Buying a checking fixture carries a lot of responsibility and can often seem like a complicated process. It is very easy to get it wrong when trying to balance the specification of your fixture with value for money and lead time. Durability and weight/ mobility, for example, are just a couple of the key factors to consider.
Potentially costly mistakes can be made at any stage of the buying process. Avoiding these will ensure that the checking fixture procurement and production process runs much more smoothly, saving you time, money and stress!
To help, we've put together a list of common buying mistakes, and how to avoid them.
Common Checking Fixture Buying Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)
1. Presuming your specification is obvious
You know what you require from your checking fixture, but it’s a mistake to assume that this is obvious to your supplier too. Instead, invest time at the beginning of the process to create a thorough, in-depth specification - doing so will reduce the risk of any errors, or best-guesses to fill in the gaps, which can lead to over or under specified quotes.
Make sure to include detailed information on specifics such as fixture construction, component location points and inspection level needed.
Don’t rely on verbal communication alone. Make sure that any spoken instructions to your supplier are confirmed in writing or detailed in schematics – otherwise you run the risk of your requirements being forgotten or misinterpreted.
For more information, check out our blog 'How to produce the best RFQ for your checking fixture provider'.
2. Information overload
Whilst a comprehensive specification is required by your supplier to ensure accuracy in both the initial quotation and subsequent checking fixture production, too much information can be a mistake. For example, sending over multiple component CAD files risks your fixture being made to the wrong revision level - a worst case scenario, being expensive to resolve both in terms of cost and timing. To avoid this, make sure you control the information you send to your suppliers. It sounds simple, but it’s a quick and easy way to reduce the potential for errors.
3. Not choosing standard parts
This is a common buying mistake but, luckily, it's quite easy to avoid. Bespoke, fixture-specific items (such as dowels and handles) will be much more expensive to manufacture and replace if they get damaged or lost. Instead, specify off-the-shelf, standardised components where possible to maximise cost efficiency and ease of replacement.
4. Assuming an ISO accreditation is all that’s needed to assure quality
Choosing a supplier with an ISO accreditation will give you some comfort, but relying on this alone to give you the quality of supply and service that you require can be a mistake. If your supplier truly is quality focused then they really should be offering you more - other key considerations should include the potential for customer buy-off, and aftersales support to iron out any post-supply issues.
Read more in our blog 8 Supplier Standards that Guarantee Quality Assurance.
5. Under/ over specifying
Balancing the specification of your fixture with your requirement of it and with your budget is not an easy task. A fragile specification may save you money initially, but if the fixture won’t last the duration of production you’ll be paying out again for a replacement. Conversely, a costly aluminium body isn't necessary if you only need to be holding - or inspecting - a few plastic parts. Your supplier will be able to advise you on the best choice for your fixture, so make sure to have this discussion at the beginning of the project.
6. Choosing the ‘cheapest’ supplier
Whilst we know that cost is a key driver for any checking fixture buyer, going for the cheapest option available can be a mistake. While it can minimise your initial outlay, going 'cheap' can also lead to compromises in functionality and tool life. Moreover, you can also incur further costs for unforeseen extras such as additional clamps, design changes or increased manufacturing time.
Read more in our blog Checking Fixtures: Why Buying Cheap May Actually Cost You More.
With so much to consider, it’s not surprising that mistakes do happen when buying checking fixtures. Hopefully, our guide will help ensure that you avoid them and make your buying process smooth and problem-free.
To discuss your next checking fixture project, please contact us to see how we can help.
Learn more about how you can save both time and money procuring your next checking fixture with our free guide Buying Checking Fixtures Better.
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