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.
As injection-molded plastic parts continue to gain popularity as versatile solutions for complex applications, OEMs in a variety of industries carry at least one injection molding supplier on their approved vendor list.
The question isn’t one of need, but rather if the injection molder is a supplier because of convenience or strategy. Continuing injection molder relationships based on limited past experience, price point, or anything other than proven capabilities is risky; inconsistencies in product quality or delivery expectations can break your supply chain. Suddenly you could be left scrambling to stop the domino effect of the disruption, and probably ignoring other business growth opportunities.
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.
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.
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.