For a successful project, your supplier really ought to live and breathe Q.E.D – Quality, Expertise & Delivery On Time.

Problems arise when the deadline is fast approaching and your precision machining supplier begins cutting corners in order to meet it. It could be the final quality check or machine test that defines the difference between a perfectly finished component and one that needs to be reworked. In the example below, there was a mismatch in cutter length, picked up on first off inspection – tool heads were adjusted to improve the blend.

So the issue was fixed before running the entire batch – hurray! A project saved by careful quality control!

You can download our case study – Reinventing the Wheel – which highlights another example where quality control checks prevented unnecessary waste and time delays.

The point is, when even a single piece of that (almost) sacred engineering trilogy (Quality, Expertise & Delivery Time) is missing, your project falls apart – costing you more time, money or both in the long run. A disaster.

There’s a similarity with a well known example of neglected engineering Expertise. And this really did result in complete and utter disaster…

The Deep Water Horizon Catastrophe 

In case you don’t already know, Deepwater Horizon was the mobile offshore drilling unit that exploded in 2010 during an operation for BP.

The explosion sank the unit, killed 11 workers and caused the gulf of Mexico oil spill that is still considered the largest environmental disaster in US history…

Horrible, but the underlying cause of the disaster is similar to those in precision engineering projects?

The cause was because of corners cut. The project was teeming with technical difficulties from the offset due to the shoddy work engineers were doing in order to meet the deadline. Ring any bells?

When the technical difficulties and underwater pressure concerns surfaced, the project leaders onboard the Deepwater Horizon wanted to extend the deadline in order to carry out quality control checks and machinery inspections…

But BP weren’t having it. Frustrated with the existing delays, BP executives ordered the workers to start drilling…and, well, as you know it didn’t end well.

Cutting those corners not only resulted in a failed project, it cased the death of 11 workers and put others on the line.

Although an extreme example, there is a link with your precision machining supplier…

precision machining supplier

Is your precision machining supplier cutting the mustard?

To find out whether your supplier is cutting the mustard, or if you need a change is to ask questions like:

  • Are your parts turning up late?
  • Has your supplier reached full capacity and stuck your project at the back of the queue?
  • Do you regularly have to re-work the parts because they don’t fit correctly?

You may be making excuses for your supplier because the job is cheap – but aren’t the delays just a little bit frustrating…?

What value does “cheap” have, if you must spend additional time machining your components to fit your requirements?

Think about these three issues…

  1. The cost of someone manufacturing it wrong
  2. PLUS the cost of your employees or another outsourcer putting it right 
  3. PLUS the time lost during the delays!

Won’t it actually be cheaper to choose a precision machining outsourcer who gets it right the first time? Cheap with mistakes is a false economy.

Taking the leap – nothing changes if nothing changes

If you don’t change supplier to someone with a higher level of Quality finish, Expertise and Delivery Time, you’re always going to get the same old problem. Parts that need reworking!

Perhaps your supplier needs higher quality equipment and software. It would take less time to produce a part that doesn’t require additional work before it can be used in your project?

This is just one reason you may want to consider changing supplier. Don’t settle for average, or even good when you can have GREAT!