10 Tips To Pick The Right CNC Shop for All Your Machining and Manufacturing Processes
There’s no overstating the importance of selecting the best manufacturer and supplier for all kinds of businesses. For retailers, having the right supplier can mean sizeable profit margin, liquidity, credit period, and more. Getting it wrong can equally result in bad sales, high costs, and low profit. For CEOs, Product Designers, and Businesses, the risks and rewards are even higher – Brand popularity, customer loyalty, market share, franchises, and profit could be gained or lost depending on the quality of the product, its durability, finish, market price and landing cost. In order to gain a competitive edge from the start, having a reliable manufacturer is one of the most important factors to secure.
When picking a manufacturing outlet, price is often at the top of the considerations. And while pricing is one of the factors to be considered, it is not the right place to start. Today, businesses need to pick the right CNC shop and look beyond pricing to avoid costlier mistakes down the line. In order to decide what machining option to work with, we have put together a few considerations to help you make the right choice.
1. Look for Long-term value
When looking for the best CNC machining shop in China, the best place to begin is to seek value. Having a firm understanding of each manufacturer’s value proposition and how it keys into your project is important. Is the machining shop purely motivated by money, is their standout characteristic quality? Once you’ve gotten your answer, the next step is to evaluate these values and see if they align with what your business need. It goes without saying that the value you get from a highly refined CNC shop far surpasses the money paid for such services.
It is important to remember that the value you get from your manufacturer has a long-term effect on the type of product you manufacture. More often than not, cheap prices will consequently produce cheap jobs. Having perfect orders that will proudly carry your brand is a better investment than cheap products that can damage the reputation of your business with potential customers.
2. Lead and Turnaround times
Even global consumer brands like Microsoft, Sony, Apple, Google, and Samsung all acknowledge the importance of early market entry and pioneering technology. Lead times are very crucial in manufacturing as it can and often is the difference between the market success of one product over the other. As the manufacturing clime gets more competitive, there is no downplaying the advantage that being first in the market brings. Year after year, the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy and Note smartphones all battle it out, setting ambitious release dates to outdo one another. Even the recently announced Sony PlayStation 5 is to be fiercely rivaled by the Microsoft Xbox One x The Series, as both consoles are set to hit the market in November.
The right machining shop for you is one that can keep up with your deadlines well before the due date and give you an opportunity to test the market and enter before all your competition. Depending on the complexity of your project, inquire about the turnaround period from multiple machining shops and consider how long they quote to deliver as a factor in your selection.
3. Consider logistics
Logistics is the backbone of every supply chain. Consider factors like nearness to market, availability of raw materials in the supplier area, the road networks, the ease of transportation, the presence of an online manufacturing-as-a-service platform, shipping and delivery before choosing your CNC machining shop.
The ideal machining shop should be very precise with its logistics, having a strong network of suppliers that can meet up your project raw material demands. You should also consider businesses in established or industrial areas to prevent damage to your finished products due to poor road networks. The nearness of your machinist to market can also help you avoid transportation costs that will be passed onto the price per unit produced.
The most important part of logistics is the ease of delivery; as the internet continues to boom, many businesses are concluded without the need for physical presence. Ensure that the machinist shop you choose can handle raw material supply, guarantee safe shipping at affordable delivery costs.
4. Production order flexibility
Because of the high costs of running, operation and maintenance, most CNC shops will have a minimum order quantity (MOQ). This quantity is the lowest quantity the shop is willing to quote prices and run production.
The right machining shop has no fixed MOQ as this number should vary depending on the material, volume, price per part, and delivery times. When picking a CNC manufacturer for your business, ensure that they have offerings around low-volume manufacturing, prototyping, and bridge productions.
5. Equipment and Capacity
Your ideal CNC machining shop should have a reasonable in-house capacity and be equipped with the best-in-line technologies for optimal production.
Before proceeding with a manufacturer, inquire about what volumes and units they can produce in a single run, the material options available, the labor strength, the skill and experience of the engineers, the type of CNC machines available, and turnaround times.
Machining shops with a limited capacity will often mean a long job queue, leaving your business to wait before your orders can be fulfilled. Poor in-house capabilities may also mean these small machining shops need to outsource for your job. IF this is the case, there is a likelihood of passing cost unto you. There is also a risk that your innovation may be exposed outside their facility, putting competitors on alert.
6. Customer service matters
Poor customer service is a no-no for every business. Considering the complexities of manufacturing, one can anticipate some back and forth in communicating design, challenges encountered, the need for modifications, and even logistics.
Consider the availability of a dedicated customer service desk that can help you communicate your requirements clearly, keep you up to date on the production, and clearly articulate your complaints to the production team. Customer service is especially important when your manufacturer is some distance from you and walk-ins are not exactly seamless.
7. Quality Control Process
Many people see quality control as a process executed by the end of production. This could be no further from the truth. Quality control and assurance are process continuums that span across the full production process. For a high-quality machining shop, quality control begins from design. Right from the model, expert machinists will be able to point out potential defects and problems with the design that could affect the functionality of the final product.
Once the design has been settled, the material selection process is next. As is popular in computing, garbage-in equals garbage-out; your part supplier must understand how crucial selecting the best material and articulating the material for the final product properties is to product success. When looking to pick the best CNC machining shop in China, ensure that you check their quality control process documentation. The ideal shop must be able to provide you with inspection certificates, testing results, and even material certification. You also want to work with a supplier that has the right set of ISO certifications.
8. Check online reviews
Not all businesses have a strong online presence. If you however find the company’s website, lookout for online reviews to see what customers are saying about them. You can also conduct a quick google search to see praises, critiques, and areas of strength from independent parties that have ran a project with your supplier in the past.
Your ideal machining shop need not have 5-star reviews, but they should not have anything lower than 4 stars. Also, read the reviews to see where the shop is lacking and how it affects the overall delivery of your project.
9. Finishing Services
Look out for CNC machining shops that offer a full range of finishing services to help save time and cost. If your product is very specific on visual appeal, aesthetic, finish and surface texture, you want a supplier that can do all the required finishing in-house. Not only will this help you maintain the same quality from start to finish, but it can also help you save significant costs of transportation and logistics that may arise from moving your parts from one shop to another for finishing.
Last on our list is the price. Although pricing is very important, it should not be the driving factor as it too often is. Before concluding on the machining shop for your CNC machining in China, consider lead times, quality, capacity, and long-term value. Once this supplier ticks the right boxes, request for a quote and put it against other quotes. While the pricing affects the overall landing cost and price per unit of a product, remember that there are other qualitative factors that matter.