Choosing a partner for plastic injection molding is a major decision, involving many overlapping considerations.
Of course, not all estimates are parallel. How do you estimate the true cost of ownership through the lifetime of a project?
And with today’s global supply chain disruptions and economic instability, finding a reliable and qualified partner is extra challenging.
As with any big decision, it helps to break it down step-by-step to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.
Outline Your Expectations for Injection Molding Partner
Each potential partner has a different set of protocols, processes, and communication styles.
What is going to work best for you, your team, and your project?
Hopefully, your team has a chance to sit down and discuss your expectations for the following:
- Quality of product
- Timing of production and delivery
- Production capabilities
- Financial health
- Continuation plan
- Staying within your budget
Once you have an idea of what your expectations are, you are in a position to think about some other important details, like the supply chain.
Managing the Complete Supply Chain
Some plastic injection molding suppliers have the ability to provide a full-service approach, meaning they can provide design, mold build, production, secondary operations, and inventory management.
This ability to handle a project from cradle to grave is something that more and more OEMs are looking for to ensure on-time and on-budget delivery. Also, offering a benefit to you by consolidating vendors.
Injection Molding More Than a Number
An estimate for a plastic injection molding project is more than just a dollar figure. This is a decision that involves an understanding between two parties that the project will be handled competently, and delivered on time and within the budget.
Molders and customers alike are learning to look at the bigger picture when it comes to evaluating the total cost of ownership. It’s the difference between being price conscious and cost conscious.
Watch the video on injection mold price comparison
Your plastic injection molding partner should be able to discuss and meet your needs now and into the future. It’s a costly mistake to choose the cheapest option for a prototype and short run only to discover that the partner cannot meet your needs once production demand increases.
Not Just a Supplier of Plastic Components
Choosing the right option for a plastic injection molding project means finding a team that understands your project needs, from start to finish. They will help you find ways to avoid common pitfalls, like compromised quality, unpredictable lead and delivery times, or insufficient capability.
They will discuss your project’s particular challenges and find cost-effective solutions. For example, you may have a project that needs a certified ISO Class cleanroom, or requires multiple variations of parts.
In situations like this, choosing a partner that designs and fabricates in-house and manufactures tools in the US can help keep a project on schedule.
Be Prepared to Ask Questions
Communication is the key to finding a good fit. Be prepared to ask questions of potential partners. And know that they will have questions for you.
The more you understand about each other before even requesting an estimate, the more smoothly the process is likely to be.
Consider using a buyer’s guide or checklist to organize the process. You can think about questions about the partner’s history, their system for managing the supply chain, and what sorts of guarantees they will provide about keeping projects on time.
Equally important, you’ll be able to learn more about the partnership process, such as whether they act as an extension of the engineering team, if they have the design capabilities you need, and what their communication style and process is.
Once you have an estimate, you’ll understand a lot more about the specific costs of your project. But some of the most important aspects of the partnership are things like the ability to collaborate and communicate well.
That’s the best way to feel confident that your project is in good hands.