Indifference is expensive, but trust is priceless…….
Focusing on how metal fabrication companies provide tenders or pricing estimates to their current or potentially new customer requirements…
The number one rule that should be followed by any valued metal fabrication partner is that they provide thorough assessment of the technical design requirements in any drawings presented. The most cost-effective manufacturing methodology must be identified, offering value added engineering advice to meet the customers requirement. Many companies use varying estimation software or packages but tendering for new work cannot just be a generic exercise to complete the task.
In very large fabrication companies, there will most likely be a dedicated estimator or a team of salespersons. However, a potential partner whose processes dictate that responsibility is shared amongst the Directors, Management, and Senior Engineers within the company, would always ensure that the correct personnel review the technical design requirements of the enquiry thoroughly, before submitting any quotation for consideration.
Initial and detailed conversations between both parties should always be encouraged, to ensure the designs presented are fully understood. Challenging alternative thinking to achieve value engineering for the prospective customer should rarely be discouraged. Of course, customers sometimes just want an easier life without this type of tender approach, but an alternative opinion would be that this is simply not best practice, and in the long run nobody truly wins.
Some customers will present enquiries knowing exactly what they want to achieve and will have a design that cannot be altered to suit alternative manufacturing methodologies. But with others, this is not always the case and a value adding fabrication manufacturer can add real value. Designers or project managers generally know what they want to achieve but that does not mean that their design is the most efficient, cost-effective, or suitable way to approach their requirement. A metal fabrication partner that “challenges the norm”, offering alternate manufacturing or design solutions in achieving cost-down production, will always be a more attractive proposition. This approach helps gain invaluable trust resulting in both parties agreeing on a fabrication technique that works for all parties.
Some basic tips to reduce metal fabrication costs
1. Simplify Your Design
In general, the more complicated the metal fabrication is, the more expensive it will be. To cut down on costs, design for simple angled bends, with a radius equal to or greater than the thickness of the sheet. Small bends on large, thick parts tend to become inaccurate, so they should be avoided if possible.
2. Choose the Appropriate Material
Material cost is one of the most significant drivers of part costs. When designing metal fabrications, be sure to choose material carefully and use sheet stock sizes and grades that are readily and commercially available in the UK. Also try and standardise the material gauge thicknesses in the design wherever possible. Using multiple different gauge thicknesses or different grades of materials in a design can be expensive especially if certain elements of the design require a small detail in very thick or thin material. This will keep costs and lead-times down from the outset and in future repetitive production.
3. Limit Tight Tolerances
Only certain parts and surfaces are crucial when it comes to adding tight tolerance features. These tight tolerances may include bend radius, length, diameters of inner and outer circle. While it does enhance product value and quality, it also increases the cost. Therefore, to cut down on costs look to restrict tight tolerances to the key parts only which are integral to the functionality of the metal fabrication.
4. Asking for our advice
Take advantage of 50+ years of experience and manufacturing of countless metal fabrications into many diverse markets, which may be very similar to the current requirements of a prospective new or existing customer. Choosing the correct metal fabricator who has invested in the latest state-of-the art CNC machinery is essential. Ensuring the fabricator obtains a full understanding of end design goals, can help drive costs down whilst producing a quality fabrication to exceed expectations.
A metal fabrication supplier that prides itself on the trust and relationships it has successfully built, listening carefully, and working closely to customer’s design will always add value to any business. Improved or more efficient manufacturing methodologies can certainly lead to future cost savings over the life of a metal fabrication design.
Why Sheet metal?
Sheet metal is an ideal process for creating durable parts, from single prototypes to high-volume production runs.
Sheet metal has many commercial applications and can be a cost-effective way to create a customer’s fabrication requirements.