That’s the old saying, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” Of course we know in business, nothing is free, regardless of what the ads might say.
More accurately though, something can be reduced in price if managed well. OEMs come to us choosing not to have injection molding capability in house, and in the end pay less total cost. The same is true for us as a service manufacturer. We need to offer the injection molding services our customers need, yet do it in a cost efficient manner.
We here at PlastiCert are at a strategic advantage being a part of the “Composites Cluster” in SE MN and SW WI. (see links below) We are able to remain smaller and cost efficient by doing what we can for ourselves, but also through accessing business partnerships resulting from the cluster. There are numerous secondary education facilities offering talent and lab space that we can draw on and then pay for, when we need them. Winona State University has the only undergraduate Composites Engineering program in the United States. Besides offering technical talent, they also house an analytical laboratory, COMTEC that we can access for comprehensive testing and analysis when we need it. Likewise, the University of Wisconsin Stout is nearby and their B.S. in Engineering Technology degree has concentrations in Plastics and Operations Management.
Professionally we have business alliance groups like the Winona Area Composites Consortium and the 7 Rivers Region Alliance that provide us with industry networking opportunities and connections to various skills and knowledge. Lastly would be the draw the cluster area has on the supply base. Suppliers and supporters of plastics and composites are both in the area and visiting the area frequently, assisting us in providing the assets necessary to satisfy our customers every need. Whether it be equipment, design services, or raw materials, we have access to those elements that help us serve our customers best both in result and pricing.
So while size may make for might, it also makes for overhead, and cows are not cheap! So look for the solution to your sourcing problem based on immediate need, and the cost efficient support to meet tangential needs. In the end, you’ll make the right decision!