Key Considerations When Choosing a Metal Fabrication Shop

October 12, 2018

Choosing a metal fabrication shop for any industry or business can be a daunting task. Companies large or small want exceptional quality at competitive prices. Getting price quotes from several sources is always wise, but it’s good to note before making a decision that any price discrepancies may reflect the use of higher quality metals or a greater degree of precision cutting tools and the like. Meaning higher costs up front may translate into better products and fewer costly mistakes over the long term.

Pricing aside, because metal fabrication companies vary in what services they provide, companies seeking out those services should be aware that not all fabrication companies are built the same. Some companies may offer a variety of services while others specialize in only a handful.

Custom metal fabrication is as much a service as it is an art. With that in mind, below are several options to consider before selecting a metal fabrication shop for your company’s needs.

Capabilities

One of the most important considerations in choosing the right metal fabrication shop is its relation to the needs of your company. Is that shop large enough? Does it have the space requirements and equipment to provide finished products to meet your company’s needs? Not enough space or the right equipment means interruptions in production and failure to meet deadlines, which can be costly to any company. If possible, visit the shop to determine if it can meet your production needs.

Another consideration is the materials the metal fabrication shop works with. Does that shop have the capability to work with the metals required for your products? Not all fabrication shops work with the same materials and may be limited to stainless steel or aluminum, while your company’s needs may require the use of carbon steel or copper. Some shops can only work with limited thicknesses and sizes, too, depending on the metal type.

Apart from materials, there are also design and production services to consider. Can the metal fabrication shop take an idea and design the product that meets your needs, or does it only work with prototypes through production? Shops with design services have the capability to take your drawing—digital, printed or by hand—and meet your company’s requirements.

Along with design considerations are key production services to consider. Your requirements may need only one simple service or a range of fabrication and finishing services. Production capabilities to consider include shearing, laser cutting, punching, forming, welding, painting (wet or dry), silk-screening, assembly, and even custom packaging.

Experience

Custom metal fabrication is an industry that requires many years of experience. The number of years a company has been in business and how much it has grown over time is a good indication of positive expectations. However, it is also important to know if the shop has the degree of expertise to quickly transfer your design or prototype into a quality finished product.

Experience requires skilled craftsmen using state-of-the-art equipment who have the knowledge to avoid costly mistakes. It means being able to fine-tune operations to run a safe and efficient shop. Experience also means a strong managerial and administrative staff with knowledge of industry codes and regulations that relate to your product. Has the shop manufactured similar products as yours?

Quality Control and Certifications

To ensure that all aspects of a manufacturing process in a shop are running efficiently with quality management systems in place, turn to its certifications and quality control system. The degree to which a company has met requirements, specifications, and guidelines with relation to the materials, products, processes, and services it provides is the measure to which a standard is applied by independent trade organizations.

Developing a standard is a response to a need in the market. They are based on a global consensus of expert opinion in a specific field. For example, obvious standards like weights and measures were an outcome of global consensus. When selecting a metal fabrication shop, be sure they have met ISO certification and any other trade-related certifications that pertain to it. If a company is ISO certified, they have met rigid criteria and standards as developed by its peers.

When standards are met, consumers can have confidence that the company’s products are safe, reliable and of good quality.

Customer Service

As with any company, a quality metal fabrication shop will know the key to long-term success is by building and maintaining long-term relationships with their customers. After all, repeat business is the key to success for companies large and small. Meeting customer requirements, recognizing the unique needs of companies, having flexibility when needed, offering competitive pricing, having the expertise and knowledge of metal fabrication, and follow up service and support are all important signs of a metal fabrication company that places value on customer service. There is no sense in doing business with a company that fails to meet your needs.

If you’d like to learn more about our capabilities and discuss your next project give us a call today at 613-966-7551 or fill out our quick contact form here.