Cost-Saving Strategies for Your Heavy Fabrication Sub-Assemblies
It is imperative that OEMs reduce costs and increase operations efficiency to remain competitive. To achieve these objectives, many companies utilize sub-assemblies as part of the assembly process. Heavy fabrication projects often have numerous individual parts – sometimes on the order of hundreds or thousands - that are needed to assemble a final product. Sub-assembly is the process by which related components are assembled into a part for future use in the assembly of the final product. Preparing sub-assemblies before they are needed for final product assembly increases productivity and increases speed to market, saving OEMs significant time and money.
Cost Saving Strategies for Heavy Fabrication Sub-Assemblies
- Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA): cost-saving strategies for sub-assemblies start well before the production and assembly phases are underway. The concept of DFMA is that potential manufacturing or assembly issues are identified and resolved during the design phase, avoiding costly disruptions to the project budget and schedule. DFMA is an element of lean manufacturing practices as it focuses on getting the design right in order to minimize rework and waste during the production and assembly steps. The DFMA approach is an excellent cost-saving strategy for OEMs as it increases operations efficiency and reduces time to market.
- Simplify and Standardize: during the design phase, it is important to analyze the heavy fabrication design to identify opportunities to simplify or standardize. It is no surprise that complexity drives up the cost of manufacturing and sub-assembly. Part complexity takes many forms and includes geometry, special features, surface finishes, and part size along with other specifications. For example, when designing parts with holes or other features, opt for standard drill sizes for ease of manufacturing and assembly. It is important that OEMs ensure that every aspect of the design is truly necessary to achieve the requisite functionality – and when in doubt, simplify and standardize to save costs during production, sub-assembly, and final product assembly.
- Just-In-Time Sub-Assemblies: one area of waste often identified during manufacturing assessments is surplus inventory. To minimize this form of waste, it is key to have the right sub-assemblies and quantity where and when they are needed for final product assembly. This approach is called Just-In-Time (JIT) manufacturing and assembly and is applicable whether OEMs perform sub-assembly in-house or outsource this service. The JIT approach reduces the level of sub-assembly inventory required as well as the duration that sub-assemblies are stored before being incorporated into the final product assembly – leading to lower OEM manufacturing costs.
- Consolidate Assembly Suppliers: over time, OEMs may find they have acquired a large supply chain that can be challenging and time-consuming to manage – including multiple sub-assembly and assembly suppliers. One cost-cutting measure is to consolidate the supply base into fewer partners. This approach reduces the opportunity for miscommunications or finger-pointing when it is time to take responsibility for an issue – resulting in increased productivity and lower production and assembly costs for OEMs.
- Consider Single-Source Outsourcing: heavy fabrication sub-assemblies continue to increase in complexity. In many cases, they require intricate builds with specialized equipment that demand skilled technicians. Many OEMs simply do not have the in-house equipment and skill sets required to complete intricate, high-quality assemblies. For this reason, outsourcing sub-assemblies and final assembly to a third party makes good business sense. Contract manufacturers have the necessary tools and skilled workforce to complete complex assemblies, often times at a higher level of quality than the OEM. Additionally, contract manufacturers are experienced in a broad range of product inspection and testing duties and often assume these responsibilities as well. OEMs can rest assured the sub-assembly and final assembly will arrive on-time and be fully functional. When partnering with a single-source provider, like ABS, customers receive a complete manufacturing solution that strengthens their supply chain. Since every step in the manufacturing process builds upon the next, it is cost-effective to partner with a supplier that can start and end the project with you – from the concept and design phase through production, sub-assembly and final assembly operations.
Benefits of Outsourcing Assemblies
Many companies heavily rely on outsourcing to remain competitive and keep costs low. While all supply chain processes can be outsourced, many OEMs are looking at heavy fabrication sub-assembly and product assembly as an area of opportunity. Outsourcing assemblies saves OEMs time, money, and resources – giving an invaluable competitive edge.
- Lower Cost - one key driver for outsourcing is the expected cost savings. The cost benefits are typically from lower labor, operating, inventory, and overhead expenses. In addition, OEMs that outsource services do not sink significant capital in assets, and can utilize capital resources more strategically.
- Increased Efficiency - selecting a third party with experience and expertise in sub-assemblies typically results in higher productivity and efficiency than performing the service in-house. Additionally, in-house personnel are no longer needed to perform all assembly services and can focus their efforts on more value-added jobs that deliver a competitive edge such as proprietary final assembly.
- Decrease Time to Market - when services such as assembly are sourced to a contract manufacturer, OEMs often realize a reduction in the time required to complete the final product, improving the overall speed to market.
- Improve Quality - product quality often improves due to leveraging the third party’s established and vetted best practices, processes, and expertise in sub-assemblies and final product assembly.
- Greater Volume Flexibility - sourcing sub-assembly allows business flexibility and a more nimble response to market or demand fluctuations, whereas OEMs that solely perform the assembly work in-house may be unable to fill an unexpected increase in product demand due to manpower, inventory or other internal constraints. Outsourcing helps shield OEMs from the internal ramping up or down due to business cycles.
ABS Mechanical Assembly Experience
ABS is a leader is the fabrication and assembly of machinery and sub-assemblies. With vast experience in machine building spanning over 40 years, ABS has built an impressive track record in the following areas. From the inception of the project, we form a team of program managers and specialists dedicated to the successful management of each project. Our multi-disciplined team of engineers, electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical specialists work closely with our clients to deliver a quality product, on time and in budget. Click here to view a video overview of our fabrication and assembly services.
- Hydro-Electric Assemblies
- Tunnel Boring Machines, or TBMS
- Mining Sub-Assemblies
- Steel Mill Equipment and Machinery
Contact us today to see how we can help with your heavy fabrication sub-assembly, or give us a call at 1-844-227-6224.
CNC MACHINING · FABRICATION · ASSEMBLY
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ABS offers a unique combination of medium to high volume production machining and welding services.
80 Large Advanced CNC Machine Tools
ABS is one of the largest and most advanced manufacturing companies in North America.
6 Plants with lifting capacity up to 160 Tons
The ABS 5-Axis machining department has been built from the ground up with our customers’ needs in mind.
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Heavy Fabrication Mig, Tig, Flux Core, Sub Arc
Mig, Tig, Flux Core, Sub Arc
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Inconel 625 Hotwire Tig
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Quality Assurance & Control