Investing in your own fabrication department is an expensive endeavor, which is why you don’t often see companies doing end to end manufacturing in-house. Once in a while, you’ll find a long-established operation that has managed to consolidate every aspect of the business in one company, but those are rare situations in any industry. In some, they’re absolutely unheard of. More often, companies outsource key aspects of raw material acquisition and product part manufacturing. When you outsource those services, you can just buy the parts you need, made to your specifications, in any amount you need to keep your people working.
Local or Long Distance?
The first decision to make is whether you’re going to work with a local machine shop Houston TX or an international firm. Typically, international contracts cost less for the products. The question is, do they save enough to cover the costs of shipping long-distance? Even if the answer is yes today, fuel costs can be very unstable, so it’s hard to predict whether shipping will remain cost-effective. There are also issues of communication. When you can visit your supplier and work out differences about the process and output, it’s easier to reduce scrap and contain costs. That gets you better products faster.
Other Advantages of Working With Local Suppliers
There are obvious advantages to the local economy when you keep your business at home, but there are also a lot of advantages to the local labor pool. If you’re interested in cultivating a relationship that includes the migration of experienced personnel as their careers develop, it can be helpful to work with people in your industry in key supply-line roles. You also have more opportunities to bring representatives from your supplier into the process, providing them with a more complete view of the role your parts play and the importance of specific quality control specifications. This also lets them weigh in earlier in the process, so you can work out any design or fabrication challenges while your next products are still in the design stage. That can speed up your startup production considerably, and it’s not often possible when you work with remote suppliers.