One of the biggest challenges for small businesses in the Aerospace and Defense industry is the balance between efficiency and regulatory compliance. Every year it becomes more critical to achieve quick-turn solutions as we see the market shift from multi-year, multi-million dollar projects to projects spanning six months or less with small budgets. The benefits to the customer are clear: they get a cheaper solution in a shorter timeframe. For small businesses, the cost of regulatory compliance (ITAR, EAR, FAR, etc.) is huge and can take up resources that would otherwise be generating revenue. Larger businesses clearly have the upper hand here as they can dedicate resources to compliance as well as afford larger capital purchases.
The task for small businesses then is to execute on their projects as quickly as possible, much quicker than the big guys. Many companies use vendors or subcontractors to handle the manufacturing needed for their goods, but for a small company that might mean losing that ability to quickly execute on projects. That’s why some companies like NuWaves have in-house manufacturing capabilities, allowing for an entire concept-to-production cycle to be executed in-house.
NuWaves has over 2000 sqft. of Manufacturing and Test facilities to support Concept-to-Production solutions
So what does it take to achieve quick-turn manufacturing? Ironically, the way to get there is to understand that the journey is never complete. That means striving for defect-free products, while simultaneously understanding that some defects are too costly or rare to prevent via processes. It also means everyone involved in the process needs to understand how the concept-to-production system works, not just how their particular tasks should be performed.
Probably more important is that you select and utilize vendors who also have a quick-turn mentality. No matter how great our processes and people are, if our vendors aren’t on the same wavelength, they will slow down the process. Vendors need to understand how your business works and what’s important to you. Give them feedback if they aren’t meeting your expectations and if that doesn’t improve, look for new vendors. There are always new companies out there competing in every market.
Working with vendors, understanding your system, and removing defects are, at a high level, all you really need to get there. To put that all together into a successful manufacturing operation, your team needs a mindset of constant improvement, never settling and never being complacent. NuWaves Engineering quick-turn manufacturing provides in-stock products, prototypes and contract manufacturing.