Tips for Buyer's
Trouble-Free Contracting of Machined Products
Question: What are the most important considerations when purchasing
Answer: Work with a supplier that is committed to a long-term
relationship and has the technical expertise matched with the right equipment to
support your needs. Nothing will cause your delivery or quality to suffer more
than selecting a supplier based solely on low bidding.
Question: I know I need a turned parts specialist, what process is
most appropriate for my product?
Answer: In general a higher volume results in a lower price.
Shorter run products (<150 pieces) are best on CNC’s. As the volume
increases, it becomes more cost effective to use the screw machine, depending
upon the part complexity and tolerance. If your products have cross-holes
or milled flats, secondary operations may be required. In general, high
volume parts (50,000+) without really tight tolerances are best run on multiple
spindle automatics. Miniature parts or products that are long and slender
are best on Swiss machines. Low to medium volume (50 to 20,000 pieces) can be
produced economically on single-spindle screw machines; this is the type used by
Fordsell Machine Products. At times, even the screw machine engineer has to
carefully consider several alternatives before arriving at a final decision, so
keep your options open.
Question: Should I pay a tooling expense?
Answer: The buyer should be informed of the non-recurring costs
related to a production order. Costs of programming, tool design, fixtures and
cams will not occur on a repeat order. It is really best for the buyer to have
this cost differentiated from the part cost.
Question: What effects the price of a part?
Answer: Two factors affect the price (a) cycle time to make one part
and (b) setup time on the machine. For a given part design, (a) is
fixed. Consequently, as the volume increases, the price will fall as the
setup is amortized into more parts. Once the part is setup, production can
run multiple shifts with production efficiencies improving as the job runs
longer and longer. We can easily provide you with price breaks for multiple
Question: Should I consider an annual contract or blanket order?
Answer: For a stable part design with steady usage, there is no
better way to optimize your costs and your supplier’s and to minimize the
transaction costs associated with individual purchase orders
Question: I have a job that will run year round, wouldn’t I save
money buying a machine to produce the product in-house versus letting a
subcontractor make the extra profit?
Answer: Contract shops of production machining of automatic bar
products typically have the following advantages in economies of scale:
Several machines of any given type
Maintenance personnel specializing in bar automatics
Process engineers and programmers
Tool makers and a well equipped tool room
Setup people specialized in each particular machine type
Machine operators trained to run multiple machines scheduled for
Scheduling and procurement systems optimized for job shop and
One would assume it would be reasonable for the jobber to gain efficiency
through their economies of scale and expertise that would usually allow them to
be more cost effective in the overall assessment taking into account personnel
and capital expenditures. Many companies have come to the conclusion that their
resources are best used to focus on their product and leave the production
turning to the specialist.
Question: How about requirements for heat treating and plating, can I
save money by handling those myself?
Answer: Fordsell has the expertise to handle most of these
requirements. If you really want to shave the nickels you can handle these
processes yourself, but you do assume responsibility for potential problems. At
times part dimensions will change after heat treat. And, plating build up does
change dimensions. If you buy the part before plating, make sure you adjust your
print to pre-plating dimensions. Most customers would rather not have these
Question: Should I request a first article?
Answer: Most suppliers are eager to supply a first article when they
run a new job and it is really to everyone’s advantage to assure you are
getting what you need. This should be requested when the job is quoted. If a
supplier has to wait for customer approval, before he can run production it is
costing him money.
Question: I want to use a supplier whose parts can be certified for
use without going through receiving inspection, can Fordsell provide that
Answer: Fordsell is already doing this for several customers who have
chosen to reduce their own costs, simplify the ordering process and streamline
the handling in your plant.
Summary: For further support in this area, we can supply a free
four-page, laminated buyer’s resource guide.
Note: Fordsell Machine extends its appreciation to
Cox Manufacturing for the content on this
Fordsell Machine Products Company ©2013