Military specifications, or mil-spec, refer to reliable, military-grade products that adhere to strict guidelines.

For cuts, standard deviations for mil-spec products should be less than a thousandth of an inch. An exact procedure should also be followed to ensure high-quality goods with specific features across the board. For example, a mil-spec supplier may heat metal at precisely 100 degrees Celsius or cut parts at a 61.76-degree angle.

There are many reasons a manufacturing company should opt for a mil-spec materials supplier. That company could be involved in military and defense services or require standardized parts, modules, and units that may be used interchangeably. This is the case with certain automotive companies.

Here are factors you need to consider before signing a deal with a mil-spec materials supplier.

1. Proper Facilities

Mil-spec goods encompass a wide range of categories. They could be firearms, artillery, automobiles, electronics, software, and tactical gear. So, different orders will have different requirements.

Take note of your mil-spec document and order specification. Then, assess whether or not a supplier has the facilities to meet those requirements. Machinery, workforce, and working space are factors to consider when deciding on a mil spec supplier.

For example, some companies may have the workforce and equipment to produce bulk orders. Other manufacturers focus on specialized short orders. You may also need materials to be melted and reformed, which means the mil-spec materials supplier should have the necessary heating equipment.

If a manufacturer doesn’t have the capacity to complete any part of the order, you’ll have to look to other suppliers. The mil-spec document should narrow down your list of potential custom manufacturers.

2. Industry Experience

In choosing your mil-spec materials supplier, make sure it isn’t its first rodeo in the defense industry. The company should have had experience working with the materials you require. That way, you can be sure that the products they come out with match your specifications.

Mil-spec distributors are usually under a non-disclosure agreement. They may not tell you about the clients they’ve worked with. However, they may tell you if they’ve completed specific mil-spec projects before. If your mil-spec materials supplier can confidently detail its mil-spec procedure, that’s how you’ll know it isn’t their first rodeo.

Some other things you’d want to look for are certifications.

The AS9100 certification is a quality management certification given to defense industry suppliers alongside aerospace suppliers. ISO 9001 is another certification in quality management. To attain it, a manufacturer must consistently meet customer requirements. Shown above is the AS9100 and ISO 9001 certification(s). ITAR is a certification given to suppliers that uphold customer confidentiality.

There are many more certifications a custom manufacturer can achieve. Look for these because these are indicators of quality processes, outstanding output, and reliable service to clients.

Outsourcing to a supplier with industry experience ensures consistent turnaround time. A tenured supplier is critical, especially if you have a massive supply chain.

3. Good Research Capabilities

Mil-spec suppliers shouldn’t go straight to manufacturing the required goods. They should also conduct extensive research about the product required. This research will depend on the details specified in each new mil-spec document a customer provides.

Shown above is a page from a mil-spec document for a wristwatch.

Because these mil-spec documents are very detailed, they can have many pages. You must ensure the mil-spec supplier you choose, then, has the capabilities to go through each page and detail specified.

You can be assured of quality output with a supplier that has a capable research team. You can be assured, too, that the products will abide strictly by the mil-spec document you provide.

4. Financial Stability

The ability of a supplier to deliver rests on its financial stability. When a supplier declares bankruptcy in the middle of an order, that will be very problematic. Depending on the contract, a supplier may legally be obliged to halt the processing of your order. Even if you get a refund, you would have already wasted a lot of time with that supplier.

Conduct your research on your prospects’ financial status. You can get some of that information with a quick Google search. You can also ask your prospect straight about this. Remember, you’re within your right to ask since you’re the paying client. If they don’t answer you straight, then you may want to reconsider working with them.

If you’re the type who prefers working with local mil-spec companies, you can also opt to pay the bulk of the contract price for the project. That ensures the supplier has more than enough resources to work on your product. When the supplier has more resources, it can also deliver your product in a shorter period. Besides, this practice can help establish trust between you and that company.

I suggest following this practice after you’ve worked with the mil-spec supplier a couple of times and proven the company delivers on its promises.   

In Closing

Mil-spec products should adhere to stringent and specific guidelines. Any deviation from the specified standard may result in product malfunction. That can affect your brand negatively.

So, look for a reliable mil-spec supplier. A trustworthy mil-spec supplier will deliver the product according to your specific requirements.

You need to consider several factors when choosing your mil-spec materials supplier. Your supplier must have the proper facilities to produce the item. It should also have industry experience. Ask your supplier if they’ve completed such projects before. Your supplier should be able to answer all the details with confidence.

Look for supplier certifications as well. These are merits of quality and service. Your mil-spec supplier should also have research capabilities to assess volumes of mil-spec documents thoroughly. You can’t have a company just breezing through your mil-spec forms. You need one that looks at each detail with precision.

Finally, your mil-spec supplier should be financially stable. You can perform a quick Google search or ask your prospects about their financial status.

Remember, your choice of mil-spec materials supplier will determine the quality of the final product you sell on the market. Follow this process when picking that company to work with, and you can ensure the end-products you offer to consumers are of the highest quality.