A partner that’s committed to business transformation can deliver exceptional value to you and your business. That’s especially true when you’re selecting a plastic injection molder.
Finding a molder that makes ongoing investments in people, equipment, training, automation and project management capabilities can help you manage your costs, minimize supply chain disruptions and deliver a better end product to your customers.
Here are four questions you should ask prospective molders to determine if they have this type of high-performance culture.
Question 1: How do you describe your corporate culture?
Listen for answers that are focused on continuous improvement and business transformation, with an emphasis on maximizing customer value. Ideally, the molder you partner with should be reviewing its people, equipment and automation capabilities on a regular basis, with a systematic process of ongoing evaluation and correction if needed. Work processes should be subject to continuous improvement. This methodical, kaizen-fueled approach helps to ensure speed, reliability and consistent part quality.
New Berlin Plastics’ approach: We have been committed to continuous improvement for many years. Our goal is to elevate the service we provide to our customers and the quality of the parts we produce for them. As part of this focus, we are committed to the continuous improvement of our processes, people and equipment.
Question 2. What is your approach to investing in new equipment?
Modern plastic molding equipment is able to hold tighter tolerances and can produce higher-quality parts, faster and at a more consistent level of quality than older machines. A supplier that invests in newer equipment will be better able to maintain their competitiveness.
New injection molding machines are also more energy-efficient and are easier to incorporate into a manufacturing facility that applies automation and data collections to its processes. This enables the molder to reap optimal performance and to keep the machines operating at their best throughout each production run.
New Berlin Plastics’ approach: Each year, we calibrate and rate the performance of each of our presses based on their operating tolerances, efficiency and any capacity constraints we’ve identified. Once a machine constraint has been identified, it either gets updated or replaced. This approach enables us to be ready for growth and reduce our overhead costs.
Question 3: How do you invest in your people?
In order for a plastic injection molder to leverage the full benefits and performance from the latest injection molding machinery, it must invest in ongoing training for its process engineers and set-up mechanics.
New Berlin Plastics’ approach: We provide our staff with ongoing training on best practices, including Master Molder training and the latest enhancements to Scientific Injection Molding (SIM) practices. This ensures that they’re able to operate our state-of-the-art molding and data collection and analysis tools to deliver consistently exceptional results for our customers.
NBP also performs ongoing in-house training, testing and certification with these associates. We offer these training opportunities to our customers, too, through seminars on specific topics that we believe helps them be better in their current roles. Let us know if you are interested in joining us for a seminar.
Question 4: How do you streamline communication with your customers?
For many plastic injection molders, the new product launch process is often problematic. Surprisingly, their challenges have little to do with the mold design, materials and presses used to produce the customer’s parts. More often than not, delays are caused by poor project communications.
Product launches in the plastic injection molding industry require a significant amount of molder/customer communications. The two parties must discuss a variety of part design optimization, tool design, polymer selection and other issues as the molder dials in its production process to meet the customer’s requirements.
Historically, many molders have used a weekly update with action items to facilitate project communications. But there’s a problem with this approach: There’s no accountability to ensure that each of them is completed on a timely basis.
What’s at stake? New product revenue and brand image, which can be lost when product launch timelines must be pushed back due to delays during the launch process. For many companies, supply chain disruptions can be very costly.
To eliminate this problem area, molders need to adopt agile, responsive, “closed-loop” communication methods that ensure that questions are promptly answered and course corrections can be quickly made to keep projects on track.
New Berlin Plastics’ approach: To ensure that new customer projects achieve production quickly with a minimum of hassle, New Berlin Plastics has developed the LaunchLogic process. It combines a streamlined and optimized process for product launches with proprietary software that enhances project communication and collaboration. The result is a 98% on-time launch track record, achieved over 100 simultaneous open customer projects.
When a plastic injection molder is committed to ongoing reinvestment in its business, you win – in the form of consistent part quality, improved agility and a lower total cost of ownership. This type of molder is a supply chain partner you can trust.
Why don’t more plastic injection molders take such an enlightened, customer-focused approach? Because it’s expensive and requires ongoing dedication and buy-in throughout the company.
Not only that, it requires a deep, ongoing commitment from the company’s ownership and investors to reinvest profits into methodically improving the business. This can be challenging for many molders. Those that are owned by private equity investors may not always act in the customer’s best interest. Other molders are happy to provide a low-cost molding solution, using older presses and outdated technology.
In both cases, these suppliers may be challenged to make deep, long-term commitments to continuous improvement and customer value.
In our view, reinvesting in people, technology and equipment is the only sustainable path to plastic injection molding excellence. That’s the course we’re committed to at New Berlin Plastics.
We invite you to take a closer look at what we can do for you. Contact us today to discuss your needs.