Custom part suppliers are a key partner in your business — they’re the ones who produce your best design work in its physical form. Based on the theory that your product is only as good as its weakest link, your chosen supply partner plays a large part in whether you have a successful product, or fall short of your customers’ needs. The way you go about selecting your injection mold and molding supplier, and how you invest in building your relationship with them, is crucial.
How can you be sure that the relationship you’re entering will be a beneficial one?
A description of a “good” or “bad” supplier partnership can vary widely. Much like people, companies have personalities and a partnership strategy that works well for one supplier/customer match, might create poor results for another.
Knowing up front, what you expect out of your supplier, based on your needs, is paramount to a successful product life cycle. Determining your needs and defining your expectations can vary a great deal from start-up to large corporation.
Ask yourself a few questions to help determine the type of injection moldering partner will work best meet your needs:
- Have we adequately determined what our needs are?
- Do their offerings correspond with your needs?
This seems like a simple question, but many companies fail to look into the minimum threshold of capabilities they need out of a molder, particularly involving expertise.
In order to arrive at a production part in hand, you have to have a mold designer, a mold builder and an injection molder. They can be three separate entities, two or all three can be within one organization.
You may find a molder that is capable of making the particular component you’ve designed, but is the resin and component typical of what they make for others?
Lastly, customers often fall into the trap of equating volume with capabilities. They want to work with a molder that works in production runs of millions, when they only require a few thousand at a time. This may seem like an advantage, that if they can make that many, making a few is no problem, but can actually backfire in many ways. If you’re a small startup, for example, and have a low volume of components to have molded, a large manufacturer will likely not be the best fit for you. The overhead spread out over smaller quantities may be cost prohibitive. Additionally, higher volume customers may bump you down the priority list.
How does this molder work with their existing customers? What do we anticipate the working relationship to look like?
An injection mold designer & builder as well as the production injection molder typically is a pure service provider. They have no products of their own, they are there solely to provide you the mold and then the plastic/composite components you require to make you end product.
The relationship with your molder can be as simple as, we send you purchase orders, you send us quality parts on time.
That relationship can also mirror your relationship with any group on your production floor. The injection mold designer and the injection molding group feel as and also act as if they are extensions of your own production floor. Meaning they are making your custom component that you require to make you end product, just as if they were on your own production floor.
These are but a few of the significant points of interest in selecting a molding partner. Much like any partner, you can approach the other with a checklist, but in the end, spending some time together will help to formulate an opinion on compatibility between organizations.