Producing custom machined metal & plastic parts with consistently high quality, quick turnaround, and competitive pricing requires a full team of experts. In some cases, a large OEM could buy lots of specialty equipment and allocate a large amount of resources to create and payroll this kind of team, but even then, the work can prove problematic and inefficient when handled in-house. Why? Because depending on the parts and specified requirements, the process can often be far more complex and involved than expected. Production and quality issues such as certified special processes, QC, part shrinkage or bending, color or hardness inconsistency, and tool issues may impact the bottom line.
The decision to “streamline” by manufacturing in-house, or “vertically Integrate” to control quality, save time and money, and consolidate operations, can quickly become a significant investment of time, labor, and money if not done correctly. It’s critical to know the advantages and possible ROIs that exist when making the decision between “do-it-ourselves” or to outsource machining of metal & plastic parts. There are many reasons to outsource your machining to contract machine shops. Let’s start with the big 4:
- Cost & Space Savings
- Improved Quality
- Streamlined Inventory
- Access to Expert Help & Molder’s Network
Cost & Space Savings:
Most machining projects come with a long list of specific requirements and related operational challenges. Many times, machined parts appear simple & inexpensive to manufacture. In reality they may require a significant investment in infrastructure and special processes to get the job done right.
Standard machining processes require:
- Design, engineering and tooling personnel
- Operators and equipment specialists to manage production
- Maintenance routines and personnel for maintaining machining equipment & tools
- Production-support, Quality Assurance, QC Inspection & assembly personnel
- Dedicated commercial space for equipment, raw material, WIP and finished good storage
By trusting your custom parts to outsourcing partners, your team can take full advantage of the listed resources, without the additional in-house overhead, labor costs, and risks. Contract machine shops have already made the necessary equipment, maintenance, and personnel investments, and provide access to these tools and services to you as their customer at much lower costs than you could attain on your own when you have a limited pool of projects. Contract machinist can usually handle a much higher workload than simple in-house machining and fabrication operations. Because of the sheer volume of their production relative to in-house molders, and the volume of raw materials required to machine for so many customer projects, contract machinist achieve better economies of scale. Their ability to buy more raw material and purchased items, and leverage better raw material availability and costs, can translate into big cost savings to the machinist’s customers. They have already identified and vetted the best vendors in the industry and have negotiated the best raw material pricing.
Quality is an ever-present concern for manufacturers. While the decision to handle production of your parts in-house would seem to afford greater control of quality, in many cases, the control comes at a cost that is only appreciated in hind-sight. The greater control is gained by having greater visibility of the quality headaches and obstacles associated with making your part. Contract manufacturers are experienced at resolving the quality issues and absorb the costs of rework, and poor quality on their books and within their processes. When they ship items to your door, you can be assured, (if the contract vendor is the right long-term partner for you) that the parts are certifiably to your specifications and quality requirements. How do they do this? Contract vendors provide a dedicated administrative staff, experienced project designers and toolmakers, along with quality management for final inspections. This ensures top-of-the-line quality at a premium value — every step of the way. While you could do this in-house, the real magic of outsourcing your metal & plastic parts is that you simply get to place an order and receive it in knowing you will have high quality parts at a fixed cost per part or tool. Fixed cost? You pay a per part or tool cost when outsourcing. When you do your own in-house machining, you pay all the costs and absorb any lost time, equipment maintenance, waste, rework and troubleshooting time related to quality.
Your contract machine shop partner should run every part or tool through a comprehensive, multi-step quality inspection process. Since maintaining consistent quality is critical to every project, full-service contract manufacturing facilities include dedicated state-of-the-art inspection tools. Contract machinists access to metrology labs and tools allow for the testing of tension, hardness, compression, dimensions, weight, color, and so much more. Even the shipping processes have quality control checks, as components are sorted, weighed, and sealed with custom stacking and packing procedures to ensure maximum protection and freight efficiency.
Optimal production capacity and scalable inventory resources also allow contract manufacturers to expedite new products efficiently. Having the right part quantities available at the right time can be a challenge for inventory and purchasing managers. Contract manufacturers can greatly simplify the process. For example, Jetool offers to keep a safety stock for every customer to ensure parts are available during unusual situations, and during known seasonality swings where predicting sales & shipping on the product is difficult. By monitoring the quantities on hand in real-time, Jetool can help you manage your stocks and estimate future needs based on current and historical ordering patterns. Many contract machine shops utilize an ERP or an material requirement planning (MRP) system to monitor jobs from start to finish. From the moment a job is initiated until final delivery, this tool tracks every element of scheduling: cycle times, resin properties, part demand, and even downstream impacts. This technology supports your demand-driven planning capabilities with precision and efficiency, allowing for just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing & fulfillment. Did you know there is a cost to warehousing your parts? How nice would it be to know you could order parts as needed from a trusted vendor and not worry about warehousing costs and about what happens to parts that sit idly on a shelf, and the waste that can occur due to product obsolescence. Rather than having a size-able overstock due to carrying large inventories, smaller order quantities can ensure a smaller amount of unneeded parts and assemblies go to scrap after a program is cancelled or changed.
Access to Expert Help & Machinist’s Network:
This is perhaps one of the greatest yet, most underestimated advantages of outsourcing your part to tool production. Contract manufacturers are experts of their craft. Contract machining partners such as Jetool have specialized in machining and have worked with customers in nearly every type of industry to create top-of-the-line custom metal and plastic parts. Having a broad expertise in diverse part applications while having a very deep and niche expertise in precision machining, allows a machine shop to offer quality parts at the lowest possible costs. Even more, it allows the customer the chance to gain critical advice and support when contemplating or designing new products, changing part specifications or when attempting new things. The ability to access expert advice in metal, plastics, and composites, and to work collaboratively with the machinist’s team of experts can make or break your project.
Call or email Jetool to learn more about these and other advantages of outsourcing your tool and part production. firstname.lastname@example.org – 989-845-3880