Ian's Guide to Industrial Manufacturing

How to Choose a Steel Fabrication Company That Fits Your Needs

You may be embarking on a project that requires you to work with a metal fabrication company, but you don't have a lot of experience when dealing with this particular type of structural steel project. You will be able to choose from a variety of different candidates, all of whom have experience in particular areas. In order to make the right choice, what do you need to consider as you're planning?

Important Questions to Ask

First of all, itemise your specific requirements. Is this going to be a lengthy project with different staging points? Is the final product likely to be truly unique in terms of purpose, or has something like this been created before? It's important to ensure that the company you choose has experience at every stage of project development.

For example, a company that provides precise machining work for a particular stage of an automobile production line may have some relevance to a certain part of your project, but not when assessed from a "bigger picture" perspective. What type of gauge and grade is involved when it comes to the metal itself?

Exercising Control

Many companies want to take on as much business as they can and will advertise their specialty across a broad range of applications. However, in doing so, they often bring in subcontractors, as opposed to in-house experts. While this can work, it's important to ensure that the primary company has authority and can complete the project on time.

A Mix of Experts

Sheet metal fabrication jobs require expertise at all phases of the project. The company you choose will have designers, assessors, engineers and tradesmen involved, all of whom should be experts in their craft.

The Detailed Work

When you have narrowed down your potential candidate field, have a look at previous work and assess how good the candidate is in terms of developing—and sticking to—a certain methodology. This will help to ensure that the process is kept on time and in line with budgets. You will also be able to see how the company deals with quality control. Certainly, time is always of the essence, but does the candidate have the necessary quality certifications, and can they be trusted to pass all inspections?

The Need for Careful Choice

The more time that you take at this phase, the better off you are likely to be when it comes to the finished product. Ask as many questions of the candidate organisation as you need to. After all, when the job is allocated, you won't want to be micromanaging. You will also want to avoid having to conduct a post-mortem to see what went wrong.