Businesses in a range of industries rely on sheet metal services for some of their most critical components. Parts like aircraft engine components, automotive chassis, and enclosures for medical devices are all possible thanks to the sheet metal fabrication process. However, for companies that require sheet metal services regularly, it’s important to find a manufacturer that can deliver cost-effective solutions without compromising on quality.
Manageable manufacturing costs enable businesses to remain competitive with the pricing of their own products, allowing for investments in technology and innovation. And the customers of that company not only enjoy greater access to products but potentially a greater diversity in products as well.
With that in mind, there are several ways that metal manufacturers can help keep costs reasonable throughout the sheet metal fabrication process. Looking for a manufacturer that takes these measures can help you keep your production affordable and your quality up to standards.
What Influences the Cost of Sheet Metal Services?
First, it’s helpful to know exactly what goes into the cost of sheet metal services. There are four primary factors that heavily impact the overall cost of production. These factors are:
- Raw Material Costs—The cost of the sheet metal itself significantly affects the cost of sheet metal services. Different types of metals vary in price, with higher-quality or specialized metals being more expensive. Other factors like market demand, availability, and geopolitical influences can cause fluctuations in raw material costs.
- Labor Costs—Skilled workers are needed for cutting, bending, welding, and assembling sheet metal. The cost of paying these workers a fair wage obviously has a major impact on the cost of the sheet metal services as well. However, it’s an investment that pays off: highly skilled workers are more capable of handling the challenges associated with complex projects in an efficient manner.
- Technology and Equipment—While the upfront costs of more advanced manufacturing technologies and machinery can be high, it’s another investment that is often worth it. Better equipment can reduce labor requirements and increase production speeds. This includes automation, collaborative robots, and IoT connected devices.
- Customization and Part Complexity—Finally, projects that are complex or that require more customization influence the cost of sheet metal services. These types of projects may require additional setup, specialized tooling, and higher levels of precision, all of which contribute to increased costs.
How Manufacturers Can Deliver Cost-Effective Sheet Metal Services
So, how do manufacturers help control the costs of sheet metal services without compromising on part quality? There are various strategies that manufacturers employ, but some of the most effective include managing material selection, optimizing the production process, and developing a highly skilled workforce.
Material Selection and Sourcing
Manufacturers begin by understanding customer requirements and needs. This enables the proper selection of materials based on characteristics like strength, durability, and corrosion resistance, amongst others. After this, your manufacturer should be able to perform a cost-benefit analysis to consider the initial cost, ease of fabrication, recyclability, and long-term maintenance costs.
From there, manufacturers can prioritize cost-effective procurement strategies. For instance, purchasing materials in bulk often leads to volume discounts. Manufacturers can also leverage their relationships with suppliers to negotiate better costs. Lean inventory management can also help keep costs down by minimizing holding costs reducing the risk of obsolescence.
One of the biggest ways that manufacturers can help control the cost of sheet metal services is by optimizing the manufacturing process. By performing regular workflow analyses, manufacturers can identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and areas for improvement. This, combined with a continuous improvement mindset, enables manufacturers to optimize each step of the manufacturing process.
There are a few ways that manufacturers can achieve this, including:
- Design for Manufacturability (DFM): Designing parts for more cost-effective manufacturing, which can lead to lower production costs and faster turnaround times.
- Value Stream Mapping: A technique used to visualize and analyze the steps in the production process to identify non-value-added activities, minimize waste, and enhance efficiency.
- Cellular Manufacturing: Organizing production into cells that group equipment and workstations based on similar tasks. This also enhances efficiency and reduces the need for material movement and setup times.
- Automation and Lights-Out Manufacturing: The ability to run production processes without human intervention. Automated systems and robotics can operate machines during non-working hours to maximize production and reduce labor costs.
Skilled Workforce Development
By investing in training programs and advanced technologies, manufacturers can develop a workforce that is fully supported in every aspect of the production process. By providing training programs and cross-training opportunities, and incentivizing employees to pursue certifications, manufacturers play a major role in building a team that is adaptable and capable of responding to various challenges throughout the sheet metal fabrication process.
Additionally, manufacturers can further enhance the skills of their workers by investing in digital tools and software, online learning platforms, sensors for quality control, process monitoring systems, and rapid prototyping. When combined, all of these efforts result in a more robust workforce that is more efficient, more productive, and, ultimately, more cost-effective.
Advantage Metal Products Delivers Sheet Metal Services with Cost and Quality in Mind
At Advantage Metal Products, we’ve been the trusted provider of sheet metal services and other metal fabrication services for more than 30 years. Our team of highly qualified experts is supported by the latest in advanced manufacturing technologies so we can bring you cost-effective, precision manufacturing solutions that deliver. Our U.S.-based facilities are fully equipped with the automated systems required for lights-out manufacturing, enabling us to maximize your production while keeping costs attainable.
More than that, we take a collaborative approach to every project with a focus on the best in customer service. Whatever you need, our engineers and experts will work with you to ensure your highest standards are being met.
Are you looking for a trusted provider of sheet metal services? Connect with our team today and tell us about your project.