Why a Machine Shop No-Quotes — and How to Find One That Won’t
Have you ever encountered this situation? You send a request for a quote (RFQ) to a machine shop, only to be told that the order is too small, the part is too intricate, or the job is too complex. In some cases, you may not even receive a response at all. Does this sound familiar?
The disappointing "no-quote" response is often expected when submitting RFQs for intricate parts or unusual volume requirements. However, what if there was an alternative? Many machine shops tend to avoid challenging projects and use the "no-quote" response as an easy way out. To avoid this in the future, it's important to understand why shops respond this way and how to find one that embraces complex projects with enthusiasm. (Hint: Seek out a shop that enjoys tackling intricate parts as a thrilling challenge.)
Why Shops No-Quote
When machine shops decline to provide a quote, it is often due to limitations in their capabilities. For instance, a task that is straightforward for a milling-focused shop might be unfeasible for a shop specializing in stamping. A conventional 3-axis CNC machine may not be able to effectively produce a complex part with intricate features on multiple sides, whereas a 5-axis mill with a high-RPM spindle can. As a result, shops commonly decline to quote a job for one of the following reasons:
- The part is either too large or too small to be accommodated. While it's evident that parts exceeding the work envelope of specific equipment would result in no-quotes, smaller features or parts also fall into a gray area that many shops prefer to avoid.
- The job is deemed excessively time-consuming. Shops with limited capacity, older or fewer machines, or limited experience may conclude that dedicating resources to a lengthy project isn't cost-effective.
- The shop lacks the expertise required to handle the job. Parts may incorporate features that the shop has never encountered before, and they may be hesitant to invest in custom tooling or allocate programming resources to manufacture the part as designed.
- Tolerances pose a challenge. Checking tight tolerances on intricate features, specific surface finishes, profile tolerances, or other geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) requirements can be extremely difficult without advanced inspection equipment.
- Volume considerations come into play. Some shops may decline high-volume milling or lathe work due to insufficient machines or automated processes. Conversely, some shops may avoid prototype work as they lack the expertise to efficiently produce small quantities.
- Material expertise is lacking. A shop may lack sufficient experience with the required material. Each material type presents unique machining challenges, which further depend on factors such as part geometry, tolerances, finish requirements, and more. Additionally, certain materials can incur high costs, amplifying the risks associated with inexperience.
Common Types of No-Quote
Regrettably, the experience of receiving no-quotes often leaves customers feeling frustrated and abandoned. There are several common types of no-quotes, including instances where the RFQ is ignored entirely, receiving a refusal via email (with or without an explanation), or encountering passive-aggressive quoting tactics. An example of a passive-aggressive no-quote is when a customer is quoted $1,000 for a part that should normally cost $50, without any explanation provided.
Find a Shop That Likes Figuring Out Complex Parts
Manufacturers often gravitate towards familiar projects as it allows for smoother operations, keeping the shop operational and profitable. To steer clear of receiving a no-quote response, seek out a shop like Janee Precision that is willing to take on complex projects, accommodate various volume requirements, handle demanding inspection criteria, and work with different materials.
The harder a part is to make, the more we want to make it.
Our commitment to overcoming intricate manufacturing challenges sets us apart, making us more inclined to provide project quotes compared to other shops. Embracing complex projects allows us to excel in creating intricate parts, enhance our proficiency in producing simpler parts with improved speed and quality (which we also enjoy!), uncover innovative techniques, and efficiency-enhancing strategies that can't be discovered by performing repetitive tasks every day. By engaging in diverse projects, our machinists stay at the forefront of their craft, always prepared for the next exciting challenge.
With our skilled team, advanced equipment, extensive experience, and robust software capabilities, we are well-equipped to handle a wide range of projects. Having encountered diverse challenges in the past (feel free to put us to the test), it's highly likely that we are familiar with and proficient in executing your specific requirements. In the rare event that we are unable to take on a project, we will take the time to provide a detailed explanation. We often hear the phrase, "Contact Janee. They'll do anything." It's true. So go ahead, submit an RFQ and let us prove our capabilities.
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