It’s the New Year, and with each New Year we seem to be focused on resolution, and this year more than ever it seems very appropriate. There is no doubt we are in tough economic times and that they will continue for the foreseeable future, but that does not mean it’s time to quit; it means it’s time to resolve to do things differently, more efficiently, better … and have the resolve to see it through.
The landscape of business in the U.S. has changed drastically—making it more difficult for some to stay in business—and the moldmaking industry is no exception. But this industry is full of survivors, and being aware of and taking full advantage of the information, tools and resources available, you can and will find the ways to keep your resolve and move your business forward.
I reached out to our readers to get a general sense of how you see things in mold manufacturing for 2009 and to uncover some resolutions for better business in the future. Most believe positive things await the industry in 2010, but getting through 2009 will be a challenge. This year is forecasted to be slow with flat sales to mild growth toward the third quarter. Quoting is down along with a lack of backlog, so it is expected we will continue to see shops downsize, and unfortunately some molders and toolmakers go out of business. On the other hand, some moldmakers believe the start of the new year will be good as customers try to spend their budgets as quickly as possible. One believes the key will be consumer spending in the second quarter. A few other shops express that they are continuing to be busy and are searching for ways to improve quality and increase capacity without adding labor.
This year will serve as a time to reorganize and get back to the basics—meaning networking and reconnecting with customers and suppliers as opposed to relying on the Internet, reverse auctions and the price-only mentality. One of the biggest challenges will be access to capital, but when this economic crisis comes to an end those who saved and remained as debt-free as possible will most likely do well. I choose to remain optimistic that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
What is your shop’s New Year’s resolution? How about resolving to continue the fight for government to recognize the value in manufacturing to our country and the value of fair trade, but also keeping in mind that we cannot rely only on government to fix our problems; resolving to think globally and act locally; resolving to automate, standardize and diversify your business; and, resolving to establish partnerships, working together fairly across the nation and globe?
When asked what his shop’s New Year’s resolution was, one mold manufacturer put it quite simply, “This is nothing new … we are resolute in our focus on people, their contribution to quality and the community.”