Most companies believe that it’s their customers who make them successful. However, there are many people who contribute to the success of your company, such as your employees: including your technicians, management team, and others. There are also your bankers, shippers, and many more upon who you depend to support your business. There are also your suppliers.
Many times when management begins working on a strategic marketing plan they forget to include their suppliers in that plan. What can your suppliers do for you besides supply you with raw material, components, supplies, and logistics? Well, your suppliers are major contributors to your business’s long-term success.
Just ask The Rodon Group, a 57-year-old custom injection molder that is marking 30 years of cooperation with Ticona, the engineering polymers business of Celanese Corp., that has resulted in successful products, including the K’NEX building toy system made with Celcon acetal copolymer (POM). This gives the construction toys the ability to snap and unsnap over and over into multiple configurations.
“We started with Ticona in the early '80s,” said Lowell Allen, Rodon’s Sr. VP of Manufacturing. “Ticona has put forth a tremendous amount of time – material selection, part design, tooling design, and processing expertise – to help achieve peak material performance. This really helped to forge a bond that has lasted over the last three decades.”
Since the 1950s, the Rodon Group has produced plastic molded parts for a variety of applications in a variety of industries, including consumer, medical, construction and pharmaceutical. However, Rodon’s best-known product is the K’NEX construction toys, both companies operating units of K’NEX Brands LP.
“Ticona has a long history of providing know-how and process technology to an extensive list of products molded by Rodon,” said Eric Howe, account manager for Ticona. “Through the years, we’ve worked together on material selection, part and tooling design, and processing technology.”
For example, Rodon still uses the original K’NEX construction toy molds created in the 1990s, based on Ticona analysis using Moldflow MF and AC Technology C-Flow programs that artificially balanced the runner systems while maximizing the cavitation. This helped ensure part quality in high-volume production runs, which makes K’NEX more profitable in a very competitive industry, said The Rodon Group.
“Each Ticona team member we’ve worked with over the years has not only been outstanding, and technically proficient, but also a friend,” Allen commented in a release. “In addition to material expertise, Ticona has provided exemplary technical help with several metal replacement opportunities. There are not too many companies that can boast of a 30-year relationship – one that has endured several generations of salespeople, engineers, and managers, and one that continues successfully in 2013. Pretty amazing stuff.”
When you’re doing your strategic marketing planning, don’t forget to include your suppliers and work with them to take advantage of what they have to offer: expertise in materials and components, support services, advice, and market intelligence (they do get around, you know). You and your suppliers belong to a mutual admiration society, and success – both yours and theirs – depends on that relationship.