Companies, suppliers, and manufacturers involved in the military and defense industries are well aware of the highly specialized nature of these products. Every part, component, or piece of equipment manufactured to serve the military and defense industry must adhere to a strict standards, commonly known as Mil-Spec.
Mil-Spec, short for “military specifications,” is used to describe a product’s physical and/or functional characteristics. Typically, these specifications go hand-in-hand with Mil-Std, which stands for “military standards” and describes what materials and processes can be used to fabricate a product. These guidelines can also be extended to the manufacturing and testing of a piece of equipment.
When choosing a supplier for your next project for the military industry, there are a number of criteria you need to check off. Here are three criteria your supplier should meet.
First and foremost, you need to ensure that your Mil-Spec is familiar with the project. This set of standards can be broad and diverse, so one of the best ways to expect a high quality final product is to work with a supplier with previous experience.
Almost all military contracts come with non-disclosure agreements. This means that if a supplier has done prior Mil-Spec work, they won’t be able to reveal too much about it. They should, however, be able to tell you whether or not they have done Mil-Spec projects before.
In order to get the best answers from a supplier, ask specific questions. The right manufacturer will be able to give you a straight answer, especially regarding the specifications and requirements of your project.
2. Proper facilities and environment regulation
Mil-Spec guidelines, especially coupled with Mil-Std requirements, dictate not only the outcome of the final product, but the environment in which it is produced. Almost every step of the required production process is outlined in great detail. This means that your supplier needs to be exceptionally detail-oriented. This includes maintaining a facility and environment that perfectly adheres to every production specification.
3. Research capabilities for Mil-Spec documents
Mil-Spec projects require a supplier that not only has the technical capabilities to manufacture your product, but also the ability to do the copious amounts of research that goes along with it. Mil-Spec and Mil-Std documents are comprehensive, extremely detailed, and most importantly, exhaustive.
This means that your supplier should also have staff prepared for reading through many volumes of Mil-Spec, Mil-Std, and Military Handbooks, among many others. The success of your final product depends on your supplier’s familiarity with these documents.
Learn more in Keats’ eBook
These considerations only scratch the surface of what you need to know when selecting a Mil-Spec supplier. Our eBook, Choosing a Mil-Spec Supplier: Criteria, Questions, and Pitfalls, has much more detail about the selection process.