10 Questions to Ask Your Metal Parts Manufacturer
Choosing the right partner for your metal project can be a perplexing process—unless you know the right questions to ask.
Throughout the metal manufacturing process you’ll come up against many choices, but the most important is choosing a reliable metal parts manufacturer. Deciding between prospective fabricators can feel overwhelming at times because you want to make the right choice the first time to avoid costly delays—and get to work developing a strong relationship that allows you to succeed together.
Metal fabrication is essential in industries from construction and equipment manufacturing to agriculture and aerospace. The best manufacturing partner will offer not just the technical and engineering capabilities but also cost-effectiveness, high-quality production, professional systems, streamlined logistics, and excellent communication.
We’ve pulled together a list of 10 critical questions to ask as you’re considering where to manufacture your metal parts.
Table of Contents
What to Consider When Looking for Metal Parts Manufacturers
Innovative Metal Manufacturing Technologies
It’s an exciting time to be in the business of manufacturing metals. We’ve seen great strides in automation and computer-aided manufacturing, including innovations like CNC machining. CNC (computer numerical control) is the automation of machine instruments through the use of computers which have been programmed to execute any number of commands. Integrating this type of manufacturing increases productivity and efficiency over the long run.
You Ask: What manufacturing technology does your company have access to?
A Sustainable Approach to Metal Parts Manufacturing
The manufacturing industry is experiencing a seismic shift thanks to artificial-intelligence-powered manufacturing systems. Part of this shift involves making metal manufacturing more sustainable, which reduces environmental impact. New processing methods eliminate the need for toxic solvents and materials, and consume far less energy than typical processing methods—along with improving efficiency.
You Ask: What percentage of the product will be made with sustainable materials?
Experience in Metal Parts Manufacturing
A qualified metal fabricator will have plenty of experience in making the exact type of products you need. Look for a fabricator who has years—or, better, decades—of experience in your industry and an excellent track record with customers.
You Ask: Which industries and clients have you worked with in the past? What examples or references can you provide?
Core Capabilities and Machinery List
Each metal part and product requires a different fabrication approach, process, and specialized equipment. For instance, sheet metal fabrication requires lathe, grinding, and drilling machines, while metal extrusions call for extruders. In metal stamping, which calls for raised (or sometimes flat) shapes in metal, a turret-like punching press is required.
You Ask: How will your specialized metal fabrication equipment improve my final product?
Customization in Metal Manufacturing
One of the biggest decisions to make in metal manufacturing projects is whether to go with off-the-shelf components or custom metal fabrication solutions. Custom fabrication services allow you to go beyond the store-bought to create a customized, high-quality fit for your application, with optimized designs and tailor-made solutions.
You Ask: What is the timeline for a custom metal fabricated product? What processes do you use to create custom metal parts?
Reputation for Quality in the Manufacturing Industry
You’re dedicated to producing top-quality products, and that means you’ll need to find a manufacturer with a reputation for quality standards to match your own. The first thing to look for are certifications that demonstrate quality processes and top-quality criteria—for instance, ISO certification, which indicates an internationally recognized seal of approval for the company’s quality standards processes.
You Ask: How do you measure and track quality performance?
Does the manufacturer in question have the capability to handle your project size and complexity within the time frame you have designated? Most projects are time-sensitive, and the best partner will be committed to manufacturing high-quality, cost-effective, time-sensitive solutions.
Question to ask your manufacturer: What’s the turnaround time for manufacturing projects similar in scope?
In-House Expertise in Metal Manufacturing
Often, metal products producers will specialize in a particular type of fabrication. Look for companies with in-house expertise, engineers, and designers equipped to handle your specific metal manufacturing needs.
You Ask: Take us through the production process—which parts of the process can be completed on site and which will need to be outsourced?
One-Stop Shop for Metal Parts Manufacturing
As you’re likely discovering, the research process for finding the best metal parts manufacturer can be quite time consuming. What other services can the potential manufacturing partner provide so you can use them for more than one project, rather than starting from scratch with researching various new vendors?
You Ask: What are your metal manufacturing specialties outside the scope of this particular project?
Impeccable Customer Service
Even the highest-tech equipment can’t make up for disappointing customer service. The best metal parts manufacturing partners will have well-trained, experienced engineers and project managers ready to answer your questions and guide you through the process.
You Ask: Will I have a dedicated point of contact to keep me updated on project timelines and other milestones on my project?
Looking for the best metal parts manufacturers?
As your metal parts experts, The Federal Group specializes in metal fabrication. The best products start with the best parts—and the best parts start with engineers at the top of their fields. Our expert team is knowledgeable about the latest materials, manufacturing capabilities, and processes. If you’re looking for a reliable metal parts manufacturer, we just might be a perfect fit.
Contact us to get started on a free quote for your metal fabrication project today.