So, I’m cruising along in my day, baller jam in the background (my workout playlist is NOT for just a sweat sesh for lifting the ol’ Fe at the gym). Yep, you know it, I get a “high importance” email from a sales rep needing to know why 304 Stainless round bar is ohmahgah, the dastardly, CHEM ONLY.
Well, in the aerospace world, there’s this standard, AMS 5693. Just to throw out there, recent AMS standards have given me so much grief of late that I was so focused on the standard that went into effect in April ( 5643V) when this came popped in my emails, I honestly thought “Dude, we are so way past that!!”
But, nope. I must stand corrected. We are no so past that. We are very Van Halen (shout out to Sammy) Right Here, Right Now (Mike P — miss ya, Bud!).
For those that are anti Sammy fans, keep your comments to a minimum, please.
So customer has ordered little, bitty small diameter bar and yes, the world that is governed by MTR’s says that this itty, bitty small diameter bar only meets chemistry of AMS 5693.
Oh My! How could that be!!!
Well, it’s really pretty easy.
When one orders material, on this thing called a Purchase Order, and the mill is to make it to those dastardly terms and conditions of the said Purchase Order, things like standards and internal specifications can be, as we say in the biz, called out. If I’m ordering material “ex mill XMonth / Xyear” (ie., ex mill March 2020) I am expecting the material to meet the callouts that I have noted on the PO (Purchase Order).
For example, in case you need to know — Comments on the header would be — MATERIAL MUST MEET AMS 5693 (CHEM AND PHYSICAL REPORTING) REQUIRED ON MTR FOR ACCEPTANCE AT TIME OF DELIVERY.
Just a note, I’ll go into PO comments on another post as I was schooled by the best back in the day and seven years later, I’ve not had any negative comments about my PO’s from my mills AND my sales team has occasionally mentioned that my PO comments are helpful (Shocker! as a buyer — that’s HUGE! we aren’t known to be helpful. Ever).
If you are reading this and you are a buyer for a steel distribution company, you know that in a day, there are those orders that come up that can’t wait for 18 weeks ex mill, so you buy what we call “depot stock”.
So, to get everyone on the same page, here, depot stock is that. Mill depot stock. Sure, there’s other distributors out there, and there’s those master distributors that only sell to distributors that save my ass in a pinch, but for the most part, I am going to my tried and tried mill depots. The major mills (if you are a buyer, you know who those are) have them, and have them strategically located in areas that are A) high probability for opportunistic sales or B) at the mill location itself, commonly referred to in the biz as floor stock.
If you are a buyer and you don’t know about mill depots or mill floor stock, send me a note (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll get you the hook up.
Back to the regularly scheduled program. Yes. This 304 itty, bitty round bar was mill depot floor stock. The mill depot orders to their standards, their mill tolerances, their mill standard lengths. Not a problem right?
In a perfect world, yes. Not a problem. But, I don’t live in a perfect world, ya see. I live in a world that for some reason, is of the opinion that I need more stuff to do (I love it, don’t misunderstand. I really do. I learn the coolest shyte about metal that most peeps don’t. It keeps me young, and off the streets and out of the bars).
How this callout got past the Ojo eyes of my gal out in Cali- dunno. She doesn’t know either. Long day, lots to do, who knows, doesn’t matter. What matters is that —
All that needed to be done is have the MTR evaluated to meet the specification.
Yep. That skill — Drag and Drop — hasn’t failed me yet.
I sent the MTR to her, asked if it could be evaluated for compliance to AMS 5693 (include mechanicals) and boom!! In a few hours, I compliant material.
Here’s the why the material was only CHEM ONLY.
When mill depots order their stuff for floor stock, they are looking at the big picture. Think of throwing a fishing net for shad (shout out to my fishing peeps). Mills are producing material and shipping material that will meet 95% of the typical requirements of most buyers/end users. Chemistry is the most important because mechanical testing (hardness, charpies, yield and tensile) can be tested 3rd party (huge shout out to those 3rd party testers!!) and meet standards.
There are some standards tho and some internal material requirements that require all this testing to be done at the mill. Why?
In a quick answer — It’s cheaper and it saves time. If it meets requirement, you ship today, right? And, you bill tomorrow. BONUS!!
In this particular instance, the mill produces ALL material to meet chemistry — the majority of the demand for this 304 itty bitty bar. CERTAIN size ranges (you guessed — this bar was in that size range) creates particular instances of compliance.
All that means is that it may or may not meet the mechanical testing requirements of the standard. It’s not a guarantee, but all it takes is an email to the mill to make certain that it does or it does not.
You have to ask. If you don’t, you’ve answered “No” for the mill, your customer and your company.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to create relationships with your mill contacts. They are your first line of defense in an adverse situation — if it a mill claim, an early delivery, or extra material needed because that ONE customer just cleaned you out of everything. They will make you better than you really are.
I leave you with this — “It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.” Mark Twain