Why Scheduling Is Imperative For Meeting Your Custom Machining Demand
January 20, 2017
You’ve probably faced one of these situations before: Your OEM has a sudden increase in customers due to market interest or an economic upturn, or you’re presented with a major sales opportunity for a large customer.
While these are both promising scenarios, you need your custom machining supplier to increase production to deliver on new orders.
Meeting increased metal machining demand is not as simple for your supplier as hiring a new machinist. Find out why scheduling is imperative for ramping up machining production.
Custom machining is one of the most difficult processes to expand. While it’s relatively easy to hire and buy equipment for welding, machining processes rely on complex, expensive equipment.
Even if you take labor out of the equation (skilled machinists are hard to find), adding new machining equipment costs your supplier around $1 million.
Your supplier may be committed to buying a new machine, but shipping, setting up and testing equipment takes time. Your supplier won’t be able to run parts off of the equipment until two to three months after purchase. After that, more time is required to ramp up to capacity, as machinists learn to use new equipment.
Scheduling Helps Your Supplier Manage Its Resources
Your supplier needs accurate data to determine how long each part will take to machine. Having correct estimates for required machine time helps your supplier to optimize processes and make them faster.
Your supplier should have checkpoints in place to ensure scheduling is on point. It must run programming and tests at the front end of a project to avoid mistakes later. Then, it needs to continue analyzing its processes and making adjustments.
Two people can look at machining prints and come up with vastly different estimates for how long the process will take. Instead of using subjective estimates, the right supplier catalogues how long certain operations take using computer tools. A program determines, based on the number of inches of a cut or other specifications, how long it will take to machine a certain part.
Computers create much more accurate estimates, which allow your supplier to schedule custom machining time appropriately.
Your supplier should review estimates with its internal team so everyone involved in a machining process agrees they’re feasible. Then, the key to meeting increased demand is scheduling capacity at 80%. Your supplier should leave room in its schedule in case of emergencies or sudden demand. That way your production line receives the parts necessary to ramp up.
If you and your supplier agree to take on a major project together, it’s responsible for filling your orders, whether that means shipping 10, 100 or 1,000 parts.
However, your supplier can’t grow 100% in capacity month after month. You need a partner that commits realistically and delivers on its promises. The right supplier knows how to manage its resources through scheduling to grow steadily and sustainably along with your company.
Are you partnering with the right supplier? Schedule a consultation with Miller today.