When the downside is not so down

Published On: January 12th, 2023|Categories: Blog|

We received our 2022 Top Shop Award data. Naturally we looked first to the Opportunities for Improvement section. That data is the reason we submit our information in the first place. There were some opportunities for improvement, 5 areas to be exact. They were Capacity Utilization, Machine Usage, Order Lead Time, Scrap Recycling Rate, and Set-up Time.

This feedback is the primary reason we are smiling so much at PlastiCert. Four of the five criteria are not of big concern, to us. Not that we do not want to improve those numbers, we do. It is that our business model, the way we run and operate our company is a departure from injection molder norms, and we do not emphasize these metrics. We are an injection molder that caters to the OEM that wants thousands of parts not millions. That OEM that orders a part anywhere from 6 times a year to maybe once every other year. That doesn’t forecast what they need, because they build to order, and need to be able to call and ask for parts when they need them, rather than sitting on inventory making poor use of their capital.

Capacity Utilization – We purposely have available capacity, to accommodate the 95% of our customers that do not forecast demand, they just call and ask for parts. When they do, they are looking for a quick delivery. As such, we always have available capacity to allow them to operate that way. The good news is that we improved on our number from last year by over 50%.

Machine Usage – This metric is measured based on a 24-hour production day. PlastiCert can run lights out, but we rarely do for the afore mentioned reasons, our runs are small enough that we would over produce if we ran into third shift unmanned. We run two shifts 16 hours a day, as that is what our operation performs at best. We used to run a third shift, and we may again someday, but right now it would be a nicety, but not required.

Order Lead Time – In 2021 this was identified as a strength. Supply chain issues hit everyone in industry this past year and we were no exception. We plan on this metric returning to normal in next year’s assessment.

Scrap Recycling Rate – This first appeared in last year’s Top Shop and knew it would be an issue going forward. We have worked this issue for the last year. Being a smaller volume processor, we do not generate the scrap (which was On-Track in this assessment) to entice recyclers to want our scrap. We continue to explore new avenues of how to deal with what little scrap we do generate.

Set-up Time – For us, rapidly changing over is not as much of a priority, which falls in line with our machine usage numbers. We jump from press to press based on what our customers need, but not always is there a work order queued up to go into a press as soon as it finishes running it’s current order.

So, when your opportunities for improvement are that, but not mission critical, you just have to be smiling. We can actually focus on those but spend more time on those metrics that are “On-Track” but could still be improved to allow us to serve our customers even better.

Are your suppliers’ problems not really problems? If you need a more reliable and consistent injection molder, or if you are struggling with getting your orders out of a typical “high volume” molder, give us a call. We may be a much better match for your type of program.

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