1. When purchasing tooling in China it is imperative that the buyer specify American Inch, DIN Metric or JIS Metric for components. The Chinese have their own Metric system and the parts are not available outside of China.
2. Find a niche that best suits your moldmaking abilities. Focus on what you’re really good at; don’t try to be an expert at everything. However, while you continue to build tools in your niche—never allow yourself to have tunnel vision to other opportunities or they will pass you by.
3. Knowing that P-20 remains one of the best overall choices for mold building. Especially when tailored to a specific material through the use of surface treatments.
4. This is a small industry; your reputation is everything. If given a choice between being late on a mold or cutting corners, remember that people will forget that you were a week late.
5. Do not take the credit for good ideas. Whenever possible, pass the credit onto those that work for you, or even your customer in front of his boss. Afterwards those you made look good will be loyal and the first to help you and come to your defense.
6. Incorporate devices into your molds to offset setup costs. As labor costs continue to rise, incorporating QMC plates, quick disconnect KOs, water manifolds, etc. into your molds is key for cost-savings.
7. Communicate clearly and accurately. Rapid change requires disciplined communication and successful project management.
8. Changing the moldmaking process into a mold manufacturing process is a requirement. The change requires a focus on waste elimination, technology, lean principles and the metrics to monitor them. The importance of employees understanding that without the change we cannot survive.
9. It is people, people, people. People make the ultimate difference. Anyone with financial backing can buy the same equipment/technology. Find, recruit and hold the good ones.
10. Never stop investing, and never stop looking for the next great idea. Reinvest in technology and people. The right application of technology, people-oriented craftsmanship and precision techniques can carve a sustainable niche in today’s global environment. If you continue to invest in technology to improve your leadtimes, never underestimate what quality personnel can do with that technology. Flexibility to new and old technology is an asset. Updated CAD/CAM with simulation reduces costs and product lifecycle management (PLM) reduces product development time. Standing still is going backwards. You have to continue to move forward by working smarter, using technology and listening to the customer.