PEKO Precision Products

CNC Machining for Defense Industry: Common Outsourcing Concerns

Posted by Scott Baxter on Oct 30, 2014 8:00:00 AM

It's not always easy to outsource CNC Machined Parts for the Defense Industry:

Industry_Landing_DefenseFace it, with a high demand for precision machine components and assemblies, most CNC machine shop owners see the Defense industry as a high profile target.  Combine that with the added exposure of big name companies like General Dynamics, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman and it's not surprise that machine shops are chomping at the bit to get a piece of the action.  Located all over the country, with concentration in Southern California, Boston, Florida and the Mid-Atlantic, prime contractors have a great demand for CNC Machining, as well as Turning and Assemblies.  While there is great precision CNC machining work to be had within the Defense industry, both those in charge of purchasing these parts and those responsible for making them have some serious hurdles along the way. 


1. Out of spec features

The red tape surrounding Defense designs can cause a major headache for those in charge of purchasing these kinds of components.  These problems roll up hill as deviation requests are often made to account for in improved manufacturing process or to ensure proper Quality can be maintained for a part that will still work in the application.  These deviation request can impact a suppliers Quality record and put some strain on the relationship.  PEKO Precision and other experienced machine shops know how to manage these expectations and ensure deviation requests are made when they truly benefit the customer.

2. Managing the secondary supplier

In order to successfully do CNC Milling, Turning and other metal fabrication in this industry, many manufacturers will be partnering with secondary suppliers for things like paint, heat treat, brazing and other operations.  Most of the prime contractors will have an Approved Supplier List that is pre-approved in these processes.  The geographic location of the secondary supplier to the supplier can result in all sorts of logistical nightmares.  By ensuring a good partnering relationship, occasionally a supplier can help the prime to qualify a new secondary supplier, thereby creating an efficient and effective mini supply chain.

3. Dealing with out of date manufacturing processes

Occasionally, older designs have call outs for processes that are no longer common practice.  At PEKO, we have seen call outs such as cadmium plating that require a great deal of effort to find a secondary supplier.  By working with a competent supply base, the prime contractor can be sure that their supplier is helping them manage the product.

4. Navigating complicated documentation and requirements

If you are reading this, you probably have a healthy respect of how confusing all the documentation in a Defense part can be.  From the Purchase Orders, to the Specs on the prints to the Specs within the Specs, it can all become very difficult to interpret.  Furthermore, many times the Specs are out of date and PEKO or other companies have to work with the customer to get the specs updated.  This time consuming process is difficult on both the manufacturer and supplier.  However, well versed and experienced manufacturers can help get these problems sorted out and even unlock hidden cost savings.

5. Flow down requirements

The Flow Down requirements in this industry can be exhausting.  Each member of the supply chain is subjected to these requirements in a very specific manner.  Communication and understanding down the line is critical for compliance.  An experienced team can ensure necessary flow downs to all the sub tier vendors are properly executed. 

Putting it all together:

At the end of the day, primes just want to outsource their parts to manufacturers  who can get the parts back without a hassle and by due date.  A simple request to ask, but without a manufacturing partner that is well versed and experience, situations like the aforementioned can really become a thorn in the side.  For more information about getting goods parts from an experienced manufacturer, contact PEKO and we will introduce you to our experts.

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Topics: CNC Machining, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Defense, Raytheon