Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Canadians, like us Americans, are looking for signs of a prosperous 2017, and all signs are pointing up.

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A beautiful venue for the Windsor Mold Expo in Canada saw a gathering of moldmakers and suppliers, many of whom seemed to anticipate a new year filled with opportunity and growth.

 

Today is officially day five of President Donald Trump’s term in office and already he’s making waves that appear to be in favor of strengthening U.S. manufacturing. More power to him, I say, and I know many of you out there would agree with me. But my blog today isn’t about president Trump, it’s about the future and what analysts are predicting for North American toolmakers.

First, I want to look back to a trip I made last fall to Windsor, Ontario, Canada, because it sets the stage for what’s predicted to be coming in the future. It was an amazing trip, and I visited and toured leading Canadian mold manufacturing companies and met many wonderful people at the Windsor Mold Expo and the dinner meeting that followed, which was hosted by the Canadian Association of Moldmakers (CAMM). They, like us Americans, are looking for signs of a prosperous 2017.

Mind you, I learned that the Windsor area was fairly booming with business while I was there and everyone had great expectations for the coming year. Optimism was definitely the word of the day. For example, Denis Desrosiers of Derosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. presented a very positive outlook for CAMM members about the automotive industry, saying there’s a case to be made that shows “the North American market still has substantial upside and should remain healthy for at least another three years (2018) and possibly to the end of the decade,” which bodes well for those serving automotive customers.

Additional good news was shared by James Ricci of Harbour Results Inc. during his presentation to CAMM guests, which not only disclosed a list of upcoming automotive new-model launches and redesigns (meaning be on the lookout for OEMs sourcing tooling), but he said “more tooling capacity is coming on line both locally and in Mexico.” Ricci also said, “The successful toolmaker of the future will:

  • Work globally with Asia-Pacific and Europe for global programs
  • Reduce lead time by at least 20% – all the time
  • Have a niche – maybe two or three
  • Make tools like their customer makes parts
    • Handwork and spotting are the exceptions and not the norm
    • Use real time data to manage the business
    • Tracking jobs for lead time not machine run time and/or spindle time
    • Upfront sales activities are a process just like the shop floor
  • Be careful about capital expenditure –reinvest with a purpose.”

It's an insightful portrait. But there is even more to be learned about the opportunities that await North American moldmakers and tips for how to find them in MMT’s January issue, where Laurie Harbour, president of Harbour Results, provides yet more optimism and supporting data that U.S. moldmakers will find of interest. Click here to read her article.

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