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  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    To put the single customer situation in perspective, it might only prove to be a bad decision if the customer goes under. It could be a good situation if the single customer is doing well.
    Well, certainly. But it's a big "if" for the employees depending on you for their livelihoods. No employees, gamble away. Employees, no gamble.

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    To put the single customer situation in perspective, it might only prove to be a bad decision if the customer goes under. It could be a good situation if the single customer is doing well.
    Hello Doug,
    I agree 100% on your statement. The overwhelming majority of PM members don't like my strategy. With that said, I think it would be good if I explained the benefits of my tact.

    To start out, I didn't invent this mode of operation. I learned it from a few successful business that I once worked at. All of the aerospace companies that these shops did work for are still in business.

    A small business operation needs a steady flow of good paying jobs. We also need to get this work with very little "hand holding" and invoice chasing. A large Corporation's business is a major boost to a small business. That is why I focus on my number 1.

    Instead of being pessimistic and doubtful, I have always tried to take the high road and encourage positive business prospective. Today, business is booming and many are still doubting.

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    Another piece of advice, deliver on time and on quote. I'm always surprised how often I see shops not delivering on time. I worked in a shop that would promise 3-5 day delivery when we were 6 weeks out, at best, and we had the material to fill the order - it ain't fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by otrlt View Post
    A small business operation needs a steady flow of good paying jobs. We also need to get this work with very little "hand holding" and invoice chasing. A large Corporation's business is a major boost to a small business. That is why I focus on my number 1.
    Absolutely.

    How we, as small business owners and operators, define our top customer(s) can, and should, direct our approach to finding additional work. I define my customers with a good, better, best model.

    Good - work is profitable and customer pays on time with minimal hand holding and chasing.
    Better - reasonable volume, pays inside terms
    Best - high volume, mid-high profit, customer pays before the work leaves the shop.

    I have 1 customer that is floating the best-better line while most are in the better category.

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  5. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talinthon View Post
    Another piece of advice, deliver on time and on quote. I'm always surprised how often I see shops not delivering on time. I worked in a shop that would promise 3-5 day delivery when we were 6 weeks out, at best, and we had the material to fill the order - it ain't fun.



    Absolutely.

    How we, as small business owners and operators, define our top customer(s) can, and should, direct our approach to finding additional work. I define my customers with a good, better, best model.

    Good - work is profitable and customer pays on time with minimal hand holding and chasing.
    Better - reasonable volume, pays inside terms
    Best - high volume, mid-high profit, customer pays before the work leaves the shop.

    I have 1 customer that is floating the best-better line while most are in the better category.
    Talinton,
    Thank you for your positive feed back.

    Consider this; a company valued at more than 3 billion $ want's to give you work. What the fuck are you going to do?

    enough said.

  6. #85
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    1. The only thing you really have is time. Use it wisely.

    2. You are in business to make money.

    3. Be very frugal but not cheap.

    4. Make goals. Have a to-do list everyday. Write out weekly, monthly and longer term goals.

    5. Have fun.

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  8. #86
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    Couple things....

    Ive learned a lot about prototyping and small batch in the last 6 years in my current role...your point is spot on about costing. Prototype shit is expensive. I had a customer a few weeks ago he wanted to make a special bevel gear...I told him look, this is going to cost you well over $1000 for a one-off if you need me to use the 5-axis to make it. Programming, setup, run time, offsets, blah blah. then by the time the kinks of the process are worked out and fixed, the part is complete so there is no cost savings from optimizing like you'd get on a batch of 20+. Customer can easily modify their design to use an off the shelf bevel gear for less than $100.

    Since all we do is prototype, my quotes have progressively gotten more and more expensive as time goes on. I misquoted what I thought was a simple job that ended up taking twice as long and in the end wasn't worth it. I would say, add 25-50% or more to a quote just because. Because a tap will break in that part causing scrap, your machine will fuck something up, anything can happen and that extra 50% across all jobs will amortize itself out eventually. Customers always flip their shit when they realize how expensive custom advanced machining jobs are, its hilarious. Like, did you not think it would be expensive to rent time on this $200K machine?

    NOW, to justify high ass shop rates and expensive work, you need to deliver the goods. The goods can't be "good enough"...no the goods need to be "holy shit this is great". Not only will this retain your new customer, but your reputation will be built as the shop that does "holy shit this is good" level work. Very good for business when your parts are perfect every time. Take a look at S&H Machine...they do ridiculous work that is awesome. I'm guessing they're never hurting to find more work.

    I recommend any shop to seriously consider a 5-axis machine purchase. 2 main reasons - you can do work that you would have had to turn down in the past. There are some parts we do that we just couldn't have done without our 5-axis, but now we can and so $$$. Plus, you can charge more for it. Second reason has to do with automation. But you say "we're a shop that only mills small parts we don't need 5 axis"...but what if you could fixture 30+ of those small parts on a 5-axis tombstone and do them all one-and-done? See the logic there? Large upfront investment but it pays dividends if you use it correctly. Add a pallet changer and you're ready for getting into lights out machining.

    John Grimsmo bought a ridiculously expensive 5 axis mill with pallets to make, wait for it, knife handles. Yet he probably makes bookoo bux on the machine because he can just load the pallets and let her rip day and night. Very smart application right there.

    You should never stop innovating, never stop trying to make things more efficient. Get that Kaizen energy flowing and you will be successful

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    Quote Originally Posted by metalmadness View Post
    Couple things....

    Ive learned a lot about prototyping and small batch in the last 6 years in my current role...your point is spot on about costing. Prototype shit is expensive. I had a customer a few weeks ago he wanted to make a special bevel gear...I told him look, this is going to cost you well over $1000 for a one-off if you need me to use the 5-axis to make it. Programming, setup, run time, offsets, blah blah. then by the time the kinks of the process are worked out and fixed, the part is complete so there is no cost savings from optimizing like you'd get on a batch of 20+. Customer can easily modify their design to use an off the shelf bevel gear for less than $100.

    Since all we do is prototype, my quotes have progressively gotten more and more expensive as time goes on. I misquoted what I thought was a simple job that ended up taking twice as long and in the end wasn't worth it. I would say, add 25-50% or more to a quote just because. Because a tap will break in that part causing scrap, your machine will fuck something up, anything can happen and that extra 50% across all jobs will amortize itself out eventually. Customers always flip their shit when they realize how expensive custom advanced machining jobs are, its hilarious. Like, did you not think it would be expensive to rent time on this $200K machine?

    NOW, to justify high ass shop rates and expensive work, you need to deliver the goods. The goods can't be "good enough"...no the goods need to be "holy shit this is great". Not only will this retain your new customer, but your reputation will be built as the shop that does "holy shit this is good" level work. Very good for business when your parts are perfect every time. Take a look at S&H Machine...they do ridiculous work that is awesome. I'm guessing they're never hurting to find more work.

    I recommend any shop to seriously consider a 5-axis machine purchase. 2 main reasons - you can do work that you would have had to turn down in the past. There are some parts we do that we just couldn't have done without our 5-axis, but now we can and so $$$. Plus, you can charge more for it. Second reason has to do with automation. But you say "we're a shop that only mills small parts we don't need 5 axis"...but what if you could fixture 30+ of those small parts on a 5-axis tombstone and do them all one-and-done? See the logic there? Large upfront investment but it pays dividends if you use it correctly. Add a pallet changer and you're ready for getting into lights out machining.

    John Grimsmo bought a ridiculously expensive 5 axis mill with pallets to make, wait for it, knife handles. Yet he probably makes bookoo bux on the machine because he can just load the pallets and let her rip day and night. Very smart application right there.

    You should never stop innovating, never stop trying to make things more efficient. Get that Kaizen energy flowing and you will be successful
    Painting a broad stroke with your 5 axis suggestions.

    I think it's a general awareness of what can do what and what do you need to serve your market?

    You got lots of these shops with 14 guys running a half dozen $250k machines balls out making $80/hr. Then you have shops making the same money as they do leisurely loading a 30 year old machine bought with pocket cash.

    Both of those scenarios can make "Holy shit this is good" parts when applied correctly.

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  11. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    Painting a broad stroke with your 5 axis suggestions.

    I think it's a general awareness of what can do what and what do you need to serve your market?

    You got lots of these shops with 14 guys running a half dozen $250k machines balls out making $80/hr. Then you have shops making the same money as they do leisurely loading a 30 year old machine bought with pocket cash.

    Both of those scenarios can make "Holy shit this is good" parts when applied correctly.
    Yes I agree that any machine can make great parts if it is in good condition, but newer machines will get it done faster and possibly more accurately and with less stress and all that crap that goes along with running a 30y/o machine. Nothing wrong with those, I ran a 1991 50-taper Mazak a few years ago that could still cut amazing, but it hardly had any lookahead and slowed to a crawl in corners which escalated run times significantly. The machine was a beast though. A newer machine could get the job done faster and with less annoyance in dealing with such an old machine.

    Any shop chargin $80/hr for expensive machining jobs sure is shooting themselves in the foot. Should be running that shit at $150/hr, because companies sure as shit pay that if they trust the shop and they do great work. Especially if they're running 1/4 million dollar machines.

    At some point it is better to run a newer machine. Similar with cars, sure you can drive a POS 1991 toyota camry if it gets you from A to B, but I can guarantee your experience with a 2019 Toyota Camry will be significantly more enjoyable and efficient (better gas mileage, less pollution, etc).

    I'm not saying that 5 axis is for every shop, cuz it ain't. But I will say that shops should look into it, that's all. If a company does the due diligence and determines that multitasking or multiaxis machines don't serve them, then so be it, that is fine. I would argue that in most cases it absolutely makes sense for many if not most shops to have at least one advanced machine like that. Could be a twin spindle lathe, because then you don't need to op your programs, you can do them one-and-done.

    Case in point, I've been working on some aerospace hinges that go on satellites. Nothing about the parts requires a 5 axis machine, it can be done on a 3. However, these parts would require 6-7 ops on a 3 axis mill to get what can be done in a single operation on a 5-axis mill. That's 6-7 opportunities to fuckup during the setup of very finicky parts that need high accuracy and the datums are critical. Not just aerospace parts require this many setups, I've done oil and gas parts that required even more setups.

  12. #89
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    Default Unsolicited small shop advice thread. List your top five.

    Citing Grimsmo, Saunders, Abom, etc. as examples of successful manufacturing businesses is skewed.

    Why?

    Because you never really know when they buy something, whether they actually bought it at a real world price, or whether it was provided free or very cheap by the manufacturer, for marketing purposes.

    Advertising and all...

    These Internet “influencers” should be more straight-up honest about this.

    Flaunting success with exorbitant “purchases” doesn’t pass the smell test for me.

    Encouraging a small shop to buy a half-million dollar 5-axis VMC because it’s a trend in industry could well sink the unknowing shop.

    It takes selling a LOT of $600 knives to pay off a half-mil note...

    ToolCat

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  14. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnctoolcat View Post

    These Internet “influencers” should be more straight-up honest about this.
    But then they won't get the free stuff....


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