Friday, 14 August 2015 00:00

Know the Difference: Why the Manufacturing Process Matters

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While size might not matter, quality certainly does, and there is nothing more frustrating than designing an amazing product just to find that it does not work as expected.  It is even more frustrating when you find that the problem is with the quality of one of the smallest components in the product.  How do you ensure that every component works as it should?  The answer is to put quality first, even with the smallest parts of your product, the fasteners.

 

Why Quality Matters

Recall-symbol-smallHigher quality fasteners would have saved you the additional costs of repairing the engine and replacing any damaged parts or worse - a recall.Imagine for a moment that you are about to finally place the engine in your automobile.  You have worked hard to ensure that every part of the engine works as effectively as possible, but now you are faced with a choice; do you cut your costs by using inexpensive bolts to keep it in place or go for the more expensive ones that will increase your overhead and reduce your profit?

It might be tempting to go for the inexpensive ones.  After all, they are not essential to the working of the engine; they simply hold it in place.  However, the cost effectiveness of this approach is sorely tested when the engine fails as it leaves the factory.  Paying that little bit more for higher quality fasteners would have saved you the additional costs of repairing the engine and replacing any damaged parts or worse - a recall.

The importance of quality does not stop here; any parts that need to be fastened to other parts have the potential to become unfastened, particularly if the fasteners used are not fit for purpose.

Ensuring Quality through Manufacturing

There are three important elements that ensure quality in any industry; the automotive industry is no different.  These are:

  • Proper Materials
  • Process Control
  • Inspection

If the materials used are substandard, the finished article will also be substandard.  The same is true of the processes that are used.  Each process must be carried out professionally, by a qualified and experienced individual, using the appropriate tools and equipment.  Even if the first two elements are in place, lack of inspection and quality control can lead to substandard parts being passed through to the consumer.  Buying your fasteners from a company that understands the manufacturing process and uses a range of skilled individuals and experts at each stage is essential.  While this may mean higher initial costs, it also means long-term savings both in terms of higher quality products that sell well and in terms of happier customers who return to you as their first choice.

The Key Manufacturing Processes

Automotive-Manufacturing-smallFinding the right supplier for your fasteners requires you to understand the process.  When you are aware of the essentials of the manufacturing process, you can ask the right questions, as well as judge the knowledge behind the answers.  Key questions you should ask include:

  • What materials are used for your cold-formed products?
  • Is the manufacturing process under control?
  • Are the components heat-treated to blueprint specifications?
  • Are finishes applied to the components per blueprint specifications?
  • What inspection processes does your supplier have in place?
  • Will your parts be shipped on time?

The company you choose should be able to answer these questions with confidence.  If any of the processes do not ring true, chances are using the company will be a poor investment for your business in the long term, so being able to tell the difference between the cost-effective and inexpensive manufacturing processes could mean the difference between your success and failure.

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