(Updated July 2021)
Supply chain professionals focused on creating a supply chain of trustworthy sources that can meet their product needs, but how can they get more than just a simple "shoot and ship" from their plastics supply chain? For example, injection molding suppliers have an opportunity to provide a significant value to their customers if they expand their capabilities to more than only injection molding.
With the vast number of injection molding suppliers, OEM supply chain managers have been more focused on reducing and consolidating the supply chain since 2008. Initially, the main driver was to increase the buying power at a single supplier (for pricing negotiations) and reducing the need for additional internal overhead to manage vendors. However, over the past decade, many OEMs have continued not to add suppliers, only offering simple solutions and only focusing on suppliers that provide more than the standard.
The Convenience of a Single Source Supplier
Whether the plastic part is an internal component, exterior shell, or entire assembly, it makes sense to have an injection molding supplier that can provide a value-added service at the time of molding. For example, if your project requires a sub-assembly or full assemblies, the injection molding supplier can complete them after the plastic components are manufactured. The process also works for kitting components, whether injection molded or off the shelf, offering a solution for a complete product kit ready for distribution. Other secondary services include parts decoration, packaging, heat staking, annealing, machining, vacuum/pressure testing, and managing EMI and RFI shielding vendors.
Value-add suppliers can relieve the stress of managing large supply chains by reducing the total number of needed vendors required to manufacture your plastic component or device. If the injection molding supplier is experienced enough -they help manage secondary suppliers by
- Auditing the supplier selection process
- Ensure quality and delivery
- Manage orders, production dates, and lead times, and pricing
- Offer a single point of contact for a product
Cost Efficiencies for Plastic Injection Molding
While price isn't always a driving factor at an OEM, it still plays a significant part in supplier selection when evaluating the value behind what the pricing is. There aren't many moving pieces involved for simple "shoot and ship" parts, and OEM's can compare suppliers in a more straightforward format. For a better understanding of some tips when choosing your supplier, please check out this article on the RFQ process for injection molding and tooling; Accurate Proposal for Tooling for Injection Molding.
OEM's are comparing the value that they are receiving from their vendor vs. the cost/pricing that they quoted. So while there isn't necessarily a solid dollar amount they can attribute towards the value add, they can get close by reviewing all of the components and factors leading to the total price.
By combining injection molding and the post-molding operations into a single supplier already manufacturing your industry-specific plastic components or devices, you will notice at a minimum the savings from a labor standpoint, not to mention all of the logistics and "soft costs" of internal tracking at the OEM. Less time spent for the purchasing staff tracking supplier performance and maintaining purchasing agreements/contracts, not to mention fewer vendor meetings, negotiations, phone calls, and emails, which inevitably leads to lower administrative costs.
By reducing your supply chain for injection molding, you will enhance relationships with your chosen vendors that can help further streamline your manufacturing and receiving faster complaint resolution. In addition, those left in your reduced supplier base now become more than just suppliers; they become partners; they have a vested interest in ensuring your project and company succeeds.
Design and Engineering Plastics Components
For a single product with one component to complete assemblies with over 35+ components, the upfront design, engineering and manufacturability become a critical step before full production. If your supply chain has a vendor with a high level of value add capabilities, there will be a different approach when reviewing the product. Not only from a "how should we assemble this?" standpoint but from a reducing the total components for more efficient manufacturing.
When a value-added supplier reviews your complete project, the goal is to reduce complexity while keeping the design intent, functionality, and performance. Many times, entire types of components or assembly can be removed or changed for a more cost-effective and efficient manufacturing method. Again, the goal is to manufacturing products with existing labor, equipment, automation, etc., while reducing the time required to manufacturing the final piece.
Crescent Industries has been a value-added supplier to OEM's for 75 years and is looking to partner with companies that appreciate the value they bring through the design, manufacturing technology, and post-molding operations to ensure their customers' success.