When selecting a metal manufacturing company to fabricate your product, there’s a lot to consider.
There are the standard factors, such as:
- Quality assurance practices
- Relevant services and capabilities
- Competitive costs and lead times
- Customer service
But the #1 thing that often goes overlooked until the last second -- even though it should be the first thing on your list: Location.
Why A Metal Manufacturing Company’s Location Matters
A metal fabrication company’s location can have big impacts on your overall production costs. It affects such elements as:
- Shipping expenses
- Lead times
- Supply chain partners
Before you set your heart on a metal manufacturing company, take a hard look at how its location will affect your bottom line.
Imagine this: You're searching for a custom metal manufacturer to make your product. You visit a few websites, solicit some quotes, and narrow it down to “The One.” Despite this company being located across the country, you partner with them. Everything goes smoothly up until the final bill arrives. It’s a lot more than what they quoted.
Why is this?
Shipping costs are likely the culprit.
Shipping is a huge factor in total production costs -- it can make or break your budget, no matter how competitive rates are. When products have to travel long distances, it simply costs more. This is especially true in metal manufacturing, where heavy and large products like stainless steel tubes already cost more to ship.
The farther away your product is, the longer it takes for you to receive it.
Working with a metal fabrication company that’s more than a day trip away practically guarantees you’ll have to account for a longer lead time in your production schedule. That can make for some pretty tight deadlines and added pressure to meet them.
It also takes longer to send back defective or damaged products that slipped through inspection, turning mistakes into a double gut punch.
Supply Chain Partners
If you're partnering with multiple manufacturers to make your product, you'll also need to think about their proximity to one another. Shipping between facilities is a huge driver of unexpected costs and increases
Also consider lost or defective shipments -- it will take longer to identify these, and you'll receive good products more slowly even with a quick turnaround.
Access to Infrastructure
While proximity to your company is one thing -- another often overlooked location consideration is how far away a metal manufacturer is from major railroads, highways, and other shipping routes. The more effort it takes to ship your product, the more it'll cost.
Selecting the Right Metal Manufacturing Company
From logistics to lead times, a metal manufacturer’s location is one of the biggest drivers in overall production costs. When seeking out a metal fabrication company to partner with, keep its location front of mind -- it can save you from a lot of extra expenses and headaches later on.
Want to make an even more cost-effective choice in partnering with a custom metal manufacturer? Learn more about the benefits of an all-in-one facility here:
(Editor’s note: This article was originally posted in April 2017 and was recently updated.)