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December 9, 1998

2 Min Read
Questions a U.S. Toolbuyer May Want To Ask

Many tool shops worldwide want to establish a relationshipwith a mould buyer in the United States. To find out what U.S.buyers are looking for, IMI interviewed Michael L. Hetzel, presidentand CEO of Broadview Injection Molding, Broadview, Illinois, USA.Hetzel offers the following 10 items he looks for when reviewinga prospective offshore toolbuilding partner. This viewpoint isbased on his own exhaustive two-year search involving a fieldof 20 candidates, 10 finalists, and five visits.

What Your Potential Customer Will Want

  • Your U.S. customer will want to control the moulddesign. Do you have the proper compatible modem communicationslinks and software?

  • Do you have a design leader willing to make overseastelephone calls- sometimes at odd hours?

  • Do you have access to the exact same mould steelsthat your customer is using elsewhere? An "equivalent"is often not good enough. If he prefers to use Uddeholm, can youcomply?

  • Will you work directly with this customer, orwill he have to pay a U.S. or other agent an extra fee?

  • Are your prices the cheapest he will find thatcan still provide the type and quality of mould he needs?

  • Can your tooling manager speak conversationalEnglish? What about technical English, so that he can clearlycommunicate any engineering-related issues?

  • How do you handle multiple slides, intricateshutoffs, cavity-to-cavity repeatability, and sampling? He maywant to send you a sample design and have you quote your approach.

  • Your prospective customer is likely to want tovisit your operation. Even if you can provide a beautiful brochureand show samples, he may visit the plant to examine not only yourtoolroom, but also the parking lot, the washrooms, and the administrativeoffices. He will be looking for clues to your stability, capability,and financial resources.

  • Have your principals and your technical staffboth been available to meet your prospective customer?

  • Are you willing to visit your customer's plantto see what you are going to be quoting, and to better understandhis processing protocols?

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