Be Weary of the Low Quote for Fabrication Services. It Can Cost You in the Long Run

Anyone who enjoys working with their hands has been tempted to run into the nearest store and grab a bargain-priced tool just to finish a job. Hours later, with scrapped knuckles and raising blood pressure due to that low-cost specimen being broken in pieces, the project still isn’t done. A tool that can’t perform is not worth saving a few bucks.

That certainly applies when comparing quotes from fabrication shops. On the surface, paying less for services would seem to be a good way to add profit to the bottom line. A poor fabrication vendor can cost you much more in terms of your reputation, and even lead to losing customers due to sub-standard products and late deliveries.

Quality. Quality. Quality.

Quality comes first. Every one of our quotes comes with our attention to detail, engineering know-how, timely delivery, etc. included. This not just our opinion. We have been voted as one on the top 40 fabricators in the country by Fabrication magazine for two years running. Our standard for PPM (defects per million parts) is 200 PPM. The industry average is 1,000-3,000 PPM. The 200 PPM level of quality is considered world class for fabricators.  It’s not easy to do. It requires the use of premium equipment on the shop floor, a highly skilled workforce and implementation of continuous improvement programs such as 5S. We have maintained this level the past decade.

For more details on our quality program, read “Mastering the Science of Quality.”

Salvage Jobs

Customers who chose less expensive quotes often find that the quality of parts they received are not up to their standards or there have been some corners cut. As is with everything, there is always a trade off between cost and quality.

Rework can end up being very expensive. First of all, more than likely, it’s never in the budget for you or your supplier to begin with. A common defect are badly painted parts. Ultimately, they will need to be stripped down, then repainting in the paint booth, etc. Sometimes, it is less expensive just to start over. Sometimes, the part is so badly made, starting over is the only choice. We believe the term rework is all too common in the fabrication industry. If your going to do a job, do it right the first time and then you don’t have to worry about it.  

“Forgotten” Line Items

Is the low-cost option complete and accurate? Ours is. We make sure all the information that is required for the project has been documented before the quote is submitted. Since we know our customers’ histories, we may even point out something that was forgotten in the original request. Do we know the finish requirement, coating or plating options? Is there a dimension on the print that is unreadable? We ask questions and never assume.

This care minimizes price changes due to additional processes missed at the RFQ stage, and negative impacts to delivery times as well. The price on incomplete bids can escalate as missing processes are added on. Not to mention the production time lost while the bid is “fine-tuned.”

When you’re preparing your next fabrication bid, remind yourself how much you have to lose by accepting a low quote. Your reputation and business can be badly damaged by numbers that look good on paper, but end up costing you much more than the few dollars saved.