When it comes to contract manufacturer selection, what’s the first step?
It’s helpful when working with a contract manufacturer to have a complete understanding of all the details associated with any given project.
So it stands to reason that the first step involved with contract manufacturer selection is to completely and accurately define the scope of the job.
Assessing the necessary factors involved with manufacturing a metal part will give you insight when it comes to selecting a manufacturing company that can meet your individual needs.
The following itemized list contains all the factors involved with manufacturing a part.
Use this list to access your requirements, and help guide you in the process contract manufacturer selection.
- Product name: Give the project a name that will help a manufacturer understand why they should be interested. The more general you can be here the better.
- Project scope: Provide an estimated annual usage of the part and timeline constraints.
- Product description: Provide a description of the part that you need to have manufactured. This should give a good indication of what it is and what it is used for.
- Product application: By describing the application, you can connect the dots for a potential manufacturer and end-consumer.
- Capabilities and processes: List all capabilities that you understand to be necessary in completion of your project.
- Equipment used: Equipment information is important for procurement and engineering sourcing groups. It is a good practice to know what specific machinery is required in order to produce your part, and can help to determine a manufacturer’s capabilities.
- Tightest tolerance: Describe your projects tolerance requirements. This is a critical decision making component for most projects. The tighter, the better!
- Product length/width/height/ and OD/ID: The envelope dimensions of a part help your potential manufacturer understand the overall size you require. Different contract manufacturers have different size restrictions based upon their facilities and manufacturing capabilities.
- Product weight: The weight of each part will identify the ability to ship locally or nationally. At the same time it will identify the scope of projects if the weights are very large.
- Color: While it seems trivial, every bit of information can help a potential manufacturer make the decision to work with you.
- Material thickness: The thickness of the material you are working with or require will allow manufacturers to better understand how their team and raw material will fit into your project.
- Material type: Provide your material type by the proper ASTM designation as well as the colloquial terminology.
- Material finish: If you need to have the part plated or polished to a certain standard grade, be sure to provide the information. Sometimes manufacturers will outsource such operations, affecting the time span for delivery. If a manufacturer can provide the completed part from one location it is more advantageous for your supply chain.
- Industry for use: Does your potential manufacturer have experience with the particular industry you are working within? Are they familiar with the standards and guidelines required?
- Volume: This is extremely important! Manufacturers hate getting RFQs for the wrong order size. Be very clear here about the size orders you are expecting.
- Delivery time: Timelines for delivery help to define what working with a particular manufacturer will be like.
- Delivery location: If possible provide the city and state where the order will shipped.
- Packaging and shipping: Outline the packaging necessary for the parts and the shipping option that was used.
- Standards met: If and specific standards are required for the project, list them here. It is essential that a manufacturer provide confidence in their abilities to adhere to requirements a potential customer will request.
- Testing performed: What is your potential manufacturers quality process? The more complex the part or more critical the use case, the more a potential manufacturer will want to see from this section.
- Drawing file type used: Let the contract manufacturer know what file types you prefer and what you used for the project.
- Part management services: If warehousing or just-in-time (or JIT) services required for the project, include information on the particulars of the engagement.
By following the outline presented here and gathering all the specific details of your manufacturing project in one place, it will give you as well as a potential manufacturing partner a head start in the contract manufacturer selection process.