The CNC machining service industry can be a very tough, prohibitive nut to crack. Being inherently a very technical field with stringent requirements for skill, problem-solving ability, and creativity, success in this field can sometimes present itself as a very narrow road. In this article however, a few tips are going to be highlighted that if followed, can get you one step closer to achieving success in the business.
“CNC machining is tough”, “client requirements are too technical”,” I’m finding it too difficult for my business to break even” – these are some of the statements that those running CNC machining services usually use to describe their business situation. However true they might be, it is important to note that no business enterprise on the planet is easy – every one comes with its own unique kind of hurdle, pitfall, difficulty, and risk. As the saying goes, if it was easy, everyone would do it.
CNC machining is an industry that has exploded in popularity and acceptance over the course of the last decade. Previously, it was only reserved for services and companies that had high operating budgets and could hire the highly skilled workers to operate the computers that controlled the machines that worked on the materials. Nowadays however, CNC machining is just about accessible to anyone determined enough, with resource materials available on the internet and machines costing a fraction of what they used to.
This has spawned a multitude of underlying industries, one of them being the CNC machining service business. These businesses usually utilize CNC machining to manufacture client prototypes, parts, and components according to client specifications. Three unique requirements that are typical with CNC machining are skilled manpower (fewer workers however), machinery, and work floor space. There are, of course, other elements required for it to function but these are the major ones. In this article, we are going to discuss some tips to improve efficiency, using these cornerstone requirements as reference points.
Streamline your business. As most management professionals would say, make sure to regularly trim out the excess fat from your business. A figure of speech in this context, the excess fat refers to materials, expenditures, personal, and processes that are not absolutely crucial to the survival of your business. Only employ the absolute minimum number of workers your business needs to function at optimum level. Purchase only the right number of machines that are required at a particular time (you can scale further as you begin to diversify your project portfolio). Cut out any process that does not add value to your clients. A lean business performing at optimum capacity is exponentially more likely to succeed than a bloated one.
Maintain good client relationships. Clients are to a CNC service what customers are to retail stores. They are the benefactors and should be treated as such. One thing that many service businesses fail to understand is that happy clients mean more clients. Take the time out to always understand client requirements so that you can tailor the execution of the project to fit into their vision, keeping them satisfied and primed to offer you even more projects.
Reduce costs. With this kind of business, there are broadly two main categories of expenses associated with its management and functioning: One-time expenses and recurrent expenses. The former accounts for tools, implements, and other factors of production that are paid for at once and owned forever (at least until they need to be replaced). Recurrent expenses, however, are the focus of this point. Because they pop up more often and are usually smaller amounts, they are more difficult to manage and might creep up to the point where they are effectively able to bankrupt the business. They include utilities, bills, equipment maintenance costs, etc. Always make sure to keep a strong handle on the recurrent expenditures that your business is making.
Keep your workers happy. To begin with, CNC machining services don’t usually need that many people. So, it is absolutely imperative that you look after the welfare of the few workers that you employ. Believe it or not, happier workers are more efficient and effective.
Ensure that the papers are always up to date. To run a business like this, there are a certain set of certifications, licenses, and tax filings that need to be done. In a country like the USA, this can seem a little bit overwhelming and so it is always advisable to consult with the adequate legal and financial experts before starting out.
There you have it. In conclusion, a business like this is very hands-on. It requires the attention of the concerned parties to set a course for the business and follow its trajectory. Buying the required tools and materials is only the first step. The amount of dedication put into the day-to-day running of the business is the actual make or break factor.
For more information about CNC, check out our article on CNC milling.