How to expand your CNC machine shop operation?
Growing any business can be a difficult undertaking. The crowded manufacturing industry of seasoned competitors require small CNC machine shops to make consistent shifts in the way they operate especially due to the volatility of a seemingly never-ending pandemic. Let's take a deep breath and review how your CNC machine shop can perfect a growth strategy that wins new agreements despite today's challenging obstacles.
Tap Into Your Existing Network
Developing partnerships by relying on your current connections can jump start your CNC machine shop business growth. Below are just a few ideas to consider.
- Reconnect with existing friendships.
- Connect on social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook
- Build your network through industry events and webinars.
Leveraging this list will enable your friends to refer clients, set the stage for new opportunities with strategic partnerships and provide an educational portal for best business practices and advice.
Target Niche Markets
Make the best use of your specialty by targeting your market niche. Fanuc Spares, for example, focuses only on CNC machine tools and specializes just in replacement parts.
Focus on High Volume Contracts
Try to set up relationships with companies that purchase your shop's specialty products at a rate favorable to your production cycle and turnover. For example, your machine shop may specialize in components that are ideal for very small highly dynamic applications such as:
- General construction machinery
- Automatic doors
- Measuring machines
- Handling systems
- Delta pick and place robot
What costs can your CNC Machine Shop cut right now?
Learning how to manufacture parts that minimize costs and still comply with your design requirements should be the main priority when it comes to CNC machining. It doesn't matter if you are looking to create a single prototype or you are ready for large-scale production, your decisions as the designer can greatly affect the final pricing. The price of CNC machined parts depends on the following:
CAD file preparation and process planning
These fixed cost decisions are significant for smaller volumes and offers an opportunity to reduce the unit price by taking advantage of "economies of scale".
Pay bulk cost for the right materials
You can greatly reduce the price if you optimize your design to incorporate material that can machine with ease while purchasing at a bulk discount.
Pay close attention to production costs
Parts with special requirements will impact the total manufacturing time and the price.
Ask yourself these question before taking on a specialty project:
- Will I need special machine tooling?
- How much time do I need for closer quality control?
- How many more processing steps do I need?
- Do I need lower machining speeds?
How to Pick the Right CNC Machine?
Purchasing machines that are not yet cost-efficient or enlarging facilities without the staff needed to maintain them can slow down business growth and actually hinder long-term expansion. In many cases, it may be better to concentrate on making steady gains rather than giant leaps forward, as even a small CNC machine shop with fewer than a dozen CNC machines or employees can still meet or exceed the national productivity average.
When to buy New machines for your CNC Machine Shop?
Shop owners might want to consider purchasing more manufacturing equipment to fulfill existing and future orders. This can be a difficult decision to make, as future growth isn't guaranteed and buying equipment has many upfront costs. On the positive side, new machinery equipment will increase production capacity and improve cycle times, which will in turn create more opportunities for your business. Business owners must weigh the risks versus the rewards.
When to buy used machines for your CNC Machine Shop?
If investing in new machinery isn't an option, see if you can modify and update your current equipment. This approach requires a much lower investment than purchasing new items, but it can still help improve your production capacity and cycle speeds.
To run smoothly and the equipment to last long, you must choose the right CNC machine as well as a brand that is known for quality. Below are some critical areas that you should not miss when evaluating CNC equipment for purchase.
CNC Machine Weight:
- Iron cast is the best build for durability and tough jobs. Other common materials used in the construction of CNC machines are aluminum, polymer composite which are suitable for lighter tasks.
CNC Machine Work Radius:
- When choosing a CNC machine, select the one that goes beyond the maximum area for your products.
CNC Machine Speed:
- Also known as the feed rate of your machine determines the rate at which you can cut materials during the actual manufacturing processes.
CNC Machine Spare Parts:
- When your CNC machine breaks down you should ensure that the brand that you purchase is readily available with spare parts to have shorter downtime.
CNC Machine Power Consumption:
- Check the power requirements of your machine and necessary adjustments needed to operate in your machine shop.
Growing your CNC machine shop operation requires tapping into your existing network, targeting niche markets and focusing on high volume contracts. It's also wise to figure out how you can cut production costs, material costs and the costs of your CAD file preparation so you can achieve the maximum amount of savings on the cost per manufactured unit. Finally, deciding between a used or new machine will determine how much short and long term spend that will need to be allocated in your budget. Overall, It does not matter if you are starting out fresh or trying to expand your existing operations, these core strategies will play a pivotal role in the success of your CNC business operations.