The recent escalation of tariffs on aluminum, steel, and the finished goods that contain those materials has many manufacturers and their customers uncertain about how to continue to go to market. The shifting global political landscape surrounding aluminum and steel tariffs makes ongoing price spikes and supply chain disruption very real possibilities, but there’s no predicting if or when these events will occur.
According to a recent study, about half of industrial buyers make decisions about adding suppliers in less than 30 days. In that time they vet an average of five suppliers, evaluating each on criteria including market presence, brand strength, and reputation. The most heavily weighted criterion, however, is delivery performance.
A supply chain is a staple for any manufacturer, and the suppliers within it largely dictate production processes, costs, and profitability of the end product. This may explain why OEMs put a lot of time and effort into managing their supply chains — but is managing supplier relationships enough to remain competitive?
For companies that require tight-tolerance, critical-use plastic injection molding capabilities, it's important to partner with a supplier that can consistently deliver quality products and value-added services to support these solutions. When evaluating your list of potential full-service injection molders, however, you may ask yourself, "Do I want a partner that is specialized or diversified?"
From a supplier and customer viewpoint, there can be risks involved in choosing a specialized molder, and the guideline below explains why.
Total delivered cost (TDC) is the amount of money it takes for a company to manufacture and deliver a product. The definition sounds simple enough, yet all that TDC entails — sourcing raw materials, manufacturing bulk and intermediate products, finished goods packaging, inventory holding, transportation, distribution, and final delivery — reveals its complexity and considerable impact on the bottom line.
Quality is an important benchmark in all aspects of an injection molding project, 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 snafu or a process miscalculation could do to a project overall? Poor quality — in any form and to any degree — can have far-reaching impact. The solution is partnering with an experienced injection molder that can help you keep quality at the forefront in every aspect of a project:
For all practical purposes, supply chains are extensions of an OEM’s capabilities and services. Injection molders on an OEM’s approved supplier list must demonstrate certain core competencies that help address — and alleviate — OEM concerns around quality, cost, reliability and a host of other factors that could influence outcomes and, ultimately, their reputation and bottom line.
Manufacturers are always looking for practical ways to streamline product design, engineering and production, leading many to supplier consolidation. Reasons for this make good business sense, and include reduced development time and associated costs, improved logistics, and a single point of contact.
In the case of custom injection molding, however, even these compelling business reasons may not be enough to overcome the difficulty of finding a single supplier that possesses the injection molding expertise and capabilities to optimize your process and meet your needs.
Always have a Plan B. That’s something we’re taught early-on in life, but the truth is, it’s easy to become complacent and not have a backup plan. For manufacturers, this can be particularly risky since, so often, unanticipated events out of their direct control on the supply side of production can cause turmoil.