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Picking Your Metal Manufacturer

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

To pick the best manufacturer for the custom metal project you know will set your retail, automotive, architectural, health-care, or hospitality environment alight, you need to bear a few things in mind. Price is just one of them.

After all, it’s more than just economics that should inform such a decision. Everyone’s got a story about having signed on with a sweet-sounding manufacturer whose products turned out to be of dubious quality, who may have been late with delivery, and who also charged a raft of hidden fees. In the interest of sidestepping such a scenario, here are seven non-price-related considerations to bear in mind in this critical pursuit:

The beauty of one. Managing multiple metal manufacturer relationships is an organizational challenge. Working with a single contract metal manufacturer spares you endless supplier facility visits. It also means you only have to oversee one point of contact.

The consistency piece. Ask whether a manufacturer supports a consistent scale of parts throughout each process. In this way, you can be reassured that its service spectrum is comprehensive enough to save your job from outsourcing at points along the way.

The subject of history. Get a feel for contenders’ experience and reputation by requesting at least three references. Get in touch with them all and probe their stories about exposure to this supplier comprehensively.

The value of values. Consider a manufacturer’s values and how they match up with your own. Are they as green as you need them to be? As committed to quality?

Communication is key. Ask about a manufacturer’s process, from design to delivery. Do they favour a practice of regular engagement with clients? Is that important to you?

But can you do it quickly? Consider lead times. A manufacturer of metal products, whether for a prototype or a final product, has to be capable of seeing through the swift turnarounds your project requires.

Quality, at last. Finally, it’s key to ask the manufacturer to explain their quality assurance processes for the finishing and transport of your products. The use of computer numerical control (or CNC manufacturing) can significantly increase expectations on this front.

Identifying the manufacturer who can most capably see through your custom task, start to finish, is critical to realizing your metal dream. Choose carefully.

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