This article is the first in a series that will explore the relationship between an OEM and a contract metal manufacturer. We’ll look into how the right metal manufacturer can help an OEM cut costs. We’ll discuss the red flags you should be aware of that will help foretell that your contract metal manufacturer isn’t meeting your needs. We’ll check out the important factors to consider when partnering with an outsourced metal manufacturer . We’ll start, however, by noting the differences between working with a contract metal manufacturer and performing in-house metal fabrication.

Improved Quality

Choosing the right outsourced metal manufacturer should improve quality and consistency. A metal fabricator specializes in the metal fabrication processes and should have the equipment and trained staff to produce a higher quality part than could be produced on your own. Problematic parts be returned.

Added Perspective

Since an outsourced metal fabricator works with a variety of manufacturers, they can bring a new perspective to your company. At Wiley Metal, for example, frequently our engineers have offered designed changes for a manufacturer that has improved the part, and therefore their product. Using an outsourced metal manufacturer can be viewed as an addition to your staff and resources. It can add new vision and new opportunities.

Time is Money

In-house metal fabrication takes time. Most OEM’s who choose in-house metal fabrication do so with limited capacity and versatility. This can slow down the metal fabrication process. When dealing with an outside metal manufacturer (or several), you are essentially improving metal fabrication capacity. This improves parts flow and keeps your manufacturing plant rolling. Many manufacturer’s choose in-house metal fabrication to speed up the process but ultimately find out it can have the opposite effect.

Space is Money

When you work with an outsourced metal manufacturer as opposed to conducting the work in-house, you are freeing up space. Space for equipment, space for raw materials, storage space for scrap and unused material. This can create improved capacity for other areas to improve your processes.

Equipment is Money

In-house metal fabrication is expensive. Capital equipment expense is costly and maintenance adds to that expense. As parts change or are modified, expenses continue to add up. Choosing an outside metal manufacturer shifts that equipment and maintenance costs to them. This is freed up capital you can invest in other areas of production.

Money is Money

The overhead involved in metal fabrication far exceeds that of just equipment and maintenance. Performing metal fabrication in-house can add to management costs, quality control expense, utilities, insurance, employee expense and more. You now, are responsible for the manufacture of faulty parts and waste. Will you save on transportation costs? Certainly. That money, however, will easily be spent in other associated costs of performing metal fabrication in-house.

The more intangible benefit of outsourcing your metal fabrication is that it allows you to focus more on your core manufacturing processes. It minimizes the distractions of metal manufacturing in-house. If you’ve been thinking about using an outsourced metal manufacturer for your OEM, there certainly are a lot of appealing aspects to making the move. But how do you find the right contract metal manufacturer for your OEM? What should you be looking for and what questions should you ask?

Coming up next, we’ll discuss what to look for in a contract metal fabrication partner and what the single most important factor is when searching for an OEM contract metal manufacturer.