Estimating and Planning Manufacturing

Estimating and planningEstimating and planning to manufacture product is one of the most important stages of the entire manufacturing process. Both set the stage for how the manufacturing will be performed as well as determine the cost. Here at VIP, we find these two stages of pre-manufacturing to be the most important to invest time to ensure parts can be made effectively and with the capabilities in-house. There’s nothing worse than bidding a job without fully estimating the costs and planning out the manufacturing process, and find out you underbid it or you didn’t have the right equipment or tooling to actually fabricate. Here at VIP, we take everything into account when planning and estimating. So for this blog post, we are going to share some of the important types of information we look for in order to properly estimate and plan a request for quote:

  • Dimensional prints
  • Material type (stock sizes, availability)
  • Material thickness (standard gauges, availability)
  • Finish
  • Hardware
  • Welding requirements
  • Tolerances
  • Silkscreen
  • Ink stamp
  • Packaging requirements
  • Quantities (per order/ annual)
  • Need for special tooling and fixtures

Most of this information is already located on a manufacturing print, but it is important that the information is thorough and accurate. Here at VIP, we have been in many situations where our customer didn’t provide all the information upfront, we estimated and planned the work, received the order, but midway through the fabrication process, the customer wanted to add more requirements. This can be a huge burden since it wasn’t properly planned for. Once requirements change, we require a re-quote to re-plan and estimate the job with all requirements to ensure the sequences of operations and all costs are covered. This delays the order and can even incur scrapping costs.

All of the factors listed above can drastically change how a part is manufactured and how much it’s going to cost to make. It’s also important to use material and hardware that is readily available. For instance, if you require a tubing size that isn’t a standard, be aware that the cost of the part probably just shot through the roof. So it’s important that the requirements you need are realistic.

When starting a relationship with a manufacturer, we encourage you to find out what it is they need in order to plan and estimate. Some companies may require different information based upon their pricing structure. If there are uncertainties in your product, make sure you communicate this to your manufacturer so they can be aware of possible changes or issues. It really comes down to communication. The fabricator will make what you tell them, but they also can’t read minds. So be sure to disclose every important detail of your product during the quoting stage.

If you are looking for a quality metal fabricator, be sure to to visit our website to learn about our in-house capabilities and how we could make your product. Feel free to contact our Business Development Team if you have questions or need to submit a Request for Quote.

Feel free to leave questions and comments below!

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