Choosing a suitable metal fabrication company is a challenging task, especially if you are looking for specialized solutions. For example, a standard welding company is not capable of handling metal fabrication work for an industrial lifting equipment manufacturing company. The company will need to have considerable experience, adequate workforce, and resources, among other things. Without the right fabrication company, you will face design and quality issues as well as time delays, which may lead to considerable financial losses.
Let's take a look at the factors you need to consider when selecting a metal fabrication company for your next big project.
Although experience is one of the most critical factors, you shouldn’t consider just the time served in the metal fabrication industry. You also need to know how experienced the company’s current staff is, and what type of projects they have handled till date.
If the company hasn’t worked on projects similar to yours or doesn’t have experienced employees on the payroll, it wouldn’t be a good fit for your organization. For example, an auto parts metal fabricator may not necessarily have the technical expertise to take on an architecture-related project.
The company you choose should use the most cutting-edge metal designing and manufacturing technology.
So, make sure to ask the following questions.
- Have they worked on a project like yours?
- Have they built products or applications similar to yours?
- Do they have clients from your industry or niche, and how many?
- Do they have the technical expertise to take up the scale of your project?
When taking a closer look at the workforce, you will need to consider two factors: their skills/certifications and individual work experience. The lack of a skilled workforce is of particular concern in the U.S. manufacturing sector right now. You will also need to know the total number of employees on the company’s permanent payroll.
- They will also need to strike a balance between their fabrication knowledge and the customer premises.
- You may require specific fabricating skills such as the TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) stainless steel welding technique.
- Make sure the company also has a thorough knowledge of different aluminum, steel, and stainless steel alloys, or any other metal and their heat treatment properties required for your project.
Whether it is a small or a big project, you can’t compromise on quality standards. Apart from the standards prescribed by the regulatory authorities, your product or equipment will also need to pass in-house quality tests of your own. You should be aware of any in-house standards that would meet or exceed any demands for the project.
- Make sure the company knows the prescribed manufacturing processes as well as testing equipment to comply with the quality standards.
- Check out what certifications it holds and whether those are enough to award it a project like yours.
- Find out if it is willing to put new qualifications, equipment, or trained staff in place if required.
- What metrics does it use to track its quality performance? Find out if they are adequate for your project.
Quality matters a lot. You should be aware of any in-house standards that would meet or exceed the quality demands for the project. (Courtesy: Pixabay)
4. Competitive Prices
A metal fabrication company is going to take away a big chunk of your total project cost. So, you have to hire the one offering the most competitive prices. Chances are, you will receive quotes from multiple companies. However, a slam-dunk cost comparison isn’t the right way to analyze the quotes. Likewise, going for the lowest quote may not necessarily work in your favor either.
The prices may vary for a variety of reasons. For example, a company using high-quality raw material, or the latest cutting and welding tools may charge slightly more than others. However, such a company is also more likely to meet the desired quality standards and production schedule for your project. This, in turn, will prevent costly delays. Sometimes, the location and the size of the company will also affect the pricing.
This is why you have to make sure to include a minimum level of requirements in your Request for Quotation (RFQ). Only consider the proposals that have taken your requirements into account completely. Check out each quote thoroughly to see if a company has added any extra costs.
5. Resources and Equipment
The company you choose should use the most cutting-edge metal designing and manufacturing technology. This includes everything ranging from storing materials to preparing the final product for delivery. The company should also focus on automation. The higher the levels of automation, the lower are the chances for costly quality control mistakes.
For large or ongoing projects, companies should be willing to embrace new technology or invest in new equipment to provide custom fabrication solutions for your project. Is the company ready to make that investment? Will it pay for the new purchases or will they ask you to pay? Find out where it stands in this regard.
6. Financial Stability
The financial stability of a metal fabrication company is as important as its technical knowledge. Your project may require the fabrication company to hire more technicians, increase their production capacity, and invest in new technology. Only a company with sound financial health can provide for these expenses.
Besides, a financially stable organization pays its employees the best wages and clears supplier’s dues on time. In other words, such a company can afford to hire the best talent and get the best raw material required for your project.
Ask the company about its financial strategy for handling your project. Are they going to use a line of credit? How and when do they pay their suppliers? What are their good financial practices? Can they share their profit and loss accounts details with you? Get answers to all these questions before signing the deal.
In addition to time served in the industry, you also need to know how experienced their current staff is, and what type of projects they have handled till date. (Courtesy: Pixabay)
7. Customer Service and More
Customer service is at the heart of building a long-term relationship with a metal fabrication company. While you may not be able to find out much about their customer service initially, talking to its ex-customers and existing ones is a good idea.
Ask about their experience in dealing with the company, the transparency involved in their communication, and the willingness of the fabrication company to align with customer requirements. All these factors mean the timely completion of your project and fewer mistakes.
Not all metal fabrication companies are made equal. So, you need to choose the right one carefully. However, choosing a metal fabrication company suitable for your next project doesn’t have to be a bumpy ride. Keeping these seven tips in mind should help you find a match. Although you shouldn't compromise any of these factors, you can prioritize them depending on your budget, location, and any other restrictions. Good luck!