Prime Advantage has invited industry experts to share insights on achieving manufacturing and business success. In this post, Allison Wilkinson discusses the top strategies for ordering customized parts.
When it comes to ordering custom parts in bulk, the devil is in the details. In order to get through every step of the process with minimal hassle, you've got to have every detail of your order fully fleshed out in advance.
Here are some tried and true tips to get you through the process:
Measure Twice, Cut Once
Avoid wasting valuable time, money and material by being crystal clear on all of the measurements of your parts before you submit a request for a quote or a purchase order. Measure two, three, four or five times; whatever it takes to ensure precise and consistent measurements so that your part specifications are as exact as possible.
When measuring your parts, it's better to measure to the most precise increment, like 1/1,000 of an inch, rather than rounding to a bigger increment like ¼ of an inch. Depending on the application that your part will be used for, these minuscule measuring increments can be the difference between the part fitting and working correctly or not.
Hire a Draftsman to Draw Your Parts
Hiring a draftsman as a consultant may require a small investment up front, but detailed drawings of your parts are well worth the money. You'll end up with a set of drawings that lay out the exact specifications of your custom parts, which you can provide the manufacturer to ensure that nothing about your order is lost in translation.
These drawings will typically be done digitally, in an industry-standard program like AutoCAD. The digital file extension for AutoCAD is .DWG and, depending on what type of machinery will be used to make your part, a .DWG file may even be required to properly program the machine to create your parts.
Every dimension of your custom part will be clearly depicted, as well as the specifications for the type of material, tolerances, and the required quantity. If any specification codes are listed on the drawing, there should also be a key that includes descriptions of each code.
You'll also want to include some additional information when you send out the drawings. All of your cleaning and packaging expectations should be spelled out clearly to ensure that the finished product is delivered to your liking. Include your desired timeline as well. Detail any specific dates you need to approve any samples, inspection reports and when you need to receive the final delivery.
Get Multiple Quotes
Avoid relying on a single manufacturer for all of your custom part needs. Depending on the variety of custom parts that your company orders, if may be more cost-effective and time-efficient to work with multiple specialty manufacturers instead of just one manufacturer who makes a wide range of products.
Always get quotes from two or three different manufacturers to ensure you can get the best price and a turnaround time that best fits your schedule. Be sure to specify a target date for your quote, especially if you need a quick turnaround.
Request quotes in multiple quantities, regardless of the exact quantity that you need at the moment. For instance, you may only need 100 parts now, but if you know you'll need an additional 1,000 parts within the next six months, it may be much more cost-efficient to order them all at once.
Once you get the quote, make sure that it includes a breakdown of all non-recurring engineering costs, such as tooling and programming. These costs can dramatically change the per item cost of your parts from your first run through subsequent orders.