On-time delivery (OTD). Suppliers are defined by it. Industrial buyers demand it. A recent study about supplier sourcing confirms it, reporting that "delivery performance" is the most important of six factors buyers consider when compiling supplier shortlists.
The focus on supplier OTD takes on added significance in light of the massive supply disruptions caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. How well or how poorly a supplier is navigating the crisis and meeting OTD expectations provides a glimpse into their grasp on materials handling and production processes.
The global pandemic has North American manufacturing reeling. Nearly half of suppliers report shipping and logistics disruptions, with 35% also registering incidents of offshore factory suspension and/or production restrictions.1
MD&M West in Anaheim recently wrapped up, and I’ve had some time to reflect on one of the key panel discussions: Exploring the Connection Between Your Manufacturing Process & Patient Safety.
Using color in medical device design is both practical and a business strategy. Switches and keyboard buttons, for example, might be grouped and color-coded for user-friendliness and improved functionality.1 Medical device color is also used aesthetically to complement surroundings, and strategically to carry through OEM branding on medical devices.
Among today’s manufacturers, both 3D printing and plastic injection molding are viable options for producing complex plastic parts and components. While originally considered competing technologies, these techniques are now each largely recognized as having unique advantages and can even be used together to help optimize production efficiency.
Quality is an important benchmark in all aspects of plastic injection molding, and rightfully so. Producing high-quality plastic parts is always the goal, but how often do you stop to consider what a supplier misstep, a materials mix-up, or a process miscalculation could do to the project overall?
Poor quality — in any form and to any degree — can have far-reaching impact. The solution is partnering with an experienced custom injection molder that can help you maintain standards that keep quality at the forefront of every project.
The more OEMs learn about plastic overmolding, the more they want to use this injection molding process to solve application-specific challenges ranging from soft-touch or stylish consumer products to field-use devices that require extra protection and user-friendly features. Not only does overmolding improve functionality, performance, and aesthetics, it lowers total production costs — which is pretty rare these days.
Successful custom injection molding requires process management that’s guided by expertise and precision timing. Tool and process engineers are front-and-center in the product and tool design phases, ultimately making decisions and guiding the steps necessary to ensure consistent and repeatable manufacturability of defect-free injection molded parts.
The impact of the widening skills gap is of ongoing concern for manufacturers. The 2018 Deloitte skills gap and future of work in manufacturing study reports that the average time to fill skilled production worker positions jumped from 70 days to 93 days between 2015 and 2018, surpassed only by finding engineers, researchers, and scientists which bounced from 94 days to 118 days over the same time period.