Original Equipment Manufacturers are demanding shorter and shorter lead times on prototypes and production orders. Contract manufacturers have to make a number of changes in order to serve these customers. Master Spring is a good example of a contract manufacturer that has made changes to shrink its lead times on rapid prototype orders and production orders. In this two-part series, we’ll explain how we do it.
First, Master Spring made short lead times its main competitive strategy. Most contract manufacturers would probably say that having short lead times is part of their strategy. Truly embracing this strategy and using it to guide all of your decisions is different from rushing and expediting jobs through your shop.
Investment in the Latest Equipment
Second, Master Spring invested in the latest CNC coiling and forming equipment. By having computer control over all movements of the machine and being able to save computer programs, set-ups are much quicker the first time and even faster to repeat for following orders. Older equipment, like fourslides, require hard tooling that has to be milled and is unique for each part number. The unique, hard tooling can take weeks to make. If the customer makes changes to the part after testing the prototype, the hard tooling on the fourslide would have to be adjusted or even possibly re-made. Changes to parts made on CNC equipment are done quickly either with a quick change in the program or by using a different standard tool from inventory.
Investment in CNC Milling Equipment
Third, Master Spring invested in CNC milling equipment in order to make its own tooling. There are parts that require special tooling that is not available in the standard tooling inventory. When this happens, the contract manufacturer does not want to wait for a tool to be made at an outside tooling vendor. The newer CNC milling machines allow tools to be made quickly by having computer control over movement and easier software interfaces with the machine.
Achieving short lead times means adopting and fully implementing this priority into your corporate strategy. In addition, investing in the latest equipment and technologies can significantly reduce your lead times.
Experience our short lead times for yourself. Contact us to learn about the custom springs and wire forms we can manufacture for you.