There are no small jobs, just small orders that can become big orders. Many metal fabricators are doing well these days, so well they’re being very choosy about which orders to accept and which orders to turn away. It isn’t just that the demand for metal fabrication services remains high but also that the lack of skilled metalworkers is hampering capacity utilization. Even automated CNC machining needs experienced machinists to produce quality metal parts on spec.

Smaller jobs take the same amount of time and energy in customer service, sourcing materials, design engineering support, machine setup time, and quality control supervision as larger jobs yet the larger jobs can often be run using automated production. This dramatically reduces the cost per metal part and reduces the reliance on a large workforce.

For a metal manufacturing company dealing with high taxes, rising energy costs, out of control healthcare costs, and erratic economic conditions, these big jobs bring the efficiency and the margins needed to survive. The small jobs usually have razor thin margins in the best of times so there’s no margin for errors in production or delays in the supply chain.

Clearly, any metal forming, fabricating and finishing shop that’s struggling with staffing issues or rising costs has to be wary of accepting these smaller jobs. But we say bring them here.

We know a lot of metal fab shops in Pennsylvania think of a prototype as an order for quantity: one. We get excited about prototyping. Our design engineers our happy to review a CAD drawing or a pencil sketch and offer guidance on how to custom manufacture it at the lowest cost possible. With the right design, quality manufacturing, and people who care, it’s common for these small jobs of quantity one to grow into large jobs.

The owner of Police Innovations, for example, was trying to find a metal product manufacturing company to produce a product called a Supplemental Prisoner Adjustable Restraint (SPAR) chair. It began as a small job. We helped adjust the design for faster, easier part production and assembly and began making one at a time.

Today, we’re producing dozens upon dozens of these systems every month and serving as a turnkey manufacturing partner. We’re sourcing and storing the steel tubing and materials, laser cutting, welding, machining, and powder coating the metal parts, assembling the entire unit, testing, and then palletizing and packaging the unit for safe transport – and we’re managing the deliveries to their customers. We recently celebrated a big order from a European police agency together. Matt Planer, who invented the prisoner restraint chair and founded Police Innovations says his business “would not have been successful without TAB Industries – the attention to detail, the high level of expertise, and their willingness to work with us at every turn have been crucial for our growth.” Well, thank you, Matt!

It’s much easier to take on the big jobs and send the others on their way. But with our blend of veteran experience, metalworking expertise, hands-on, personal service, and the latest metalworking machinery and equipment, we can help companies grow from a small job today into a very big deal. And we’re happy to help make it happen.