Minding Your Business

Paying attention to the direction of activity levels in moldmaking from month to month can serve as an indicator of what's to come before it becomes an issue in your shop.

Paying attention to the direction of activity levels in moldmaking from month to month can serve as an indicator of what's to come before it becomes an issue in your shop. Moldmakers must learn to separate the craft of moldmaking from the business of moldmaking because you're in business to make profits—not to make molds. In order to make profits, you need to arm yourself with the right market information, such as the data provided by the Mold Business Index (MBI)—supplied by Bill Wood, founder and president of Mountaintop Economics & Research, Inc. (Greenfield, MA) who has 20 years of experience in industrial market analysis. This information serves as validation of what you are experiencing in your shop and can give you the business perspective you need to help you make informed business decisions.

The only limits to the current data are what you make of it, and with your regular participation in this survey the data will only get better. The benefits of participation include rapid response to market trends with survey results turned around to you in a week; a risk management tool; and, a small but definite edge over your competition if you apply the information immediately and direct your management activities.

See the following quotes from just a few of the current survey participants:

  • "In the hustle and bustle of everyday moldmaking we don't get to talk to other moldmakers to see how the market and future is looking, so we appreciate the MBI info. We use it as a tool to measure the market and make decisions. The past eight months we have enjoyed an upturn in business and now need more help and new equipment." Charlie McQuain, Cambridge Tool & Die Corp. (Cambridge, OH)
  • "One of the real challenges in operating in the tool, die and mold (TDM) sector is the absence of meaningful, accurate and consistent trade data and facts. There are few if any credible indices that monitor and report on the TDM sector. I am not certain how statistically robust the index/measure is in its current form, but the sub indices do seem to collaborate, the anecdotal gut feel sense for the direction prices, orders and production are heading. As the sector becomes more involved in a global trading environment it becomes more important than ever to have good data." Guy Di Ponio, Valiant Tool & Mold Inc. (Valiant, ON)
  • "The index gives me a general idea how moldmakers are doing across the country.  I often know how other companies are doing close to home, but really need to know the nationwide trend.  Filling out the survey and later interpreting the data only takes a few minutes and I think it is time well spent." Bruce Carmichael, TomKen Tool (Muncie, IN)

The MBI is published in each issue of MoldMaking Technology magazine and is based on a monthly survey of North American moldmakers, from which a diffusion index is calculated based on 50.0. A value above 50.0 for the MBI indicates that business activity expanded in the previous month, while a value below 50.0 means that business levels declined. The total Mold Business Index is a weighted average of the sub-indices for new orders, production, employees, backlog, exports and supplier deliveries.

Log onto www.moldmakingtechnology.com and you will see a link to the one-page questionnaire, which can be downloaded, printed and faxed to Bill at (413) 772-6874. If you have any questions regarding the survey please contact Bill at (413) 772-6436 or via e-mail at billwood@plasticseconomics.com.

I strongly urge all of you to take the time to fill out this survey—the few precious minutes you spend doing so will only help to make the findings even more beneficial to you and your peers. To those of you who regularly supply Bill with the information he needs to keep the industry informed, thank you for your continued support!

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