Q&A: Perspectives and Outlook

Inside insight on the moldmaking industry's challenges, strengths and growth potential.

Columns From: 5/1/2011 MoldMaking Technology, , from MoldMaking Technology

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Christina M. Fuges

MoldMaking Technology

Last month we introduced the new editorial advisory board, this month let’s hear a few words.

What do you see as the industry’s number one challenge?

The Image of Manufacturing. People need to understand that manufacturing creates wealth. When you create something and sell it, you create wealth.

Overseas Competition. Continuing the fight against offshore tooling by staying ahead of the curve with technology to better leadtimes.

Workforce Staffing and Experience Continuity. We need to motivate and encourage a good representation of ambitious young men and women to join our efforts. The challenge is to transfer the job knowledge of the skilled tradesman into a written process without losing the focus on quality and flexibility.

Changing Business Model. Need to embrace the changing business model of a North American mold builder—change the way we do business form a custom builder to more of a process-driven manufacturer.

Time-to-Market. Speed to market has been a huge driving factor in today’s manufacturing process.

What do you see as the industry’s number one strength?

Innovation and Ingenuity. Continual process improvement to stay competitive with world markets and overcome adversity. Innovative, resourceful, dynamic leadership coupled with a creative workforce creates process-driven manufacturing needed to survive and thrive.

Quality and Reliability. The quality of the tools manufactured compared to the low-cost tooling that many companies get burned by, and the ability to react to a customer’s immediate needs when they have a serious problem.

Advanced Technology. Constantly advancing manufacturing technologies provide the industry with the ability to not only react to customer needs, but to enable and enhance their product features and performance.
Advanced Technology. Constantly advancing manufacturing technologies provide the industry with the ability to not only react to customer needs, but to enable and enhance their product features and performance.

People, People, People. Creative, committed, proud people who respect diversity relative to industry experience and background, and who blend youthful insight with the experience of industry veterans. The toolmaker who provides solutions in steel

Where do you see the most growth potential?

Ourselves. Our largest growth potential is within us; not within markets or money. Today’s moldmakers have grown and become successful, as individuals, leaders and companies. Failing companies have been turned into profit centers. Successes have been shared so as to help another, helping our industry.

End Markets. The most growth potential right now is in medical, aerospace, sustainability/renewable energy initiatives, transportation, consumer products and home improvement.

Unique Technologies/Services. Tool shops that are well managed and well staffed and have a strong network of support from suppliers and outsource partners have a distinct advantage. For the tool shop that is deliberately focused on expansion and growth through increased sales, the investment in highly productive machining technologies is a necessity. Special machining via advanced technology in five-axis machining. Performing value-add to your customers, Molding, Automation, Sampling, EOAT. Molding machine manufactures, mold builders, polymer developers, and product designers working in concert for more sustainable solutions.

Global Work. The global playground. More and more companies every day are becoming multi-national—embracing global opportunities, becoming truly best-in-class in your specialized are, and figuring out how to serve the client who used to be next door, but now also manufactures on the other side of world.

Flexibility and Agility. Reacting to the needs of the industry is a great tool for growth. Diversification of product mix will benefit those shops who will invest in themselves and the industry.


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