Four Reasons To Change Your CNC Machining Suppliers

1st Feb 2021
by Sam Brown

Reasons To Review Your CNC Machining Procurement

If you’re unhappy with your CNC machining supplier(s) then you don’t need anyone to tell you it’s time to look at other options. But if the jury is still out, this blog post (and free guide) will help you to review your options and decide on the best course of action.

Download Your Free Guide To Changing CNC Machining Suppliers

Here are the four most common reasons that procurement professionals – either buyers or specifiers – contact us because they’re unhappy with their existing machining suppliers…

Reason 1: You Are Receiving Inconsistent Quality Of Products

This is a major red flag for anyone procuring CNC machining in the medical device sector. Inconsistencies in quality are the last thing you want – for obvious reasons.

Some suppliers (especially those in aerospace) will be highly regulated; they will have a thorough goods inspection process. But outside the heavily regulated sectors, inspection levels can vary. Sooner or later this will lead to quality issues.

Problems can occur at the prototyping, pre-production stages and even with established products. The nightmare generally starts at the final assembly of equipment. Errors in geometric tolerances can result in components not fitting together correctly; closer inspection usually reveals anomalies/variations in the drawings. Other issues can include visible fluctuations in finish.

Perhaps that supplier bit off more than they could chew when they accepted the contract. Maybe they were a little ‘over-enthusiastic’ when outlining their levels of expertise at the outset. Or they have lost key members of staff. Or they have been unable to keep up with increasing demand and so are cutting corners.

Whatever the cause, you need to act quickly and decisively.

Reason 2: Your Existing Suppliers Are Not Meeting Service Level Agreements

This issue often runs in parallel with quality concerns. Either the quality is fine (and consistent) but they’re breaching the SLA on delivery times because their capacity is being stretched.

Or – worst case scenario – they’re in serious trouble. They’re skimping on quality but it’s not saving them enough time and they’re still late. ‘Just in time’ just isn’t: and the problem is getting worse.

They’re making their problems yours – and that cannot be allowed to happen.

Reason 3: Your Supplier Has The Wrong Skill Set

Your products have moved on – but your suppliers haven’t. Your components and assemblies have become more complex. They need machining to finer tolerances. More refined technical skills are needed but your suppliers are out of their depth.

They may lack finesse. It’s one thing to machine parts that will be hidden away in an enclosure, never to be seen by the end user. But it’s quite another to create beautifully finished components that must be aesthetically pleasing because they’re out there for all the world to see.

Changing materials can often expose skills gaps – especially when you start using more plastics (which require a different expertise to machine than aluminium). Plastics are less forgiving: they can flex during machining then bounce back. They will ‘grab’ at the tool. Or gum it up with swarf. Machining plastics requires years of experience.

Are you seeing a drop in quality/consistency and a rise in late deliveries? It could be that your existing supplier is taking longer to complete your work because they’re struggling to cope with the increased technical demands involved.

Act quickly – you cannot afford quality failures, and especially not in sectors like medical devices. You need new suppliers.

Reason 4: Your Current Supplier Cannot Meet The Lead Time

Your product is a major success. It’s ‘ticking all the boxes’ and solving real-world problems. So you’ve had a jump in orders. And you’re stretched. It’s a great problem to have – especially in these challenging times – but you still have to deliver the goods to demanding end users. And you can’t do that if your suppliers lack the flexibility to scale up with you.

If the issue is simply one of capacity, you will need to add additional suppliers to help carry the ever-growing load. That spreads the risk but it also means extra admin hassle…simply because one of your existing suppliers is struggling to cut it now the pressure has increased.

The simplest solution is to replace them altogether with a smarter player that is better able to cope. But that could mean replacing a previously trusted supplier with an unknown quantity. You’re going to need some guarantees. Find out more about this in our free guide…

Download Your Free Guide To Changing CNC Machining Suppliers

The blog post you have just read forms part of a three-part guide to reviewing your CNC machining suppliers. The guide contains helpful information about:

  • what to look for in your new CNC machining suppliers
  • traditional methods of sourcing suppliers – with some caveats
  • key questions you should ask CNC machining suppliers
  • why you should demand rigorous in-house inspections (and not just rely on certifications)
  • good practice in procurement (looking further ahead).

Click here to get Your Guide to Changing Suppliers

Further Reading

Find Out More – Get Penta Involved

CNC machining specialist Penta Precision is ISO 9001:2015 accredited for quality assurance. Our experienced engineers can alert you to potential design and engineering issues before they become costly, time-consuming and stressful.

Trust in Penta to maintain quality and consistency through proven and validated processes:

  • We communicate well 
  • We take care at each stage
  • Our service is consistent.

Email Penta for more information