Is It Time to Break Up with Your Custom Injection Molder?
Consider this scenario: Despite your best efforts, your custom injection molder continues to miss critical deadlines or is producing and assembling your project at an unacceptable error rate. Bottom line: It costs you much more than you had budgeted and has become a problem that needs to be fixed.
What are your options? Can you afford to switch to a new manufacturing partner?
Moving On Isn't So Hard
Many companies choose a supplier to provide custom injection molding services, finished assembly, or decorative assembly from a third party. This approach can be a great production solution, especially if the actual operational delivery of your product isn't your company's forte. If you're working with a supplier in such a capacity, and the relationship has some history, you might be inclined to stay with your custom injection molder and just ride it out. However, if there are ongoing problems, finding a new source might be easier than you think.
If your work through the "break up" methodically, you can realize the cost savings and production improvements you desire without missing deliverables. There are several things to consider when making the decision to move injection molds from one supplier to another.
The ideal solution is one where the existing supplier, new supplier, and customer can openly communicate while maintaining all your deliverables. However, when this is impossible, having a supplier experienced with this type of transaction is invaluable. There is no substitute for experience and comprehensive planning.
Take It Step-by-Step
The first step is establishing a sufficient inventory buffer before transferring the business. You want to avoid getting caught with too few parts on hand and causing an interruption in your business. At this stage, the current and new suppliers have specific responsibilities to ensure a smooth handoff.
Next, you'll want to clarify the deliverables regarding delivery, service, costs, and quality with your new supplier. It's a perfect opportunity to implement the improvements or enhancements you've been meaning to address—but didn't—because you didn't want to rock the boat. As the customer, you are also responsible for communicating known problems to your new supplier. If you want them to succeed, give them their best chance by communicating your goals and issues. Clear communication is critical at this point (indeed, throughout the entire process).
After everyone is on the same page, you'll want to ensure all parties are on board with cosmetic standards for the parts to avoid interpretation errors later. We recommend retaining each mold's last "acceptable" shot (part and runner attached if applicable) before transferring.
Finally, you and your new custom injection molder should develop an action plan to resolve any outstanding problems in accordance with future production needs and order of importance. Doing so will provide a successful foundation to build a lasting relationship.
To learn how to accomplish this process, download our guide, 7 Key Points to Consider When Transferring Injection Molds from Suppliers. They say breaking up is hard to do, but with the right contract manufacturer as your partner, it doesn't need to be a heartbreaker.