New technologies have historically provided groundbreaking avenues for potential growth, especially for suppliers. From the first commercially available water jets and the first connected CNC milling machine to the wonders of multi-axis CNC machines and 3D printers accessible via the cloud, suppliers have been able to meet pressure to lower costs and increase productivity with the help of continuously advancing technology.
Still, given the ebb and flow in demand across the various manufacturing sectors, machine shops that hustle to keep up with the Jetsons can find themselves in a bit of a bind when supply outpaces demand right after purchasing a new $250,000 machine. If technology is the path to staying relevant in our industry, it can also be the fastest path to bankruptcy.
“We at Xometry take technology’s power very seriously, and believe firmly that technology can be a useful servant for our — and our customers’ — ends.”
What’s a CNC machine shop to do? Just as new tech presents new challenges, it also presents new opportunities. Here’s a closer look at some of the ways suppliers can leverage available and emerging technologies to make more money without having to lose their shirts in the process.
Expand Capabilities Without Increasing Capex
You know your current capabilities like the back of your hand, which is why, every time an RFQ comes in that you don’t have the right machine or tooling for, you call it a no-quote and move on. You can’t make money on what you can’t make, right?
Wrong. Some shop somewhere is going to make that no-bid, so why not think like a purchaser and outsource it yourself?
Not too many years ago, acting like the middle man to squeeze a few dollars out of an RFQ here and there wouldn’t have been worth your time or effort — and that’s if the shops you outsourced to could always be counted on to deliver on time and at quality — but technology now makes it possible for you to expand your capabilities with minimal time and effort just by connecting to the internet.
With Xometry’s distributed and nationwide partner network, everyone now has access to diverse machining, 3D printing, sheet metal fabricating, urethane casting and injection molding capabilities and tons of capacity right here in the U.S.A. Whether you land a complex job with a couple parts outside your capabilities or you find yourself running behind on things and you need some help meeting deadlines, signing up as a customer with Xometry can help relieve some pressure and net you more cash. When you leverage our tech as a partner and a customer, we’ll make it possible to:
1. Say yes to more jobs — including no-quotes that fall outside your capabilities.
2. Bid on jobs with a larger family of parts that you wouldn’t have otherwise had the time to complete within the customer’s time frame.
3. Meet deadlines when you get behind, since you can upload languishing jobs to Xometry, and we’ll get them finished on time for you.
By thinking of Xometry as a free way to extend your capabilities and your capacity, you’ll be making tech work for you without having to purchase any of the tech that’s doing the heavy lifting.
Start Demanding 3D Files
Over 60% of machine shops in the United States routinely make use CAM software, yet far too many manufacturers still only provide a 2D drawing when they need you to run parts. While a 2D drawing is obviously sufficient, having 3D models would make it easier to get started, further the push in U.S. manufacturing for standards, while also ensuring the jobs you do always get done at quality.
It’s time for suppliers to demand 3D models along with their 2D drawings. Not only will the two file types more readily reveal any discrepancies or problems that may exist (which will protect you and the manufacturer from having to negotiate rework terms), but streamlining expectations will make your business operations more efficient, which will inevitably save you money.
It’s also not that big of a deal for engineers to provide a 3D model. They all use CAD programs for design work, which means producing a 3D model is as easy as clicking a button. So make your life and work easier, reduce rework and increase quality by demanding all your jobs come with 3D models.
Join Our Network
Finally, one of the easiest ways CNC machining suppliers in the United States can make more money off new tech is to join our qualified partner network. As a no-cost extension of your sourcing team, we won’t just send jobs your way — we’ll send the right jobs your way.
We provide you with the sorts of work you’re most qualified to do and the work you like to do. We do this by gathering data about your shop, while we qualify you. We find out everything we can, including the machines you have, the axes on those machines, whether you prefer high-precision work, small batch and low-volume jobs, prototyping or production runs and the hours you have available for us to put work on. The more we know, the better our matching capabilities, the higher our quality outputs and the happier we all are.
We at Xometry take technology’s power very seriously, and believe firmly that technology can be a useful servant for our — and our customers’ — ends. All it takes is access to to the internet. There’s nothing to download, and using Xometry to get and process jobs is intuitive and simple — sign up as a partner and a customer today.
This blog was originally posted on MakeTime April 14, 2017 and has been updated and reposted as part of the MakeTime and Xometry merger.