A client needed a low-cost custom brass thermowell for their food-preparation assembly, but didn’t know any specifications. The client didn’t know about lead requirements in food grade applications, either — luckily, we did.

We took their limited information, designed the thermowell and put it through an aggressive cost reduction process.

The supplier we ended up with was a top-notch professional out of Shanghai, China. Their prices were 70% below the average quote received and 20% below the next-lowest quote. We had them custom-make the lead-free brass to our specifications, then we independently tested the material regularly to ensure food-safe specifications.

At $1.99 each with food-grade silicone gaskets, we are confident that we found the lowest prices in the world. This price was verified against one of the top sourcing agents in Canada who could not touch our prices.

But that’s not the best part. We’ve discovered in research that stainless steel is a better material for this application, but it is generally more expensive. So, after the initial phase was complete, we kept working to source it for less than brass. Eventually, we did — and so much more.

In time, the client switched to our new supplier, replacing their brass with a stainless steel thermowell for $1.35 each. Plus, the supplier has a much lower price on the thermometer that goes into this thermowell ($1.30, down from $2.55).

Ultimately, Part Distribution saved them about $55,000, and helped develop a higher-quality product.