Precision machining today is a commodity to Tier 1 and 2 manufactures. If you are competing solely on price, you cannot win. There will always be a cheaper price from a competitor, and this is especially true in machining. Your company will need to invest in the service it provides to the customers, as well as the delivered products. Just a few examples are specialized JIT delivery to reduce warehousing requirements for your customers. Also near real-time production tracking online for parts per hour, day, week, rejects, QC testing, etc. This level of visibility is not possible by "trade agents" and is very uncomfortable for small machine shops competing on price to produce. In most cases they won't or cannot do it. Also a QC guarantee of the parts to specification to speed up production and reduce labor costs of your customers are well received. This guarantee must also be able to be verified and backed by real QC testing prior to shipment, not just a rubber stamp approval. What you are building is the "feeling" a customer gets when they do business with your company. After a period of time this becomes a trust relationship that is very hard to break by a competitor. Essentially you need relationship and trust development among your customers. This not only helps acquire new customers but also develops defensive positioning of your customers from attack by other competitors.
Your customers or potential customers who are outsourcing precision machining don't care about your machines, production capabilities or ISO certifications all that much. This is expected today. You have to go above and beyond the expectations with service. That is the only way to effectively compete, be profitable and stay in business. Lastly, if you are stuck in a cost only situation, it's OK to walk away and let your competitor suffer the agony of a low ball price. Set the floor you are willing to go to. You will be respected. -- Keith