Make Competition Work for You



Many of you may have attended the National Plastics Exposition (NPE) show held once every three years. As an exhibitor at this show, Makino took some time to note the latest and greatest technologies of the plastics industry. Walking the show floor, I saw a growing number of saw mold builders with signs showcasing a variety of molds and plastic products with lead times that clearly showed they were utilizing high-speed machining. It was good to see "high-speed" plastic injection mold builders and to discuss with them the results they’re getting from this advanced process.

At the other end of the plastics "food chain," molders were equally busy at NPE. Many molders visited Makino’s booth, so interested in mold building technology that they often mistook us for mold builders. Upon further discussion, it became clear that molders are interested in suppliers utilizing the latest technology. They’re depending on their mold building suppliers to help them meet customer demands and time-to-market pressures. The molders want suppliers that can cut mold lead time and improve mold quality.

This very informal research conducted at trade shows like NPE confirms an observation I’ve made many times in past articles: time-based competition continues to drive the mold building industry. The growth in the plastics industry will only increase this competition. NPE had record attendance, tremendous purchasing activity and displayed more plastic-made products than ever before. This points to the fact that molders at NPE, and throughout the industry, will be making more plastic products than ever before. As a result, they are clamoring for "better, faster, more" from mold builders.

Learn more about your customers’ customers

That’s the primary reason we attend shows like NPE where the question most often asked Makino was "why are you here?" "Why would a machining center manufacturer attend a plastics industry trade show?" Well, we’re definitely not mold builders, nor do we claim to be. However, Makino believes it cannot help plastic injection mold builders meet their customers’ needs without understanding the plastics industry. Similarly, without understanding how your customers meet their customers’ needs, you cannot support them effectively.

Supplying your customers time

The payoff for employing high-speed machining and diligently optimizing your technology to cut lead time and improve quality becomes obvious. If you can provide quality molds within a certain time frame you can set pricing more flexibly. ALL customers come to mold builders with emergency jobs; if you can deliver, you’ll have more pricing latitude.

You’re providing your customers with time to better address other issues in their own manufacturing process as much as you’re providing them with molds. This is the benefit of time-based competition and it creates a valuable relationship between you and your customer. Mold builders should make time-based competition work for them by investing in advanced technology and, more importantly, continually optimizing it for the best results and maximum return on investment. NPE clearly showed that the plastics industry is growing and advancing. Is your shop ready?

Source: Competitive Mold Maker, Volume 3, Number 2