09 Nov 2021

Buy Better Foundry Patterns by Asking These Questions

Ever wondered how you can get better-value tooling? Or how to ensure your tooling will be to the right standard? Or how to safeguard yourself against delivery delays?

In manufacturing, open two-way communication is a must. Knowing what to ask your supplier is key in getting what you want, when you want it and at the right price for you.

So if you’ve ever wondered what you can ask your supplier to get the most out of your tooling, this list is for you!

Read More:

6 Reasons you should Purchase from a UK Manufacturer

Getting The Best Quote From Your Foundry Tooling Supplier 

How Much does Pattern Equipment Cost?: Hidden Costs 

  1. What is your experience?

What exactly is this potential supplier’s experience of manufacturing for the foundry sector? Do they have any testimonials from other foundries? Can they show you examples of their work? Can they provide a reference from another happy customer?

Your potential supplier should ideally have lots of experience with foundry customers and plenty of previous work to show off to you. If they don’t, proceed with caution.

  1. Have you ever reduced a customer’s tooling cost before?

By asking about cost reduction, you’ll be communicating to your supplier that you’re looking for the best value solution possible. The manufacturer will then be able to provide you with some cost-saving options – a fresh pair of eyes may pay dividends for you.

  1. What lead times do you offer?

Cost isn’t the only consideration when purchasing tooling, although sometimes it can seem that way. You might find that, whilst a supplier offers an attractive quote, they can’t deliver to your project deadlines. It’s important to get enough information when choosing suppliers to consider which company is going to be the best option for all your needs.

  1. What inspection/verification processes do you use?

You’ll want to make sure that your supplier can inspect their work to your required standard. If you want them to evidence their inspection at the CAD stage (critical to avoid the tooling design being flawed – it doesn’t matter how good their physical production is after this) then ask them. And do they have the inspection arms & software needed to verify tooling accuracy against the source CAD data, and provide you with the inspection reports to prove it?

  1. Are you ISO accredited?

An ISO quality accreditation will provide some indication that you’re working with a reputable supplier. While it’s not the only means of assessing capability, it’s a good clue that your potential supplier is committed to quality. You can learn more about this in our blog: 8 Supplier Standards that Guarantee Quality Assurance.

  1. What are your aftersales procedures?

Sometimes, issues with foundry tooling don’t become obvious until it’s in use – it’s a bespoke, never-existed-before tool, after all. You want to be certain that your tooling supplier will support you in ironing out any snagging issues post-supply.

  1. Can I visit your facility?

You might not even have to visit in person. With many businesses now offering virtual tours, you can see where your tooling will be manufactured without much effort. You’ll get a good idea of the type of business that you’re working with, and if their facility suits your project needs.

  1. Do you need any more information to generate an accurate RFQ?

Once you’ve issued your RFQ, it’s helpful to double check that there is no extra information needed by the supplier. An accurate RFQ minimises the risk of unexpected, costly misunderstandings.

  1. Do you have any suggestions for our tooling specification?

Whether or not you ultimately buy your tooling from this supplier, you should ask this question. Many businesses have been producing foundry tooling for a number of years and can provide valuable insight on your specification. For example, they might suggest:

  • An alternative grade of tooling board to the one you’ve specified – it may be cheaper/ more durable/ less prone to distortion, for example

  • Simplification of your corebox ejection system, to use bolt blanks and retention caps rather than the (more costly) items from suppliers such as Danly

  1. Can I send you another RFQ?

The perfect final question. It means you’ve found the right supplier! But is one supplier enough? Check out our blog that's all about how many suppliers you should be using.


Weighing up new suppliers isn’t the most exciting task. But by asking the right questions, you can help ensure that your choice of supplier is the perfect fit for you.

If you’d like to discuss our approach with us, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with any questions, concerns or requests.

Learn more about how you can save both time and money sourcing foundry patterns with our free guide, Buying Foundry Tooling Better. 

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