Etched onto the Statue of Liberty, then comes the big part, “………. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. Receiving a couple of molds recently that were designed, built, and run elsewhere made me think again of this similarity. In the molding world, PlastiCert sometimes feels like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, when we talk about transitioning in customers’ molds from other molding suppliers.
While we primarily design and make new molds for programs here in house, we also transition in existing customer molds and more often, new customer’s molds when they switch to us from other shops. Switching to us for a variety of reasons, we have received molds from Eastern Europe, Mexico and East Asia, China predominately. At times, we feel like the agents on Ellis Island. A mold sits before us, not able to say anything. Our Mold Shop, the “Intake Handlers”, don’t know much about its history. We must figure out its current state, its health and how well it functions, and how to help it become productive again.
Regularly transitioning in molds that were built and run elsewhere requires a systematic plan to transition them in, assess them, and integrate them into production through validation. That process also includes the end part(s) the mold provides, assessing the BOM and integrating the part(s) to be made into our ERP system. This is true when it is just one or two molds, it is even more important when it is a family or collection of molds. A number of times, we have performed this process on molds that were designed and built here, then transitioned elsewhere by the customer. Ultimately the grass was NOT greener, and our mold has come home. Still, we have to assess and evaluate what has “happened” to it while it was gone.
When talking to a molder, even when in the context of just a new mold and part program, look at their process for mold transfers. Both in adopting existing molds as well as what they can/will provide for transitioning a mold out of their shop. It will make you better equipped to deal with that aspect of the relationship when its time arrives.
Questioning whether a move from your existing molder is possible, or should you just leave molds where they are at and start up new programs at PlastiCert? Talk to us about it. What ever you have for a mold, it is quite likely we have seen something like it, and odds are good we can make it productive again. Not always, but our success rate is quite high!
*From “The New Colossus” by American poet Emma Lazarus. The poem was engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in 1903. While not its original intent, The Statue of Liberty quickly became a symbol of immigration as numerous immigrant ships passed under her.