Ordering custom machined parts with a new machine shop supplier

In continuing the last post on finding a new precision machine shop for custom machined parts, I am going to go over a bit of what to expect with the first order or two.

Communication is still the key to the process.  At CNC Industries, we have often been told that our communication is a large part of the reason that we are among their favored suppliers.  Precision Machining is a relatively tricky process still today.  The information overload that comes with each part drawing can often lead to overlooked features or specifications.  Aerospace components often contain numerous mil-specs, large amounts of technical call-outs, and even purchase order specifications.  Even parts that are less complex than aerospace components may have critical details that are easy to overlook.  Part Revisioning can cause increased complexity and another chance to overlook some crucial piece of information.  If you have not checked yet, it is important to check into your supplier’s information management system.

It is important for the machine shop that you are starting out with to ask any clarifying questions necessary to get the complete picture of the machined part that they are producing.  Ideally all questions from the machine shop should have come out during the RFQ process.  However, it is not uncommon for the engineering team to take a deeper look at the part as they prepare the production router and fixture.  In the RFQ process of a new customer that we acquired we were able to ascertain that they had mislabeled a set of drawings that they had sent out for us to quote.  Through our examination of the part we noticed that some of the details seemed to be wrong for the stated use of the part.  We consider our discovery of this error on their drawing to be a large part of the reason that we received the initial purchase order.

Another important aspect of the first job is to carefully select what part or parts you will be sending to the new supplier.  It has worked best at CNC Industries to have a new customer order a variety of potential parts in the initial order.  It is good to have a scope of potential work complexities.  If you are to start doing work with a new precision machine shop and only send small simple work to them, you may find that they are not capable of handling the complex machined parts that you want to order down the road.  Likewise if you are sending only complex parts and you want to have a single source to deal with for machined parts, you may find that the machine shop is not price competitive on  simpler parts.  One way to deal with both of these issues is to give at least a relative expectation of cost to your new supplier, ie: ‘for our simple parts we typically pay half of what we pay for the complex parts’.  As you can see from our parts profile page, CNC Industries works with a large variety of complexities and quantities on a daily basis.

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CNC Industries is a Fort Wayne, Indiana based machine shop specializing in precision CNC machining, fabrication and assembly of application-critical and custom machined parts for the Aerospace, Defense, Medical, Industrial and Transportation  markets.   The company presently employs approximately 55 people.

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