The right engineering and machining company will embody these 4 attributes when doing business.
Complex parts are complex for a reason. The application and the criticality of the part that gives it its complexity demand manufacturing precision at the highest level. Without this level of precision, the application fails, more often than not. When you’re doing business to support companies in complex industries such as aerospace, military, small arms, automotive or others supporting sophisticated industrial applications, failure can have dire consequences.
When you’re dealing with this level of engineering complexity, considerations regarding which manufacturing company to partner with need to go well beyond typical purchase requests of “how much and when can I get them”.
So, How Do You Find a Company That Can Deliver This Level of Complexity and Do So Consistently?
An engineering and machining company that understands your needs and can also add value to a project isn’t always easy to identify at first glance. So, how do you find a company that embraces complexity and delivers exceptional value with every finished part?
A manufacturing partner who can accurately deliver high-level, complex components needs to demonstrate these four attributes before you put them to work.
- Technical Competency
- A Process-Driven Approach
- A Dedication to Customers
Here’s precisely what to look for in your first meeting with a potential new partner.
Most machining companies are run by a team of machinists trained to run machines. To handle the level of technical expertise necessary to produce components to the tolerance level required of aerospace machining, and complex commercial machining applications, you need an experienced engineering team.
Frank Roth, for example, is run by our team of mechanical and electrical engineers who know how to design products, solve difficult engineering problems and develop better ways to manufacture the highest quality parts. We’ve found that this high degree of technical competency is a huge driving factor in any company’s ability to deliver the level of quality that highly-specialized components require.
A Process-Driven Approach
It’s not enough to simply find a partner with engineers behind the wheel. The right partner should also have a well-defined approach to process control. Check to make sure the company you’re considering has an approach they can articulate to you in the initial meeting. The approach needs to include a few key elements.
- Engineering Prowess. The engineering team must be highly-skilled with a proven track record of success. Everyone involved should be able to demonstrate their understanding of the approach.
- A Defined Process Flow. Concurrent with engineering is the ability to define the best process flow for each part. Our manufacturing engineers look not only at the processes we currently run internally but also those that may be external to come up with the best solution to any challenge.
- A Control Plan. A control plan and a reliable, repeatable process are necessary to consistently produce high-quality components all the time.
Once a process is defined, specifying that process in detail along with removing any variability from that process is essential to achieving quality, consistent parts. Ask to see the potential partner’s control plans, process capability studies highlighting process variability and improvement areas, part process FMEAs, and other documented metrics that demonstrate that attention is being placed on reliability and consistency.
If there isn’t focus, there isn’t consistency and there isn’t going to be long-term reliability.
Working with any manufacturing partner to machine complex parts requires a high level of trust. You need to trust the process they’re putting in place, but also the team’s commitment to engineering and machining with meticulous attention to detail and excellence.
While you can’t truly know a potential partner’s commitment to this level of quality until you work with them, the biggest indicator of future quality is professionalism. Identify a machining company that demonstrates professionalism in everything they do, well beyond any individual machined part.
Take a tour of their machine shop. Ask to meet the team in charge of solving their most complex engineering challenges and then running the machines to create the solutions. Is the team professional? Is the shop organized and clean? Can you see evidence of the company’s priority on quality? Is the equipment state-of-the-art?
When it comes down to it, there are three factors that are critical to maintaining process stability and reliability. You need an organizational culture where team-members understand each process, a knowledge of part quality across the company, and a willingness of each member of the team to continuously strive for product perfection.
You’ll know you’re working with a professional operation when these factors are visible among employees and their culture.
A Dedication to Customers
Every company says they deliver ‘excellent customer service.’ Your job when considering a manufacturing partner is to ask for proof of this fact and ensure you’re going to hire a true partner who’s attentive to your business’ needs.
Ask for references, look at past work they’ve done, and judge their future dedication to your business with your interactions up to this point. Ask to meet the individuals who will be directly handling your parts. Get a full picture of who you’ll be working with and how those individuals do business ahead of time.
The Only Way to Know You Can Fully Trust Your Complex Components to an Engineering and Machining Company is by Getting Started.
The truest test of a partner is high-quality work delivered on time. When technical expertise, a detailed process, professionalism and customer service come together, you have a manufacturing partner worth doing business with. If you find a potential partner who embodies these traits, the next step is to get started.
At Frank Roth, we take pride in our commitment to each of these core principles and in our ability to deliver the highest quality machined components to the highest level of precision for companies requiring the tightest of tolerances. Contact us to learn what makes our company capable of machining complex precision parts. We look forward to working with you.