A Case for Collaboration

This alliance of mold manufacturers will likely continue long after the incentives driving its creation become irrelevant.

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In an example of the sort of collaboration fostered by the coalition, C.S. Tool Engineering's Donald Snow says his company bought this Southwestern Industries machine on the advice of fellow coalition member Northern Machine Tool. (Image courtesy of Modern Machine Shop magazine.)

Although I’ve written a few times before about the benefits of collaborating with competitors, one example that’s worth relaying only recently came onto my radar. The Whitehall Township Tooling Coalition is an alliance of eight Western Michigan shops that got its start about 10 years ago, shortly after the state of Michigan unveiled an effort to help struggling tool and die shops by encouraging them to share resources in exchange for various tax-relief incentives.

Although those incentives are mostly gone these days, the partnership between these shops continues, and it likely will for some time to come. That’s according to a recent article from Modern Machine Shop, a sister publication of MoldMaking Technology. In that piece, MMS senior editor Peter Zelinski takes a deep dive into why that is, as well as how the coalition got together in the first place. Whether you’ve never heard of the alliance or, like me, were aware of only the basics, it’s well worth a look.    

Has your shop derived any value from collaborating with others in the industry, particularly direct competitors? I’d be interested in hearing about it (and other readers might as well). Comment below, or send me an email

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