A Conversation with Big 3 Precision Products Inc.
MMT interviews Big 3 Precision Products Inc., a group that builds injection blow molds, one- and two-step injection stretch blow molds and extrusion blow molds.
Over the last 15 years, Big 3 has made several moves to expand, including being acquired by TVV Capital, acquiring other companies and forming strategic partnerships. How has this affected the way Big 3 operates and serves its customers?
Todd Riley, COO: In 2001, founder and CEO Alan Scheidt and a team of successful industry veterans formed the injection stretch blow mold (ISBM) group. In 2003, we acquired a well-established Injection Blow Mold (IBM) tool group and its facility in Millville, New Jersey, from the Alcan Plastics Group. In 2006, we acquired the world class design team known as R. J. Abramo Associates Inc., located in Holliston, Massachusetts. In 2012, the Nashville, Tennessee-based private equity firm TVV Capital acquired us. Earlier this year, we partnered with Fuseneo Inc., a structural design firm comprising industrial designers, graphic designers and engineers. We feel that partnership gave us a competitive advantage by ensuring that the product design is creative, innovative and manufacturable.
We put these partnerships together to be the best “turnkey-solutions provider” in the industry. We are willing to take responsibility for the projects that we undertake by offering end-to-end service capabilities, which is uncommon in IBM and ISBM. Instead of one company designing the bottle, another designing the tool, another building the mold and maybe yet another sampling it, we eliminate the “silo” approach. There is no throwing a project over the wall, because we can do it all ourselves.
Many mold manufacturers struggle to overcome cost objections. How does Big 3 get customers past those objections and on to approving projects?
Riley: We have worked diligently to explain what we do, how we do it and what they can expect in terms of quality when they do business with us. We tell customers not to focus on the initial price. Instead, we tell them to look closely at the value over the life of the project. Typically, any well-trained purchasing agent will want to discuss the tooling price on a quote. It is our responsibility to explain that the tooling that we have quoted is of quality and will last for the life of the project. We use the best quality steel and materials that money can buy. We provide evaluations and quotes within 48 hours, and we perform project kick-off meetings and design reviews before engineering is released to ensure that we meet customer expectations. We have a product development and validation lab, and we can provide quality analysis reports verifying that our tools are built to specified tolerances.
One of the largest blow molders in the world audited us recently. They told us that of all their tooling providers, we ranked the highest in quality, support, service, value and on-time delivery—not just in tooling types that we provide, but out of everyone. It was a great honor.
Millions of dollars have been invested in equipment for mold qualifications. Explain what Big 3 currently uses and why such an emphasis is placed on this aspect.
Riley: Big 3 Precision has invested several million dollars over the past 10 years in the latest, state-of-the-art IBM and ISBM molding machines to eliminate any doubt and to deliver what we promised. For example, for the one-step ISBM process, we use three Nissei machines, including a ASB-70DPH, ASB-250HT and ASB-50MB. We also provide a Sidel SBO-1 Reheat Stretch Blow Molding lab machine for the two-step reheat and blow ISBM process. Our Nissei 70 DPH is housed in our Centralia, Illinois plant, and it is identical to one a customer owns. We design and build this customer’s molds and then validate them on our Nissei so that when we deliver those molds, we know exactly how it will perform in their Nissei.
To qualify injection blow molds, Big 3 has three Jomar machines (a 40-ton, 115-ton and 135-ton), three Uniloy machines (a 54-3-ton co-injection machine, an 88-ton and a 199-3-ton machine) and a custom-built, Big 3 BMP 145-ton molding machine for qualifying molds. We recently designed and built a mold specifically so that it could run in a customer’s Uniloy 135-ton machine. We have the same machine in our Millville, New Jersey, facility so we can qualify the tool before it’s delivered.
While we don’t have a molding machine to match every customer’s own molding machine, the purpose of our continued investment in this equipment is to establish Big 3 as the best “turnkey solutions provider” to our customers. Not only do we use this equipment to develop units and concepts, but we qualify production tools as well. Our customers take comfort knowing that when their tools arrive at their plants, they will install properly, and they will process as expected. It is also reassuring to the customer that we have already established and met the QA data.