Realistic Manufacturing Quantities

“I’d like a quote for 1, 5, 25, 50, 100, 1000.” I’m sure you’ve seen or heard people request quantities like this before. From a manufacturers’ point of view, this can cause an issue with quoting a price. Reason being, the difference of how a part is manufactured when making 1 as oppose to 1,000 are polar opposites because they will be made differently. You may be asking yourself, ‘why when it’s the same part,’ right? The answer to that solely depends on the actual part being made, but let’s do an example.

Say you’re fabricating a sheet metal enclosure where there are several bends, holes, welding, and hardware. When fabricating low quantities, here are the factors that need to be considered:

  1. Material cost minimums (including scrap)
  2. Manual punching
  3. Manual forming
  4. Manual hardware installation
  5. Hardware minimums
  6. Manual welding

Based on the information above, you will see that the enclosure would be quoted with minimums and manual labor. On the other hand, if you were to fabricate large quantities, it would be done much differently. Here are the factors to be considered when quoting the sheet metal enclosure with high quantities:

  1. Material costs
  2. Automated punching
  3. Automated forming
  4. Automated hardware installation
  5. Automated welding

As you can see, if you were to fabricate larger quantities, many of the operations are automated as oppose to manual labor. The difference between the two varies greatly as far as price per part and the time it takes to manufacture. An estimator wouldn’t quote large quantities using all manual labor because it would not only take a very long time to fabricate, but it would cost a lot more compared to using automated machines.

Now that you can see the difference of how you would go about manufacturing the same part with different quantities/manufacturing methods, quoting a wide range of different quantities would be like quoting two completely different parts. This is why it is so important to have realistic quantities when you are looking to have parts manufactured. Having a large range of quantities is not realistic, even if it’s budgetary. If prototypes are the first step, only have the fabricator quote prototypes. Once prototypes are done, many times the part won’t even reach production quantities due to changes to the design. Therefore, only quote production quantities, when you’re actually ready to fabrication production quantities. It saves time, money, and it is less of a pricing exercise for your fabricator.

Here at Vista Industrial Products, Inc., we specialize in production quantities. We have a wide range of automated machines that make larger quantities a perfect fit for our shop. On occasion, we will fabricate prototypes if we are to do production quantities as well. We ask all of our customers to provide us with “real manufacturing quantities” when we quote in order to prevent the two different types of quoting of one part.

If you are looking for a precision sheet metal fabricator, CNC machine shop, or welding fabricator and looking to manufacture at production quantities, please contact us for a quote. Our equipment list provides all the different machines we have in house. Contact us today for a quote!


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