speed, cost, and quality
November 17, 2022

Cost, Speed, Quality: What to Consider When Choosing a Manufacturing Partner

When choosing a manufacturing partner, price is only one of a few key factors you should consider. Keep reading to learn

  • Which three factors to evaluate when selecting a collaborative partner
  • How to prioritize these factors and make a final partnership decision
  • Why your priorities will shift as your team advances through your product’s lifecycle  

3 Considerations When Selecting a Manufacturing Partner

Those familiar with project management already know about the “project management trifecta” comprising scope, schedule, and budget. All three variables are critical, yet only two can be controlled at any one time.

A similar trifecta exists in the manufacturing industry:

  1. Speed
  2. Cost
  3. Quality

As with the project management variables, manufacturing’s triple constraint prevents precision machine shops from controlling more than two variables at once.

In other words, if you want quick turnaround and high quality, it will cost more money. If you’re okay with spending more and speed is non-negotiable, the quality may decline. Lastly, if you’re willing to wait, you can achieve high quality at a lower cost.

Of course, reputable businesses find ways to navigate all three variables comfortably. Still, the fact remains: when selecting a manufacturing partner, you need to know what’s most important to the success of your project. And your priorities will almost certainly shift depending on how far you’ve advanced through the product development process.

How Priorities Shift as Product Development Progresses

When your team is still in the innovation phase, your top two priorities are likely high-quality parts and guaranteed lead times. Eventually, cost reduction will take priority, but not yet! Elbows-deep in innovation, your ideas require quick iteration and proven quality.

If you prioritize cost reduction from the outset, your opportunity costs will increase. The tradeoff for immediate savings will be obvious down the road—if not outright devastating to the success of your project. 

Think of it this way: a less-expensive part with mismatched holes is dumpster fodder. And there is a tremendous cost to reworking a part that should have been finalized many weeks or months ago.

When to prioritize cost reduction

There is a time to prioritize cost reduction, however. 

If you’re beyond the innovation phase and operating in a stable state, or if you’ve reached the sunset phase, it’s time to focus on cost reduction. With your product’s kinks and challenges worked through, you can more effectively forecast 3-6 months ahead.  

The path from innovation to production

Kinetic Technologies is fully tooled to provide high-quality prototype machining with fast production times, enabling your team to fine-tune your product through quick iteration. 

As you emerge from the innovation phase, ready to cut costs and place a high-volume order, Kinetic can assist in transitioning your production to a high-volume manufacturer who can serve your evolving needs.

4 Qualities to Look for in a Manufacturing Partner

At every stage of product development, you deserve a manufacturing partner who can meet your immediate needs and guide you to the next step. As you evaluate potential manufacturers, you’ll want to find out: 

  • What is the configuration of the manufacturing team?
  • What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses? 

Here are four qualities to look for in a manufacturing partner: 

1. Adept

A manufacturer’s team is a direct reflection of their skill set, so you want to make sure their team is adept in various critical areas. 

At Kinetic, along with our precision machine shop experts, we employ a high concentration of engineers and builders, enabling us to speak intelligently with any engineering team. From conversing in person to reading your drawings to implementing design modifications, we’re experts at fusing engineering design with practical manufacturing.

2. Agile

Kinetic embraces the Agile methodology, which enables our team to begin a project quickly and implement changes without delay. This iterative process leaves breathing room in our calendar, allowing our team to work faster and expedite orders as needed. From our RFQ system to your product development project, Kinetic is built to facilitate success. 

3. Design-focused

If a manufacturer tells you, “We aren’t really focused on design,” they probably aren’t a great fit for your prototype machining needs. 

The Kinetic Design team exists to provide you with a clear path from concept development to initial production. And when you’re ready to take the next step and begin mass production, we don’t simply abandon you to find a solution on your own. We gladly guide you through your options and help you establish a high-volume manufacturing solution.

4. Communicative

At Kinetic, clear communication and ongoing conversations are the foundation of every working relationship—within our own team and with yours! We listen to your needs and offer our expertise to inform your ideas and innovations.

Kinetic Technologies Provides Premium Value

When you’re ready to choose your manufacturing partner, Kinetic is here to help bring your ideas to life. Request a quote, and let’s work together on your next project! 

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Kinetic Technologies eBook
Kinetic Technologies eBook

Discover What Welding Robot Owners Should Know About Robotic Welding Fixtures & Positioners in our exclusive Ebook.