It’s all too easy for fast-growing companies to succumb to the temptation to do everything in-house. When it comes to CNC machining, however, there are many good arguments for leaving the work to trained CNC machining experts.
The key misconception surrounding CNC machining is that any company can stand up its own manufacturing division simply by buying the right equipment and having a few people to run it.
Setting aside the significant investment involved, this view doesn’t take into account the importance of the production environment. Even experienced teams need the right policies, procedures, and training in place to reach their goals consistently.
Those who push to in-source CNC machining soon realize that the operational hazards go well beyond mechanical glitches. There is a significant organizational learning curve that can cripple your productivity, set back your timelines, and eat into your revenue.
Three Big Risks You Can Avoid with Contract CNC Machining
Contract CNC machining is the best way to shield your enterprise from the inherent risks of manufacturing. Hiring, training, equipment, safety, and security all become the manufacturing partner’s responsibility – leaving you free to focus on what you do best.
If you’re considering an in-house solution, be sure you’ve planned sufficiently for these issues:
1) Increased Safety Hazards and Injuries
No matter how careful your personnel are, programming errors in milling machines, routers, lathes, and other CNC machining equipment can cause grievous accidents. Industry experts point out that insufficient safety features – and users intentionally circumventing them – are widespread issues. Hazards can’t always be foreseen, and workplace injuries may lead to legal liability. In addition, workplace insurance can add millions in costs to your enterprise.
2) Costly Equipment Errors and “Crashes”
Custom fixtures and custom automated systems can be designed with failsafes that make catastrophic failures (“crashes”) less likely. However, most OEM equipment sacrifices these to save money for the device manufacturer. Crashes can cost millions of dollars and bring an entire production floor to a halt. This is so common, there are CNC crash compilations on YouTube. It’s not uncommon to lose full days of productivity to the worst crashes.
3) Higher Product Defect Rates and Returns
“One in a million” has a special meaning for professional CNC machinists, who often shoot for it as their product defect rate. This is the gold standard, but it’s not easy to get there: It could take months or even years for a new manufacturing organization to become that reliable. In the meantime, customers will receive defective items and your brand will take the heat. That could prevent you from cultivating the early following you need for long-term success.
What Do the Risks of In-House CNC Machining All Have in Common?
One factor ties all of these issues together: Delays, delays, delays. Any one of these problems can lead to rivals beating you to market – especially in competitive, innovative-driven sectors like medical device manufacturing.
Sure, some enterprises achieve success with in-house CNC machining. Most, however, reach their goals faster and at much lower cost by partnering with a contract manufacturing company with CNC expertise.