Bold, innovative manufacturing and engineering teams can only push the limits of what is possible if they work together under one roof from start to finish. When segments of a project are divvied up between outside contractors and vendors, communication is difficult, potential problems are easy to miss, and creativity is stifled. Manufacturers gain five critical advantages by handling everything in house.
1. Close Collaboration in the Manufacturing Sequence
Collaboration is much simpler and more direct when all services are performed in house — especially when every project is different.
Auto parts manufacturers, for example, can conduct basic research and development, create a prototype, use it to test their process and then toss out the mock-up when it comes time to produce the real parts. But big thinkers in critical-application operations don't have the luxury of a practice run. The components are big, expensive and take a long time to build. There can be no do-overs.
When the engineers, planners, and manufacturers are all under one roof, different teams can work together throughout the process. Everyone knows the goal and what needs to happen to achieve it.
2. Real-Time Feedback: Planning for the Knowns
When all teams are working together in the same place, they can perform controlled, preparatory experiments as a project progresses. By controlling a feature to much tighter tolerances than necessary, for example, the team can study the results and then apply their findings to a feature with trickier, tighter tolerances later in the project. If work is scattered among outside contractors, this strategy is not feasible. Far-flung teams are not able to work together to perform an experiment on one feature and apply it to another.
3. Quick Problem Solving
When all services are united under one roof, machinists, welders, assembly technicians and other manufacturing personnel can raise a flag when something doesn’t quite go according to plan or when they meet an unanticipated challenge. Sometimes a part doesn't meet specifications. Other times a team falls behind schedule because they encounter a barrier that slipped through early planning. When unified teams work together in the same facility, they can meet unforeseen challenges early, solve problems, and recover quickly.
People who work on large, unique, critical-application projects form a bond that is difficult for outsiders to understand. They make specialized, single-use parts that have never been made before. After years of meeting the unusual challenges associated with this kind of work, they develop a familiarity, trust and common language that outside teams — even very good teams — can simply not pick up on right away.
5. The Ability to Push Boundaries
When manufacturers rely on a network of subcontractors, they are limited by the creativity those contractors bring to the table and their willingness to push their equipment and processes to the limit. When a company uses its own people and resources, wild ideas can become a reality.
Unifying services under one roof removes restrictions and boundaries. Teams are free to approach plans and ideas from any angle, and have the luxury of using their equipment for applications beyond the scope of their original design. When the teams doing the work also own the tools, they can elevate themselves beyond small thinking and typical off-the-shelf processes.
Communication, real-time feedback, planning, problem solving, and imagination are all smothered when a project is scattered among outside contractors and vendors. When the teams and their equipment are located in-house, on the other hand, problems are anticipated, communication lines remain open, and the process is driven by freedom, creativity and bold ideas.