PlasticsToday's Clare Goldsberry has written books for molders and moldmakers that include business and marketing strategies. Based on her long experience, she's come up with five key points to running a successful mold manufacturing operation.
1. Perform an evaluation to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). These are critical to creating marketing, marketing communications, and sales strategies; identifying your space in a crowded, competitive, global market place; and building the right business with the right customers using the right message.
2. Watch your cash flow. Cash is still king, according to many successful mold manufacturers. Get tough with payment terms, and make sure that customers adhere to these terms in a timely manner. There's no making up lost profit on the next mold from a customer. Money lost is lost. And the "next" mold is an illusion until you have a signed purchase order.
3. Make your suppliers a part of your business. You can't do it all, even if you'd like to. Time and money are the two driving factors in any job you get. Everyone wants it faster and cheaper. See what your suppliers can do to help you drive out time and costs from your mold build, whether from buying more components vs. making them, or getting more training in optimizing your high-speed machinery.
4. Become a vital part of your customers' success. Become indispensible to their business, and know their business as well as your own. Your success is dependent upon your customers' success, and that rests on the productivity, efficiency, and quality that you build into every mold. That is the value you provide-educate your customers in that value.
5. Don't be afraid to be creative and innovative in solutions for your customers. They may want one thing, but if you see something that provides more value or higher productivity and lowers their cost to manufacture, crunch the numbers and present it. Just building it to the print is something any moldmaker-even those in China-can do. U.S. moldmakers have long been known for their creativity, so let it shine!—[email protected]