Pre-Fab Parts Provide a Simple Cost-Down Solution

Pre-Fab Parts Provide a Simple Cost-Down Solution

A lot of customers ask us for ideas on how to reduce the cost of their products.  In some cases, a Cost-Down List is an annual request. When considering price reduction strategies, the best way to decrease a product’s total cost often involves using pre-fabricated tubular parts.

At Sanborn, we have a long history of providing consultation for lowering costs. Whether it’s for the OEM of office furniture, turf care equipment or recreational vehicles, cost-down solutions are often the same.  

To begin a consultation, we need a better picture of a customer’s operations. This means walking through the production floor with a purchasing manager, a materials manager or a plant manufacturing engineer. We want to understand the customer’s fabrication process because it’s common to find cost savings with process adjustments. 

Raw or pre-fab parts

The biggest opportunity for lowering cost is often changing how parts are fabricated. Instead of receiving raw tube, pipe or bar stock that gets fabricated in-house, a better solution may be to order parts that are already cut, lasered, punched, bent, and/or welded. Pre-fabricated parts arrive ready to be fed into assembly without fabricating, which increases throughput.

Choosing fully or partially fabricated parts has several benefits. Here are some considerations when deciding whether to switch from raw materials to pre-fabricated parts:


Consider how many employees are needed to physically receive the raw materials and fabricate the parts. In many cases, there are multiple steps that involve several touch points at different work stations. The number of labor hours needed on every fabricated part can really add up. Those employees could be working on more valuable tasks such as assembly or quality control.


Fabricating parts may require a lot of equipment, such as CNC machines, mills, lathes, saws, lasers, hydraulic presses, tube forming machines, tube benders and welding cells. Each machine is an initial capital expense and requires continual maintenance, which can be costly. Plus, this equipment takes up a lot of floor space in the shop. If the machines only running periodically, they may be wasting space that could otherwise be used for continual, profit-making production.  


Raw pipe, tubing or bar stock usually needs to be cut to specific lengths, and that creates the potential for scrap. By receiving pre-cut pipe, the entire pipe is being used so there’s no unnecessary waste to be handled and disposed of later.


Buying bulk materials requires storage and handling, which requires labor and floor space. A just-in-time delivery program of fabricated parts will avoid these issues completely.

Sanborn specializes in tubular fabricated parts, so we invest in state-of-the-art, high-productivity equipment. A part that may take 1 minute to drill in an OEM’s shop takes Sanborn only 15 seconds to make. This allows us to make more parts, faster and at a lower cost-per-part rate than most OEMs, especially those using outdated, less-efficient machines.  Plus, Sanborn offers an ordering program to receive fabricated parts in batches to arrive just in time for assembly, eliminating the need for extra handling and storage.  

Contact Sanborn to discuss whether pre-fabricated parts and an ordering program can be a part of your cost-down strategy.


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