Choosing a sheet metal fabrication company can be a difficult task. At first thought, it may seem that the practical solution would be to select a fabrication company that may be nearby to have a hands-on approach or one that has fabricated similar products as your company’s design. Yet, the decision to select a sheet metal fabrication company should not merely be driven by location or product similarities. That’s important, but looking at the engineers’ experience and skills, the fabrication company’s resources, and its reputation, among other considerations, are more critical factors to weigh in choosing a sheet metal fabrication company to fulfill your design to your fullest expectations. Partnering with the wrong company could cause design or quality issues that will ultimately lead to setbacks, delays, and financial losses.
Choosing a Sheet Metal Fabrication Company
When shopping for a sheet metal fabrication company to complete your next project, here are five critical questions to ask before starting a partnership:
What is the experience and skill set of the company?
In general, experience and skills go hand-in-hand. When choosing a fabrication company, experience is undoubtedly one of the most critical factors. How experienced a company’s workforce is to handle the type of projects is critical. But, experience can have many different meanings. Knowing what that experience is, as related to expertise, is just as important. Consider the expertise, the particular skill sets, that the fabrication company’s workforce holds, and consider in what field. A shop’s experience may be in parts and components for aerospace when your company needs auto parts. Be sure that the fabrication company’s experience and skillsets match your project needs.
What are the quality standards of the company?
Knowing the quality standards of a fabrication company is another essential factor to weigh in your decision-making. More than that company just adhering to regulatory statutes, look to that company’s quality standards as a measure of quality performance. Does the company know the prescribed manufacturing processes? What are its memberships or awards? Does it have ISO certifications? And what metrics are used to track and ensure quality control? They should not only meet but exceed your expectations.
Does the company have the equipment and resources to fulfill the project?
No matter how large or small your project, the company you select should use the most cutting-edge design and manufacturing technology to perform the necessary fabrication techniques required for your project. This includes not only production requirements but everything from meeting material requirements to packing and shipping. The company should be fully automated with CNC programmed technologies—cutting, stamping, punching, etc. Automation in manufacturing parts, components, and sub-assemblies increases and ensures quality products.
Is the fabrication company financially stable?
Financial stability is a sensitive area, but an important one nonetheless. You do not want to invest in a fabrication company that does not have the financial resources to fulfill a project. How long has the company been in business? A company on solid financial footing follows good financial practices. Keys to determining its financial stability is in its relations with vendors—are their credit lines and are bills paid to them on time—and its employees. Low turnover and paying top wages is a sign of a reliable workplace and a stable workforce. With a line of credit and a solid workforce, the fabrication company can afford to hire skilled labor and access the material required to fulfill your project.
What is their pricing?
Understanding that quality comes with a price does not exclude the competitive pricing of a project. Making multiple inquiries means receiving multiple quotes. Your own experience in the field should have you well prepared for the cost of material, with the variable being the timeline, quality, and skill in which the project is completed. Be sure of full disclosure in all areas of the project. Everything should be in writing and represent a good-faith estimate with no hidden costs. A quality, financially stable, fabrication company will present you with their offer in writing.
Choosing the right sheet metal fabrication company to partner with is no easy task. Look to a company with the experience and skilled workforce, high-quality standards, equipment and resources, good financial condition, and fair, competitive pricing to fulfill your project. With due diligence, you will find the right match.