Tips For Choosing The Right Partner With Precision Machining
Critical to any business that needs properly constructed high tech equipment is finding the right supplier. It is important to have a clear understanding of your supplier’s capabilities and limitations. In addition, a collaborative mindset by both supplier and customer is important for optimized performance.
This article will examine general industry standards for precision machining and what to look for in a qualified custom machine builders (precision machining sub-contract manufacturers).
Understand your Precision Machining Supplier These are a few basic things to consider when evaluating a precision machining supplier:
- Understand supplier’s process and gauge capabilities.
- Who is the Leadership Team?
- How long has the company been in business?
- How many employees at the company?
- How many manufacturing shifts per day?
- Does the company have the proper quality certification designations?
Quality Systems a Robust Quality System is a Must
It is imperative that you identify a machining partner that has a rigorous quality system that matches or exceeds your requirements
Why ISO Certifications are Important
Hi-Tech Manufacturing, LLC has the following ISO certifications:
- ISO 13485
- ISO 9001
These certifications help to ensure that we follow specific quality system guidelines. For example, quality management by way of the ISO standard ensures that prints and specification changes are documented. In addition, we incorporate all customer requirements into our quality system to ensure we ship parts to specification. Much more goes into maintaining the ISO designations, and in today’s competitive and quality driven market place, ISO is a must. Here are a few items that ISO certification ensures:
- Quality Management System
- Management Responsibility
- Resource Management
- Product Realization
- Measurement Analysis and Improvement In addition to our ISO certifications we have ongoing continual improvement activities in all areas of our organization.
Understand the Quotation Process
How long does it take to get an accurate quotation on a component or assembly? Is there a system in place to track quoting times? At Hi-Tech we scoreboard everything. Our goal is to quote components in less than 48 hours. For more sophisticated components and assemblies with outside processes, we strive for less than a five day process. Your precision machining partner should understand your business flow to properly ensure on time delivery of quotations.
With material prices fluctuating, there is often a need to re-quote jobs so that the most accurate costing can be obtained. Your partner should have up to date tools and software to facilitate the transfer of information. Files such as .DXF and Solid Models (.STP & .IGS), for example, should be easily sent between partners. An FTP site and similar tools are important when transferring large amounts of data. It is also important that you work with your machining partner so that you understand and they understand what is included in the quotations. For example, whether there will be an additional charge if First Article Inspection Reports are required.
Here is a short list of items to discuss with your prospective precision machining suppliers:
- Supply and Materials Management
- Facility Audit
- Operations Planning & Execution
- Transportation & Logistics
- Service Level Expectations
- Quality Management
- Scorecards and Performance Measurement
- Six Sigma knowledge
- Capacity – your supplier must have the capacity to support your current and future growth
- Technology – suppliers should have the equipment and programming capabilities to meet your needs
Choosing the right precision machining partner is a critical decision that will reverberate over months and years of your products’ life cycles. Working with a sub-contract manufacturer provides several benefits. A few of the benefits are reduced capital expenses, reduction in manufacturing overhead and optimization of inventory levels. Also, and sometimes more importantly, a reliable precision machining supplier will free up time to focus on your core competencies, and ultimately a greater product at a lower cost.