Posted in Company Update, News on 2015-07-24
When considering a machine shop to manufacture your components, price isn’t by far the only thing when it comes to properly fullfilling your needs.
There are machine shops and there are machine shops. You have a part you need manufactured so where do you go? Sure, you are looking for a shop that can offer you a competitive price but it’s critical to not overlook the importance of quality, delivery and most importantly overall cost. Indeed, a seemingly low price per part could even mean that potential issues with quality and delvery will end up costing you more.
Therefore, before making any decisions, you have to look at a machining business as a whole – that means its financial stability, it’s manufacturing and quality system, machining technology, skills and experience and, ultimately, what it can really do for you in going above and beyond in meeting your requirement.
First and foremost it’s important to put your trust in a business that represents little risk in terms of financial stability. The sound financial judgement that make a business stable is generally representative of good business and operational decisions all round. Shops that price low to win work can potentially compromise the customer and tend to think short-term. Those that price work realistically based on their skills and experience, and aren’t occasionally afraid to turn down work in the best interest of the prospective customer, demonstrate business integrity and strong potential for longer-term partnerships.
With regard to a machine shop’s manufacturing and quality system, this is essentially the end-to-end process of taking a customer requirement and raw material and turning it into something that will make the customer money. This includes everything from sourcing, engineering, programming, machining, inspection and shipping. Everything has to work seamlessly and provide value at every stage. Having proper, robust processes in place means the manufacturing of parts is both optimized and quality assured. Subsequently, the benefits flow through to the end-customer. Machine shops that are prepared to show you their operation, work with you on engineering and manufacturing methodology, and that have a well defined quality policy and objectives represent a solid prospective partner for your manufacturing needs.
The cornerstone of every machine shop, of course, is its machining technology. However, this can vary considerably from older, poorly maintained machines that lack the up-to-date features required to achieve high quality and cost-effective production, through to regularly maintained advanced manufacturing technology that can provide fast turnaround and high precision. It may be true that such technology comes at a cost and you would expect this alone to price more sophisticated shops out of the running but the reality is that such machine tools ultimately offer greater efficiency – not to mention reliability.
Also at the heart of any business is its people and nowhere more than in a machine shop are skills and experience directly responsible in representing value for the customer. Particularly in precision machining, only fully skilled, qualified and experienced machinists are able to provide the engineering expertise and level of quality required. In short, highly complex, close toleranced parts in exotic materials are seldom the forte of semi-skilled machinists or operators. So, if you are looking for precision machining of high value parts or input into the most effective and efficient production processes you need to ask a few questions about the skill level and experience on offer.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, is attitude. Attitude toward you and your requirement as the customer is vital in terms of attention to detail and properly understanding your needs. It also counts toward effective communication, which, in turn, is often the foundation of a good working relationship. Attitude of all employees within the business is equally important and the mainstay of a solid internal culture. A group of skilled-experienced, like-minded individuals who are focused on the customer and understand the business are like gold dust in terms of success. This is usually demonstrated as a (slightly clichéd but very descriptive) ‘can do’ attitude often reinforced by the business having all the previously mention attributes, including the right technology, effective processes and great people to work with.
In conclusion, pretty much any machine shop can offer you a ‘price’ – not all, however, can fully meet your needs and provide long-term business partnerships that will ensure your ongoing success.