In a market where cheaper overseas fabrication of your project’s larger metal elements may seem like an easy decision to make, there are many factors that often tip the scales the other way, in favour of better quality, domestic fabrication alternatives – notably, a modular approach to fabrication – as a viable, transparent and efficient way to save dollars and cents at home.
When considering the costs of both alternatives, what many business owners, developers and stakeholder tend to forget, is that time is money. A penchant to only look at the bottom line hinders the ability to accurately realize value added when considering a modular fabrication methodology. With overseas shipping, the risks far exceed the benefits.
With a modular approach to fabrication, a massive benefit to your project is being able to rely on the consistency of its pre-determined schedule. Modular fabrication utilizes and takes advantage of its ability to be produced and delivered efficiently and on-time. Modular fabrication is produced to spec through a collaboration of the owner, often the EPC and the fabricator. This way, an open, collaborative and transparent relationship can be founded and taken advantage of.
Scheduling consistency is difficult to attain when using the services of an overseas manufacturer and overseas shipping. The industry is typically slower, and is at the mercy of the high seas, and other weather conditions. Unfavorable waters mean your tentative delivery date gets pushed back and your schedule must be reworked to accommodate for late-arrivals. Further, schedule mishaps, such as custom clearance delays, mean more down-time on-site that equates to additional and unnecessary cost.
The exporter themselves can also send out your order late, meaning the impact of a delayed project falls on your hands as the business or organization in charge.
An additional cost of shipping your fabricated elements from overseas includes making sure it’s protected by the right insurance. This is of course, the best way to alleviate risks, and a good way to do that is by investigating export credit or trade credit insurance to protect you against any buyer defaulting, which could leave your firm or organization with extra and unwanted costs and losses.
If your business is new to overseas transport, there’s a good chance you’re unfamiliar with international cargo insurance policies, as well. Working with a qualified logistics provider who handles international shipping will help to alleviate some of these risks, but this also means another hidden cost of transporting and operating overseas.
With a modular approach to domestic fabrication, many manufacturers, Saskarc included, facilitate their own transportation. This means transport insurance and transport itself is often handled by the fabricators themselves, alleviating time and freeing up additional resources for the business commissioning the project.
You send your specs to your overseas fabricator, pay for insurance, pay for shipping, and transport to the work site; only to find the piece is damaged, and not built to spec. These are some of the attached issues with overseas shipping and its lack of transparency – when you can’t see and be a part of the fabrication and transportation process, anything can happen.
Further, perfectly good fabricated elements can be damaged due to their transportation mode. A rough sea and a difficult journey can take its toll on a piece of crucial building materials. You’ll need to log, photograph and document the damaged sections for insurance purposes, and this all takes its toll on the project’s completion.
A modular approach to transportation typically includes getting the piece to the worksite damage-free and protected by the elements, if at all possible. Almost ironically, you’ll likely have to hire the services of an on-site or modular domestic fabricator to correct these damages after paying someone else to manufacture them in the first place.
Again, time is a very valuable resource – businesses and savvy organizations already know this. Operating and transporting goods from overseas, metal fabrication elements included, is a lengthy process to get right. It’s not necessarily an industry you’re going to want to jump into without investing the time and effort of doing it correctly.
This investment of time can be a costly one. Consider that during the time you spend finding a reputable manufacturer of a good quality product overseas, and the time it takes to potentially travel to their facility to inspect their process, establish a working relationship and then transport a fabricated piece overseas – you could have easily had a quality domestic modular fabrication organization perform the project in a local controlled environment, where it is easy to collaboratively work together for project monitoring and inspections, as well as to make sure your schedules were copasetic. This ensure your project can benefit from less down-time, and allows the establishment of a transportation schedule and delivery date that helps your project progress forward.
In closing, the risks of shipping overseas far outweigh the very few cons of working directly with a qualified and respected modular fabrication company. When you can do the job right with a fraction of the time invested in ensuring your delivery arrives on-time and in perfect condition, a domestic modular approach is an easy decision to make.
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