The past several weeks have seen a whirlwind of collective emotion. The impact of COVID-19 is challenging all of us to reassess our priorities, appreciate things we tend to otherwise take for granted, and do our parts to protect each other by staying safer at home.
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
OEMs regularly face an important decision: use a supplier from overseas or partner with a US-based supplier.
Why is this so important? Because if your supplier is somehow incapacitated and deliverables are delayed, your orders go partially or wholly unfulfilled. That has a negative ripple effect on your customers and your reputation. This is evident from Thomas' March Industrial Survey, which saw a reduced desire from US manufacturers to source internationally (43% in February to 34% in March), and increase in those looking to source from North American manufacturers (47% from 43%).
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.
Manufacturers are always looking for practical ways to streamline product design, engineering and production, which leads many to supplier consolidation.
This is particularly true in the case of custom injection molding, where working with a single injection molding supplier that possesses the expertise and capabilities to meet your needs reduces development time and associated costs, improves logistics, and optimizes processes.
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.
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?