With so many factors causing prices to skyrocket, many OEMs and contractors are looking for ways to cut costs with their products. Several potential cost-saving evaluations should be performed before your project even gets to a fabricator: your ordering practices, your product design, and which fabricator you chose. The decisions that you make concerning these factors can enable your fabricator to make the best and most cost-efficient parts for you.
Consider Larger Quantities
Ordering in larger quantities can reduce your per-part cost. There are a number of factors on the manufacturer’s end that can cause this. Producing large quantities allows a manufacturer to buy the necessary materials at a lower cost-per-unit, which allows them to then pass those savings on to you. In addition to this, larger order quantities mean fewer deliveries, which cuts down on freight costs that have also been on the rise. If you have the space to take the extra product and are in a financial position to do it, this can be an effective way to get more parts at a lower price.
Simplify or Change Your Design
The more operations that go into your part, the more expensive it is going to be. Some operations are going to be more time-consuming and expensive than others—welding, for instance. Do you have welded components in your design when the entire part could be formed from a one-piece blank? Forming is a much quicker process than welding. If you can’t eliminate welding, consider laser-welding, a faster and more efficient welding process with little to no post-welding clean-up.
Look at your tolerances—can any be opened up? Tighter tolerances mean more exact work, which takes more time. They also mean that a quality department will likely spend more time ensuring those tight tolerances are met, which again will add cost.
One other consideration is how your part fits on a sheet of material. Most materials have a standard width of 48 or 60 inches. Manufacturers can get custom sizes, but there are additional costs involved with ordering them. Make sure that your parts fit well on standard sized sheets.
Along with the fit on the material, the raw material itself has a great impact on its price. Raw materials are currently very expensive, some more so than others. Determine if you are able to use a less expensive material or if you can use a thinner gauge material that will cost less.
Choose the Right Fabricator
The fabricator you choose will obviously play a big role in the cost of your parts. Look at the fabricator’s capabilities when you are considering your design. Do they have the right equipment for your parts? Do they have up-to-date and state-of-the-art technology? The fabricator’s equipment and capabilities must be able to handle the complexity or size of your project. Beyond looking at an equipment list, you should be looking to see what value-added services they have that may save you time and money. Do they use design-for-manufacturability-and-assembly (DFMA) principles? Do they offer design review and provide advice on materials, design simplification, etc.? Are there other time-saving processes or equipment they use that would apply to your project? In addition to this, choose a fabricator that focuses on fabricating superior quality components and products. A fabricator that strives for quality in everything they do will ultimately save you time and money. Carefully consider all of these factors and make sure the fabricator is the best fit for your project needs.
Partner with Estes
If you don’t have the capabilities to change your ordering practices, the know-how to simplify your design, or a fabricating partner, Estes can help. Estes Design and Manufacturing has years of experience with Kanban and JIT (just-in-time) inventory systems. With the experience, tools, and space to accommodate your inventory management needs, you can be assured you are partnered with a supplier that can meet your delivery needs. However, if ordering large quantities just isn’t feasible for you, our Estes Accelerator department is a dedicated product development and prototype department that specializes in small-quantity runs with quick turnaround.
If you don’t have the capabilities to review your part’s design, we have a design department that can assist you, customizing it to work on our highest efficiency machinery. Using a process known as value engineering, Estes’ team can evaluate your part and look for ways to reduce manufacturing costs and simplify assembly.
With our line of Salvagnini equipment, including an S4 punching center and numerous CNC panel benders, Estes has the necessary state-of-the-art equipment to make your part cost-efficient. For those parts where you cannot eliminate any welding through a redesign, laser welding is a fast, efficient, and precise alternative to traditional welding techniques and suitable for use in a wide range of welding projects.