From coordinate measurement machines to training, in-house metrology can be a huge investment. Knowing when to outsource and when it’s worth it to introduce or expand the quality assurance department can be the difference that keeps your competitive edge sharp. If you’re debating hiring contract inspection services or buying new equipment, here are some of the scenarios in which outsourcing is the best answer.
Bottlenecks – The majority of shops using contract services actually have their own quality departments already. However, they may not be as flexible as the rest of the production line when orders grow and delays ensue. If your inspection department is at capacity, it may make sense to send the extra work to a metrology house to keep up your pace.
Unusual Components – Sometimes, you have to deal with parts outside of your typical purview that may be too large, too small, or too complex for your in-house tools. If you have a temporary need to analyze unusually complicated components, it doesn’t make sense to buy new machines. The economical answer is turning to a company that already has the capacity.
Bids–You’re never in a position to tool yourself for business you haven’t signed yet, but new business sometimes means expanding into new parts. If your company is bidding for a contract, outside metrology can be the solution that proves your shop’s ability to deliver. Measurement solutions providers always have the most up-to-date machines in use and hold themselves to the most rigorous testing and calibration standards.
Small Production Runs –Small orders for particular components requiring unique coordinate measurement machines or multisensor systems can mean you’ll be using equipment below capacity or leave you holding a white elephant. There’s no promise that contracts in the future will utilize new investments. When it comes to long-term planning, outsourcing can save you big time if your expansion plans fall through. There’s a right time to expand inspection departments and a wrong time. Before you do, make sure it’s a sound idea, especially when alternative solutions can keep your long-term costs down.
Under Capacity Equipment – Maintaining under capacity equipment and keeping staff trained to use it may mean that it’s time to offload and use contract services instead. Houses like Canadian Measurement-Metrology, or CMM, keep diverse equipment on hand and can use the best measurement machines for the part.Besides cutting maintenance and training costs, this will also free up space for some much-needed retooling. Before you give up on a machine, though, evaluate whether its lack of use is needs based or because you don’t have the manpower to keep it running when it should be. If you do decide it’s best to do without, companies like CMM also buy used machines.
Outsourcing can also provide easy access to services like reverse engineering, tooling verification, and dimensional inspection. If you’re not sure if a contract measurement company is right for your needs, simply look up their ANAB accreditations and compare them to your requirements for linear accuracy or calibration. Check out Cmmxyz.com and find out everything you need to know about outsourcing. Use well-equipped, trained service providers to maximize turnaround and protect your bottom line.