It's critical to get your components finished and delivered on time. But quality should not be compromised for the sake of a timely delivery. That's just daft, if a part is not right first time, there's a heap of hidden costs to be overcome.
The right supplier must have the capacity and capability to deliver (on time) but also the experience and expertise to complete the job to the required standard. Add a poor programmer into the mix and...
The result will be an unsatisfactory component or deadline missed through delays. Choose the wrong supplier and this scenario, or similar, will be repeated, time after time... So the easiest way to improve supplier delivery performance is to choose the right one.
It's not a cop-out, honest. This post suggests 7 attributes to look for to help you get that choice right and improve supplier delivery performance.
1. Quality Control Checks
A full time Quality Manager to ensure sufficient quality control throughout a project is a deal-breaker. Without planned quality inspections during manufacture, the finished parts are unlikely to be of the requisite standard.
Careful quality control planning means errors are picked up as early as possible and alterations can be made - keeping waste to a minimum and your delivery on track.
2. The Right Mix Of Machine And Software
While older 3 axis machines can handle most of the work a 5 axis machine does, more operations are needed. Complicated machining of a curved surface is a different story, use older machines and finish quality will suffer.
In contrast, cutting-edge machines require high-end software to push them to the limits AND to take advantage of the latest tool advances. Your supplier needs to invest in software and machinery and have the skill to use both!
With all of this in place, the project runs more smoothly and delivery times can be met.
3. Decades Of Experience To Handle Materials & Design Tweaks
Never is the phrase experience can't be bought more apt than in precision engineering. And experience using specific materials is invaluable. Here are three examples:
- Machining aluminium at excessive speeds can cause excessive adhesion of chips to the tool. The subsequent built-up edge dulls the tool so it struggles to cut through the billet.
- Selecting a tool made from the wrong material can accentuate this build up - meaning your parts will need reworking and delays will be inevitable.
- Using poor quality aluminium could result in pitting or inclusions during the anodising process and there's always a greater risk of back-end defects.
Defects in your components take time to rework so experienced engineers who don't make schoolboy mistakes are worth their weight in gold.
It's not just the components, sometimes even the best design engineer can make mistakes. As an experienced, extra set of eyes, we can spot any issues in your CAD model before they become an expensive problem.
By tweaking the design a little, costs can be minimised, by eliminating any difficult to manufacture design features. Of course, any tweaks will be discussed with you upfront and will maintain function and aesthetics.
The upshot is:
- efficient manufacturing and programming
- a quicker turnaround
- money and time saved!
4. One Stop Shop
Logistical issues cause delays... Luckily, a one stop shop circumnavigates most of these.
When a number of suppliers are used, delays early in the process mean further delays down the line. Whether they're caused by the partner company or logistics, your deadline is under threat.
Furthermore, the scope for inaccuracies is higher as the number of workshops involved increases. These issues are difficult to pinpoint when a component has been through many hands. And don't expect any of these to be held up when things go wrong...
Instead, keeping all CNC services in a single workshop the risk of mistakes and delays is minimised!
In short, a one stop shop takes the hassle away and saves time.
5. Sufficient Capacity
Do your homework!
You need to check the capacity of a workshop before requesting quotes... And, if the company doesn't display a capacity list on their website - they aren't for you! (See point 7).
If your supplier is outsourcing because they can't manage your deadlines, your components are unlikely to be delivered on time.
While outsourcing isn't necessarily a bad thing, it can be a sign that your requirements are becoming too much and it's time to think about changing.
6. An Easy Audit Process
Hold on, the audit happens way before I get my parts delivered, it can't speed up delivery, can it?
Yes it can, especially on tight deadlines.
Delays here can have a knock on effect and can also be a sign of things to come. This should be an easy process, so if they make it hard for you then it's time to hit that eject button!
As an example of making things easy, here's our audit page - designed to help you get what you need, fast!
7. All The Information You Need, Freely Available On Their Website
Finally, if they don't make it easy for you, go somewhere else. Okay, so not every website will have an audit page but you should be able to easily access their capacity list and ISO certificate!
The quicker you can find out whether the company is right for your needs, the quicker you can get your components made. You really shouldn't have to jump through hoops...
If timeline is critical to your project (when isn't it?), take notice of the points in this post when considering a new supplier. It will save you a whole heap of bother in the long run.
Correctly Engineered Components & Delivery On Time
For a quick and easy look at how we could change your precision engineering experience for the better, download our free Case Study. Read how we overcame issues with the materials, complex engineering requirements... and still made the deadline. You'll love it!