OEMs in the sphere of elevator and escalator manufacturing, like most industries, find that most of their labor costs reside between initial planning and final assembly. Given the level of control OEMs want over the cosmetics of their final product, especially an elevator’s interior, it makes sense there is a preference to keep the final assembly process in-house. Still, when it comes to manufacturing parts outside the cab, there are plenty of cost-saving opportunities OEMs can find with a competent contract manufacturer.
Consolidate Your Purchase Order
For OEM managers and purchasing teams alike, the ability to make one or two purchasing orders rather than 20 not only expedites the manufacturing process, but it also saves money. Whether or not an elevator/escalator OEM already outsources some of their manufacturing, it’s far less efficient to make 20 part orders only to have them welded in-house or with a different contract partner. Instead, a one part order simplifies the purchasing process, streamline’s shipment and helps ensure quality. The contract manufacturer that owns the fabrication of your product between design and final assembly should have a robust weld and assembly infrastructure themselves. Instead of simply having parts cut and formed, it’s easier to have the entire exterior of a cab shipped in than 20 independent cab components. Assuming the contract manufacturer is familiar with Canadian Weld Bureau welding standards, a one-stop shop partner is the way to go.
Contract Manufacturers and Prototyping
Depending on the level of an OEM’s investment in R&D, there might be a significant amount of resources poured into prototyping. In some cases, this could mean manufacturing and testing five different styles of cabs before choosing the one that goes to market. If you’re planning to work with a contract manufacturer to fabricate the cab exterior, you should look into their capability for producing prototypes. A quality metal fabricator can create prototypes that are ready to be sent to a test tower out of the box. The contract manufacturer can also make recommendations regarding materials, dimensional tolerances and manufacturing design, so you have an idea of what it will cost to produce a chosen cab en masse.
Application of Industry Best Practices
One of the advantages of working with a multi-industry contract manufacturer is the cross-pollination of industry best practices. When OEMs are working in the silo of their industry, it can be difficult to constantly innovate better methods of manufacturing. As an example, the typical material for a cab could be 36,000 pounds per square inch, where the strength requirement for the cab would be reached at a thickness of 1/4 of an inch. However, if a material used in other industries is applied, such as high-strength steel with good forming characteristics, it’s possible to reduce the thickness to 1/8 of an inch. This not only makes for a cab with a higher weight capacity, but it reduces costs and weight of material required for fabrication.
Cut Your Overhead with Custom Metal Fabrication
Considering the majority of your labor expense lies between design and final assembly, the cost savings of switching your manufacturing to a contract manufacturer are obvious. When you also consolidate the parts per order, the ease of receiving an out-of-the-box full cab exterior can save an OEM far more than relying on multiple contract partners. Finally, the convenience of prototyping with a contract manufacturer can help you save costs on expensive investments in capital equipment and additional labor. A custom metal fabrication contract manufacturer is the ideal route.