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A colleague asked me this question via email the other day.

Actually, he asked: “Simple question for you this morning- what do you consider to be the most important piece of the puzzle when quoting a precision machined component?”

What would your answer be?

Cue Jeopardy theme song here…

I responded that there were two equally crucial pieces of the quoting puzzle:

  • Confidence in my process cost data;
  • Confidence in my process capability data.

With inadequate process cost data, you die a slow death with every part produced.

With inadequate process capability data, you can lose a ‘whole lot of money’ if the capability isn’t there and you are forced to abandon the ‘as quoted’ process path.

My colleague agreed:

“Exactly! Cycle time (for each of the processes) and how much you need to charge per hour. Then you can take those numbers and put them into cells and have one operator running two or three machines and include automation and do the 5S and Lean and Kanban and paint lines on the floor and all the other things we do. But the bottom line is you better pay attention to your process!!!”

His comments about cells, automation and painting lines give us insight into the fact that his world of precision machining is a world of  low mix  and high volume. But even in  a lower volume and higher mix shop, making a mistake on either cost to process or capability of process  on a quote is a great way to make a small fortune out of a much larger one…

What do you think? Are process cost and process capability the two most important aspects of your quoting process?

Jeopardy photo

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