirements through a supplier QA and development program. Its goals are to:
- Increase regular two-way communication between Superior Tube and its suppliers
- Understand suppliers and their capabilities
- Build mutually beneficial long-term relationships with suppliers
- Identify, prevent and mitigate risks affecting the supply chain
- Rationalize our list based on supplier performance data
- Identify supplier improvement opportunities
- Integrate key suppliers into product development projects
- Uncover hidden costs and cost drivers
- Improve our competitiveness by strengthening our part of the end customer value chain
The Superior Tube approach to supply chain management has four main themes, which are detailed below.
Our quality targets are outlined in our Supplier Requirements Manual, and we complete a Supplier Audit Schedule for each company we purchase raw and contact materials from. We keep an up-to-date approved supplier list and have procedures in place for assessing and approving new or alternative suppliers. Our on-going program measures supplier performance and we take action when standards are not met.
Materials need to be in stock in time for manufacture. We ensure this happens by communicating clearly with our suppliers, and scoring them on delivery performance.
To maintain the highest level of service, we use a balanced scorecard approach to assess the service levels of our key suppliers. We evaluate how well they meet our requirements, and their reaction and response times. Fixed supply lead times are in place to ensure stock is held in order for us to meet delivery targets.
Developing partnerships with our suppliers enables us to be highly competitive on cost, and it is a critical measure within our key supplier scorecards. Any potential new suppliers are assessed in accordance with the processes outlined in the Superior Tube Company Supplier Requirements Manual and must be completed before any new supplier can be added to our approved list. Our existing suppliers are also assessed on an on-going basis.