Buying metals online isn’t as common for machine shops, welders, fabricators, and other professional metalworking shops as you might expect. Completing a professional metal working job means meeting engineering specifications, and a lot of metal workers want to see that the materials they’re purchasing are fit for purpose before they give away their hard-earned money. These shops also need to meet deadlines, and they may not have the time to wait for a delivery of metal to arrive. They certainly can’t afford to wait longer if the fulfillment of their order is delayed, or if the order that is shipped to them is incomplete or wrong.
This has meant that buying metal online has been reserved for two separate types of orders at opposite ends of the spectrum of needs. The first is for inexpensive common materials that are ordered routinely. These don’t cause too much of a problem for production or a budget if there is a problem with the order. Local suppliers can step in if the order is delayed, falls short, or is incorrect in order to keep production going. Since the materials are common and inexpensive there is generally still enough money in the budget to pay for alternatively sourced metals if an order has gone awry. The other type of buying metal online is completely different because it usually takes place at the last minute, the materials are unavailable from any other source, and the online purchase is a last ditch effort to avoid production delays or budget overruns.
This second type of metal ordering happens because of: