Are you looking for experienced and reliable CNC machining service?
Although manufacturing may not be the backbone of the American economy that it once was, the industrial sector remains a stronghold in many areas of the US.
As Joel Kotkin points out in his recent Forbes article “The Cities Leading A U.S. Manufacturing Revival”, he states “industrial employment has surged over the past five years, with the manufacturing sector adding some 855,000 new jobs, which is a 7.5% expansion over five years.”
In the current rush to globalize, many companies may have overlooked the built-in advantages offered by utilizing a US-based CNC manufacturer.
The allure of manufacturing cheap products in China is slowly evaporating.
As wages rise in China this in turn is inflating labor costs, making it a less competitive option for foreign buyers seeking cheaply manufactured goods.
Oil prices are as low as they have been in many years.
There is an energy boom going on right here on our home turf, in the form of fracking.
Low oil prices coupled with US based oil fracking has caused an influx of cheap energy prices which in turn are driving manufacturing costs down, especially for large scale manufacturers.
Keeping Things Close To Home
One of the main advantages to using a US-based CNC machine service is that you are much better positioned to respond to your customer demand while working in the US.
As soon as you work internationally it is very hard to make changes on the fly.
We all know that business changes quickly and clients can be very demanding.
In many cases it makes more sense to keep important parts of your supply chain close at hand.
Of course working with a US supplier can help you achieve this.
With that in mind here are a few tips and question you should be asking yourself when selecting the best manufacturing partner in the US for your businesses individual needs.
Research, Research, Research
To find the best CNC Machining Service you have to do a lot of research.
Shopping for a CNC machining service is much like any other big decision a company might make such as an acquisition, hiring or investments.
The first thing you need to do is make a long list of potential CNC manufacturing candidates and get price quotes from each.
Speak with potential manufacturers recent clients, there is really nothing better than a personal endorsement.
Ask potential manufacturers about their quality processes, check for warranties and always read the fine print.
Evaluate several prospective suppliers, scrutinizing their qualifications, prices, and customer service records, then scratch off a few that don’t make the cut.
Now you’ve got a ‘short’ list.
The whole time you are evaluating manufacturing companies, keep in mind your project goals, company goals and overall budget while asking yourself key questions like these:
Will you be having your product manufactured in the US or will you be outsourcing it out of the country?
Have you made yourself familiar with the risks, benefits and drawbacks of each?
If you are seeking a US supplier does your list of include national, regional or local machine shops?
Checking the qualifications and references of your potential manufacturing partners is is a critical part of doing your homework.
Is the company ISO certified?
ISO certification is what ensures a manufacturer can deliver quality products every time and keep in mind that there are various levels and degrees of ISO qualification.
What type of ISO certificate (if any) do you hold AND do you operate under any type of quality policy or quality management system?
These are the important questions that need to be asked because, in the end the answers will have an effect on the overall quality of your product.
Outsourcing Overseas: Not A Sure Thing
It could be just as cost effective to have your products manufactured in the US and avoid the overseas shipping charges, political tensions, and rising international labor rates that you may face when having your products manufactured abroad.
If you have already decided upon foreign manufacturing it is advised that you retain the services of a manufacturing liaison to help bridge any communication gaps.
I am sure you can imagine it will be very difficult to explain your quality requirements and standards to a product engineer who doesn’t speak the same language as you do.
Foreign Manufacturing What Could Go Wrong?
Here is a great post that illustrates what can go wrong when working with an overseas manufacturer and why you may consider CNC Machining Service.
Michael Mindes is a board game developer and had his first board game manufactured in China, and it. was. a. nightmare.
“Imagine this, you spend the 4 years prior to starting your publishing company talking to your wife about how you want to do it. You then spend about 8 months working hard to get the artwork, legal, manufacturing, and so forth done. You spend a large percentage of your savings. Now the moment arrives when you see your games for the first time (BGG.con 2009 no less) and the games are not properly collated and they were clearly boxed up wet.”
Want to find out how to avoid the manufacturing issues that Michael Mindes ran into?
3 More Tips for Choosing a CNC Machining Service in the USA
Here’s a couple more tips that will help you, no matter what CNC machine shop you end up working with.
Don’t show up to a product development meeting unprepared, or to put it another way, do your homework before meeting with any suppliers.
What does this mean?
- Make a business plan
- Know your business, product, and production goals
- Set a budget for the project
At this point, you should know the goals of your company inside and out.
Because you are so intimately familiar with your business plan, it will then be very easy to clearly explain the vision you have of your product to a product engineer, or product development team that is assisting you.
CNC Product Prototyping
At this point, creating a prototype or beta-model of your product is a good way to visualize what your final product will look like while still in the design phase.
Not only is product prototyping is a great way to visualize your CNC machined parts, but from a prototype you can accurately calculate the actual costs associated with mass-production such as energy used and time as well as materials costs.
A prototype is an integral part of the design process, and will help to assess the feasibility and costs associated with mass-producing your product.
Know Your Budget
Everything always comes down to money, doesn’t it?
Every project operates on a budget and budget control is critical, especially when it comes to CNC product parts manufacturing.
Your project budget will have a large impact on the overall quality of the your finished CNC parts.
With various metal types, design, and finishing options at a skilled machinists disposal, the look and feel of a CNC manufactured part can be quite varied.
Most CNC machining companies will offer precision metalwork using various metals such as gold, steel or aluminum, copper and other more exotic metals.
So in the end, it comes down to your projected budget and the end result you wish to achieve.
Tour the Facilities: Have a Meet and Greet
Before committing to contract with the supplier, it is to your advantage to stop by and take a tour of their facilities.
Remember your short list?
Make an appointment to meet each manufacturer and ask key questions.
It will help get a feel for who would best be able to serve your needs and produce the highest quality product within your budget.
CNC Machining Services: What types of services are offered?
Make no mistake, manufacturing in the USA is big business.
According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (2014), “Manufacturers contributed $2.09 trillion to the economy and this figure has steadily risen since 2009. The BEA goes on to state “the manufacturing sector accounts for 12% of the GDP of the USA.”
In short manufacturing is alive and well in the USA and a wide range of CNC machining service providers can be found here including:
- Precision Machining Services
- CNC Design and Engineering Services
- CNC Fabrication Services
- CNC Cutting Services
- CNC Turning Services
- CNC Milling Services
- CNC Manufacturing
- CNC Machined Parts
Finding a Capable CNC Machining Service
You may already have a prototype built to specifications, or you may need the services of a product engineer to pull it all together.
Regardless, if you can’t produce it yourself, you will have to work with a product manufacturer.
Selecting the right manufacturing partner can be a daunting process.
The quality that this supplier ultimately delivers will represent not only your product, but your entire business.
Choosing incorrectly when selecting a supply chain partner can be an expensive problem to fix down the road.
That’s why it’s desirable to ‘get it right’ the first time.
The best advice to follow is to build a solid relationship with your CNC Machining Service provider from day one and move forward from there.
Having your manufacturing partner and your business instep from the very beginning will ultimately strengthen your supply chain and make it just a little bit easier to sleep at night.