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September 1, 2001

3 Min Read
Growing out of subcontract work

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For most of its history, Moldes RP was a subcontractor to other moldmakers. Being located near Marinha Grande, the heart of Portugal's moldmaking industry, helped keep business steady, yet the company soon learned the benefits of direct sales. Working with sales agents in the U.S. and other markets, Moldes RP began to change its focus about three years ago. It was a change that set off a growth spurt that most recently forced the company into new and larger quarters. 

IMM visited this new 18,300-sq-ft facility (photo, right) to get a better look. It replaced the company's original 3200-sq-ft location, yet most of the equipment was brought from the old facility. Was the old one crowded? Only if you had to move between the machines, says Rui Pinho, company president, with a smile. 

Supporting clients during the entire product development cycle is a must.

Moldes RP produces small to medium-sized molds for the appliance, cosmetics, and electrical markets. Pinho says the company is still a bit too small to specialize effectively. However, he clearly implies that finding a niche is in the company's future. It is steadily upgrading machinery, especially to acquire more EDM and high-speed milling machines. Some of the new space is being used to expand the quality department. 

Customer Focused 
Even when the company was smaller, Pinho knew it had to support clients during the entire product development cycle if the firm was to survive. For this reason, the design department that was originally two people will eventually grow to 10. Overall, Moldes RP employed 30 people in April but will have close to 45 by the end of this year. 

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The molds made by Moldes RP are small to medium in size and often are complex.

The U.S., which is handled through two agents and a service company in New York, is a strong market for Moldes RP. It also ships to the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Spain. Mafalda Rodrigues of the company's sales department says working with firms in foreign markets has not presented great difficulties with language nor with communication of drawings and specifications. The company is very open with clients, sharing all drawings so that changes are easily made. It is also open with clients about work contracted to other moldmakers in the area. Only simple parts are farmed out; complicated work is always done in-house. 

Although Rodrigues asked that we not identify the company, Moldes RP has had repeat orders from one U.S. client that has never visited the facility. There are others who, after the first visit or two, don't feel the need to come in person during projects, even for mold trials. Instead, parts are shipped or photos are sent by e-mail for evaluation. 

Most of the molds IMM saw were complicated, frequently involving tough angles, undercuts, and many pulls and slides, indications of a level of client confidence that says something very positive about the company's work. Pinho sees the growth continuing as the company sticks with its principles of quality, delivery, and total support. To prove that, the site plan shows another production hall with the same floor space as the one the company moved into this year. 

Contact information
Moldes RP
Marinha Grande, Portugal
Mafalda Rodrigues
+351 (244) 575 370
[email protected]

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