You could just send your part CAM files to one of those online services to just make the parts and ship them to you. Sounds pretty high tech. Sexy. New school. No humans involved.
Or you could send them to a company that actively involves its human engineering talent to add value for you, the customer. Old school. And worth it!
Two of the major contributors of a part’s cost are material and machining time.
Value engineering at Fairchild Auto-Mated involves engineers evaluating each part to seek ways to reduce these cost factors.
Imagine, engineers getting involved in evaluating your part before production begins.
Decidedly Old School. And decidedly worth it.
The valve component shown above was presented to Fairchild made as one piece carved out of oversize barstock in an single piece.
Fairchild’s engineers studied the design, application, and function.
They determined that this part would be less expensive to produce as two separate items assembled and staked together to form this single part.
This design eliminated the costly stock removal of large diameter (expensive) stainless steel, and reduced the amount of (expensive) stainless steel chips produced to generate the stem.
There was no need for the disk portion of this part to be stainless, and so less expensive and more machinable brass was selected for this part of the component.
What was the pay off for value engineering versus the “download the file over the internet and have it go straight into production” process path.
The savings identified by Fairchild’s value engineers resulted in a total cost savings of over $1.00 per part.
End result for the customer: $48,000 in savings the first year…
If you just want to email your part file to someone and have them make it with no humans involved, well, that is certainly your perogative.
But if you would like to have the benefit of a value engineering teams design review that can find, say, $1.00 per part in cost savings- then you probably ought to make a different decision.
Old school shops like Fairchild have been able to survive through all of the ups and downs in the market- because they continue to add real value and identify real savings for their customers.
And in quantities of 50,000 or more per release, that value engineering can add up to real money.
How do you know your part is optimized for production?
How do you identify real cost savings besides just having jobs rebid?
Do you have a process to involve your suppliers in value engineering?
Or do you just go with lowest bidder for the part as drawn on the print?