5 Ways to Cut Manufacturing Costs For Your Custom Machined Parts

M&M Automatic Custom Parts

When you outsource your custom parts to be manufactured, you’ll typically fall into one of two categories – those that ultimately save money on equipment, parts, and labor and get a better return on their investment or those that end up spending more than they should be, capping their profit. If you find yourself in the latter category and wanting to cut costs while still maintaining the integrity of your parts, these five manufacturing cost cutting techniques are for you.

Reduce Small Features

Adding small divots, cuts and holes are very difficult to mill, adding costs for time and labor. Eliminate any unnecessary elements to your parts in order to reduce the milling time that’s required and reduce your overall manufacturing costs.

Change Your Materials

Simply changing the material that you use to create your custom manufactured part can save you tremendously in the long run. For example, instead of using stainless steel, switch out your machining material with a durable plastic material.

Utilize Blanket Purchases

By agreeing to a blanket purchase (pre-arranged order of manufacturing and delivery on multiple dates over a period of time), most contract manufacturing companies will offer their services at a lower price and they’ll make sure that you’re a top priority when it comes time to manufacture your parts.

Limit Unneeded Depth & Holes

The more holes and the deeper those holes have to be drilled, the more time and money the parts require. Try limiting to only what you need to create the best and most cost-efficient part.

Outsource the Job

If you’re still manufacturing your parts internally, that may be consuming more of your time, energy and resources than it should be. From owning and servicing the manufacturing machines, to hiring certified machinists to operate the machines, the costs associated with running parts in-house may be more than you bargained for. When you outsource your parts to a qualified manufacturing company, you can save money on manufacturing the parts all together and be able to focus more on other areas of your business.

5 Top Signs of a Successful & Quality Contract Manufacturing Company

It’s important to know what to look for when researching contract manufacturing companies to handle your outsourced manufacturing needs in order to ensure that you’ll get the best possible quality and care. Here are 5 fundamental signs that a contract manufacturing company is worth your business’ time, money and resources.

Customer-Centric Approach

Every good contract manufacturing company is purposeful at placing the focus and importance on its customers.  This should be reflective in how they answer their phones or how they speak with people in person as well as on their websites and through testimonials and reviews from past customers. Every good company is focused on how they can better serve you as a customer.

First Class Machinists & Staff

Apart from the actual machinery, a high quality contract manufacturing company should be equipped with top notch contract machinists and staff. From the front desk and customer service team to the machinists running the parts, every part of the team should be trained, equipped and visibly on top of their game from the time you begin conversations with them through the process of running the parts.

Expert Educators

What truly sets one contract manufacturing company apart from another is the emphasis on education. A company that places a lot of importance, time and resources on educating their customers and prospective customers is more readily viewed as a reliable, thought-leader within the industry, For example, this type of company would be one that provides educational downloads, informative blog articles, and maybe even how-to videos, providing information beyond the norm to the public.

Approved & Certified

This element may be obvious to most, but it is the single most important aspect to ensuring your parts and project are handled properly from quote to delivery – Certifications. The ISO certification in particular ensures that your team as well as your project will be handled with honesty, integrity and precision. Any contract manufacturing company you work with should have the proper certifications and checks in place, which ensures your protection as a customer.

Positive Track Record

Past and current customer reviews and testimonials can tell you a lot about a company. If a company you’re researching for your contract manufacturing job has pages of negative reviews on websites like Yelp or Better Business Bureau, than you might want to think twice before digging deeper into “why” and signing a contract.

How to Choose the Best (Cost-Effective) Material for Custom Machined Parts

There are number of factors that you should consider when determining what the best material would be for your custom machined part or component. Whether you’re in the process of designing a new part or you just need to cut manufacturing costs of your machined part, here are five areas to consider when choosing the best (and most cost effective) material for your part.

Consider Manufacturing Time & Cost

If you’re trying to keep overall costs low, you’ll want to sincerely consider the type of material you use. High strength materials such as steel require higher grade milling and turning equipment. Also if you have a custom machine part that requires extreme precision, such as a pneumatic value for a medical machine, it will take more time to manufacture to ensure that each divot, turn, notch, etc. is precise.

Consider Your Use Environment

Whether you need a custom machined part to withhold in an outside environment or an inside environment, it’s important to know which materials are better suited for varying environments. For instance, if you need a part that would function outside, your custom part would best be crafted from stainless steel as opposed to carbon alloy to avoid rust and corroding.

Consider Performance Temperatures

Depending on the environment in which the part will be operating, there may only be certain materials that can withstand significant heat or cool temperatures without breaking down. Some materials will expand under even the smallest temperature changes, so it is important to know which materials are strong and stable enough to operate at different temperatures.

You’ll also want to consider any specifications required based on the environment your part will be used in, such as medical, military, or food production, to ensure that it meets those standards and requirements.

Consider Weight Requirements

The next thing you should consider when choosing the materials for your custom machined part is the weight of the material. Heavy steel or iron weigh more, so if your application is weight-sensitive, you may want to go with a material that is strong, but won’t tip the scales (i.e. polymers, certain alloys).

Consider Strength Requirements

Similar to how material weight influences what you choose to manufacture your part out of, the strength of your custom machined part can vary based on material as well. When choosing the right material for the job, you’ll want to take into consideration factors such as endurance strength (ability to absorb stress), wear resistance, hardness, and tensile strength (ability to pull something).

If you have specific questions on what would be the best materials to run your custom machined part with, ask us!

3 Common Manufacturing Outsourcing Mistakes to Avoid

M&M Automatic Materials Employee

Although outsourcing may seem like a business-only activity, people outsource every day. Technically, we outsource when we go to the dentist, because we could just deep-clean our teeth ourselves; we outsource when we send children to school, because we could just teach them from home. However, in these instances, outsourcing just makes more sense: you’ll save time in order to complete other activities, you’ll save money in the long run, and chances are you’ll get a better quality product. Similarly, outsourcing heavy machinery products could save your company time and money, while producing the best product possible.

One of the main reasons companies choose to outsource their products is to reduce certain costs such as high taxes and energy utilities. However, although outsourcing has many benefits, there is a thin line to walk when choosing to outsource your product – one mistake could cost you (and your company) thousands. In order to find success with your outsourcing project, watch out for these 5 common outsourcing mistakes.

1. Skipping Due Diligence

Similar to any business collaboration process, you want to get to know the company that you’ll be working with as best as possible. However, some people get blindsided by a cheap price and a quick turnover rate that they jump at the chance to work with a company without taking the time to sit down and finalize every detail, which could end up being detrimental to the final product.

When focusing on getting to know the basics of a company, it’s recommended that you concentrate on three main areas:

  • People: getting to know the culture of a company is one of the quickest ways to discover their values and goals. Try to become accustomed to the management team, because it will be a clear indicator of how a company runs its business.
  • Company: become accustomed to the fundamentals of the company – their business model, stability, and flexibility are all factors that will become important when doing business with them.
  • Technology: ask your future partners about the type of technology they use, including infrastructure, applications, and software, so that you’ll be more aware of the quality of products they’ll be able to create.

Outsourcing your product to a company is similar to investing in them – you’re trusting that they’ll do well enough to benefit you in the long run. So, before you commit to something that big, you should make sure you cover all of the basics with them before you begin.

2. Neglecting Constant Collaboration

Communication is key when outsourcing your product. A lot of people fall into the mindset that once you outsource your product, you don’t need to communicate with them until the product is complete – a huge mistake.

Think of all of the details that go into producing a heavy machinery part; there is a lot that could possibly be overlooked. In order to ensure that your product is being produced exactly the way you need it to be, it’s important to communicate with the outsourcing company as much as possible.

One way to do this is by setting up weekly, bi-weekly or monthly meetings with your outsourcing company to go over progress made, what still needs to be done, and if there are any obstacles standing in the way. By having clear communication about the progress of the product, there won’t be any unpleasant surprises that could end up costing your company.

If meetings won’t work out, another option is to request an electronic progress report of the product that goes over details such as the process being used, how far along the project is and estimated date of completion. Any form of communication that works between the two companies should be used in order to assure a quality product.

3. Selecting Wrong Manufacturing Company

Think of outsourcing a part like shopping for a new car. As mentioned before, people become blindsided when finding an outsourcer and can become blindsided by a good price. If people did this when shopping for a new car, they could miss out on important details like it has a bad accident record or an excessive amount of miles instead of getting a real, quality product.

People become so accustomed to the “quote-and-go” approach: as soon as they hear a number that is within their budget, they’re sold. By focusing in on details that are important to your company, you will end up with a better product and better return on investment in the future.

Before beginning your search for an outsourcer, come up with a list of criteria that would fit your “perfect manufacturing outsourcer”, including:

  • Short and long term goals
  • Budget
  • Timeframe

Don’t become blindsided by flashy deals or an unrealistic turn over rate. Creating a quality product will be worth the time that you put into finding the best outsourcer, and you’ll be happier with the results.

In Conclusion…

Finding an outsourcer can be tough, but if you avoid these common mistakes, you’ll be on the track to a better outsourcer and a better product.

5 Best Materials to Use for Heavy Machinery Equipment Parts

Three Machining Parts

With such a vast selection of materials to choose from, it’s important that you select one that is right for your heavy machining equipment part. Each material has a list of pros and cons that come along with them, ranging from price to strength and durability. So, how do you know which material is right for your part? Learn more about the most widely-used materials below.

1. Carbon Alloys

Carbon alloys are beneficial to use when creating machinery parts due to its corrosion resistance and extreme temperature stability. The carbon content in our alloys is below 5% by weight, meaning the steel can achieve a greater weldability and formability but still maintain the strength of steel. Carbon alloys are commonly used for parts that require corrosion resistance, strength and wear resistant properties.

2. Aluminum

On the other hand, aluminum can be used for parts that don’t require much strength. Due to the lack of density in aluminum, the energy output for machining is fairly low compared to machining other materials. If your machine has weight restrictions, using aluminum parts may prove to be beneficial due to its low density and light weight. Aluminum also has excellent corrosion resistance, and is easy to work with heavy machinery due to its thermal and electrical conductivity. Because of its lightweight and general availability, aluminum is fairly inexpensive compared to other metals.

3. Brass

Along with having great strength and being resistant to corrosion, brass is often used for heavy machinery that is visible to others due to its favorable appearance and color. Brass is also very resistant to rust, making it a favorable material for machines that will be operating near water or in high humidity atmospheres. Brass is known as being extremely malleable, so it can be easily transformed into any part that you may need. Although regularly more expensive than other materials, it may be easier to work with depending on the part you need for your heavy machining product.

4. Stainless Steel

One of the most widely used metals for machining purposes today is stainless steel. Although it’s very popular, it may be hard to machine due to its intense strength and hardness. However, because of its hardness, it is a great material for heavy machinery that will be used outdoors, as it has a low corrosive property as well. Stainless steel also has a high resistance to heat, allowing it to retain strength at high temperatures.

5. Plastics

Plastic can be used for a variety of different purposes, including creating parts for heavy machinery. Although plastic isn’t very heat resistant due to its low melting temperature, its light weight and high versatility makes it an easy-to-use material for majority of machine parts. Because plastic is generally lower is strength, it would be beneficial to use it for a machine that requires light weight material.