Optimizing Quality, Savings, and Supplier Diversity Through Mold Transfers
Various factors can lead to a situation where manufacturers require the services of a new supplier, especially one capable of effectively managing the seamless transfer of plastic injection molds for complex and high-volume components.
Manufacturers may be seeking a new supplier for a multitude of reasons. These include: enhancing product quality to de-risk their supply chain, receiving injection molded parts at a reduced cost, assisting with outsourced production needs, or helping to oversee their efforts to transfer tooling and reshore manufacturing operations back to the USA.
Regardless of reason, it’s vital to consider a full-service, technology-based plastic injection molding company that aligns with your long-term strategy when relocating injection molds. In this blog post, we will examine various benefits that your company could realize by selecting the right manufacturing partner, enabling the reshoring of manufacturing operations alongside a smooth transfer tooling and molding process.
What is Full-Service in Injection Molding?
At Matrix, we provide comprehensive full-service tooling and molding solutions through cross-functional teams. Our services encompass design and engineering, high-precision mold construction and maintenance, sampling and production molding, project management and quality assurance. All of these services are offered under one roof in NW Pennsylvania and are managed in collaboration with degreed Plastics Engineers and journeymen toolmakers.
Switching injection molding suppliers can provide a strategic advantage by reducing supply chain risk, eliminating single sourcing, or minimizing macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty. Unexpected events can disrupt production and continuity, leading to significant financial losses, vulnerabilities and unnecessary risk if your supply base isn’t appropriately diversified or your current source isn’t meeting expectations.
A well-managed transfer tooling process ensures a seamless transition without interruptions to production schedules. Effective communication and collaboration with the supplier can lead to a better understanding of your specific requirements and goals for your next tool transfer and reshoring project.
Quality control is an utmost concern in manufacturing. A new supplier allows you to reassess the quality standards of your injection molds and, ultimately, your finished product. Before moving the mold, you should evaluate the new supplier’s capabilities, certifications, and adherence to industry-recognized best practices. You should feel comfortable that your molded product quality and tooling upkeep expectations will be met or exceeded due to your decision to transfer.
Many injection molders in the United States follow strict quality standards, so be sure to verify which quality certifications are essential to you, whether they are ISO 9001 (Quality Management System), ISO 13485 (Medical), IATF 16949 (Automotive), and ISO 14001 (Environmental), depending on which industries you serve. It’s crucial to consider a supplier certified to at least one of these standards in your industry to help ensure your products are high-quality. Outstanding quality begins with a highly experienced and well-trained workforce utilizing best-in-class equipment.
Cost considerations are at the forefront of most business decisions. Transferring injection molds to a new supplier can help reduce costs in several ways. For example, design for manufacturability (DFM) can help reduce costs by collaborating with customers during the product design phase to optimize the overall injection molding process. Optimizing material usage minimizes waste and reduces scrap rates, often leading to immense cost savings throughout the life of a product.
It is crucial to work with suppliers that identify and offer process improvements, eliminate waste and streamline overall efficiencies. Implementing lean manufacturing principles, conducting regular process audits and fostering a cost-conscious mindset throughout the organization can lead to significant cost reductions throughout the program for both customer and vendor. It is important to note that any cost reduction measures should be carefully balanced with maintaining product quality without sacrificing customer requirements and expectations.
Most importantly, a new supplier also allows for a collaborative partnership. By choosing a supplier with specific expertise, you can now easily access advanced techniques, materials or design improvements that were unavailable with your previous supplier. These benefits offer enhanced part quality, precision, and increased product and efficiency capabilities.
Seek Innovative and Technology-Driven Suppliers
The injection molding industry continuously evolves as new technologies emerge rapidly. The right new supplier enables using the latest mold design and manufacturing advancements. This benefit could lead to improved product performance, shorter lead-times, and increased productivity.
Embracing innovation in injection molding is also essential for continuous improvement and future growth. Innovation enables injection molders to adapt to changing market trends and evolving customer demands such as miniaturization or product complexities.
Diversifying Supplier Base
Changing suppliers offer an opportunity to diversify your supplier base. Relying on a single or an at-risk supplier poses inherent liability, such as potential disruptions in production due to unforeseeable circumstances (as we’ve seen as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic). By diversifying, you mitigate these risks and ensure a more stable supply chain.
A Smooth Return to Production
Ensuring a smooth return to production is crucial when transferring injection molds, marking a pivotal step for manufacturing success. The right choice in an injection molding partner not only diversifies your supply base but also enhances quality control, embraces technology, boosts capabilities, reduces costs and mitigates risks.
By carefully evaluating potential suppliers and managing the transfer process effectively, you can position your business for improved efficiency, increased competitiveness, and sustained success in the always-evolving manufacturing landscape.