Building high-quality, precision manufactured goods require a partner you can trust, who has the credentials and the level of expertise and experience to provide you with quality finished products or equipment.
How do you choose the best in a market full of supposedly good quality precision manufacturers? Moreover, how do you even evaluate whether a precision manufacturer will meet your needs or not?
Choosing the right partner is paramount, as that’ll potentially affect everything in your supply chain. Let’s look into how you can make the right decision when searching for a great precision manufacturing partner.
1. Tools Of The Trade
Precision manufacturing needs highly specialized tools and equipment. As technology and requirements keep changing, the equipment needs to be upgraded as well. A CNC expert would know the equipment best practices as well as when it needs to be upgraded.
Take into account the equipment the CNC team currently has and its level of upkeep. You’d want your partner to be an expert in CNC machines to get the best results. They should also be vetted for the machinery that they’re using.
An ISO 9001:2015 certification is a good proxy for quality and a commitment towards the latest CNC technology.
Non-machining experts could find the technical details a bit overwhelming, but the right precision manufacturing partner will bring in efficiency and quality with the use of their equipment and its good maintenance.
You should also be aware of what you need. A five-axis CNC machine cannot and must not be replaced by a three-axis one. Check out the machine roster on the company website to ensure they have what you need.
2. Skills and Expertise
A precision manufacturing partner that you choose should not only have the best machinery but also a highly experienced team to operate the equipment.
A good CNC team will need more than just theoretical knowledge and programming skills; they should be well versed in machine behaviour and have a deep understanding of its intended design.
There is no substitute for experience, and in-depth precision manufacturing experience is only built over the years. A highly experienced CNC manufacturing partner will provide high reliability, product commitment and have a reputation to uphold in terms of customer service.
They will also provide invaluable experience in terms of optimizing your component design, which can save money, from material to selection production.
This can’t be said enough but a CNC manufacturing partner must know their equipment, materials, the industry and your business. Do your research to make sure that they have an experienced team with the proper credentials.
The right team will offer design support and engineering suggestions on the production to reduce costs and potentially increase yields. It is necessary to understand the full capabilities of the machining team.
Some questions you want to answer are –
- Can the company work with the materials you have in mind?
- What techniques do they implement?
- What are the tolerances and outputs they can achieve?
You also need to know whether the company has experience in your industry (e.g., automotive, defence, medical, electronics, or optical)
The last thing you want to hear from a precision machining partner is about yield and quality issues. An experienced partner can do better capacity planning, and you will know your project is safe in the hands of skilled machinists.
3. Communication is Key
We’ve gone past the times where finding a precision manufacturing partner involved going through phonebooks, making calls, and meticulously collecting cost estimates.
In the internet age, communication has become speedier, and just a click away. Nonetheless, finding the right CNC expert can still be cumbersome. And one of the ways to separate good precision machine shops from the best ones is through communication.
The company should have clear contact information on their website with their location, phone number, and email address. A prompt reply to your email means that the company is well-staffed and prioritizes customer queries.
While communicating with external stakeholders (customers etc.) is essential, a good precision manufacturer will also have stellar systems of internal communication. A collaborative team with high energy and the right skills can make your project run on time and within your budget.
This means having reliable systems to track the project, collaborate, schedule, run and improve processes.
In an ever-changing environment where events in one part of the world can quickly have a ripple effect across your supply chain, you need to be sure that your precision manufacturing partner will have quick, transparent, and clear communication with you.
4. Scale and Additional Services
While having a precision machining partner that can do their core job very well is excellent, it’s not a bad thing if they have a more well-rounded repertoire of services. A precision manufacturer that offers additional services can take a lot of burden off your shoulders.
These additional services can be –
- Help with procuring raw materials
- Custom machining
- Testing & Inspection
- Clean room assembly
All these additional services can save you a lot of time in the long run.
Also, look out for the scale of operations and breadth of customers. An international customer base would mean that the company is very well equipped to manage global supply chains.
An international customer base also implies that the company has a machine shop that operates at scale and would be flexible towards your needs, no matter the complexity of your manufacturing job.
There’s a lot that goes into finding the right precision manufacturing partner. Be mindful that the partner you choose should adapt to your needs and bring in the right level of expertise.
If you’re looking for a precision manufacturing partner, look no further than Macfab! We’ve always delivered excellence to our customers owing to our experienced employees, engineering acumen, and diverse experience across industries.
Feel free to get in touch with us, and we’d be happy to help!