Cost reduction is always a top priority in any metal fabrication project. There are many potential ways of reducing cost, such as requoting and overseas sourcing, but the best way to reduce cost starts with design.
Requoting (proceed with caution)
When requoting parts, there is always a risk of price increases due to material cost hikes, inflation, and increased labor rates. This can go either way and is not always the solution. This could also be a Band-Aid solution as vendors may undercut the cost at first to get their foot in the door, only to raise prices down the road. It could come back to haunt you.
Send Overseas (do your homework)
With today’s markets and ever changing tariffs/trade deals, you just never know. The costs could be good this year, and devastating the next. With all the work that goes into sourcing parts overseas, it would be a shame to spend all that time/money sending work away from your fellow Americans, only to bring it back in a year or two. Other major issues with this solution that are far too often over looked, are the quality and lead time concerns. If you go this route remember that many of the “cheaper” countries do not abide to the same standards as American companies (you get what you pay for). I have seen this far too many times. This solution also forces companies to require a very detailed, thorough, and stellar scheduling/purchasing department that needs to be consistently planning months in advance and CAN NOT be short staffed. If one part was missed on a PO, or had quality issues it could set you back over 5 weeks (in shipping time alone!), otherwise expect a very heavy air freight fee.
The Best Way to Reduce Cost
The absolute best way to reduce part costs starts with design. Simplicity is key. Whenever possible it is always best to reduce part counts and look to for ways to reduce the number of processes a part needs. DFMA (Design For Manufacture and Assembly) is a highly overlooked process in which engineers (mainly Design, Manufacturing, and Quality) review parts to reduce over tolerancing, excessive processing, and potential assembly issues. It’s important to keep an open mind during these reviews and to listen to constructive criticism.