Mold Builder Shares Coronavirus Impact and Its Plans to Keep Manufacturing Moving 

In an effort to share solutions and strategies (and so you don’t feel alone), I wanted to share some conversations I’ve been having with mold builders as they continue their manufacturing amidst challenges brought about by the virus. Here is one Q&A with R & D Leverage.


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MMT: Has your business experienced any changes due to the Coronavirus?

Mike Stiles, CEO of R&D/Leverage: Our business no, but we are hearing from some of our convertor customers that parts availability – specifically injection molded parts previously sourced from China – have been subjected to supply-chain breaks.


MMT: Has your business made any adjustments due to the Coronavirus?

Stiles: Most of the changes we have made are customer-driven. We haven’t reduced or restricted travel, but we are having customers cancel previously scheduled visits due to their own restrictions of outside visitors.

No related impact to our staffing/headcount, supply chain (virtually 100% domestic), lead time (unless we get busier due to on-shoring of previously off-shore projects).

We have withdrawn from an upcoming European trade show (Interpack) due to feedback from customers and prospects who have already declared they will not attend. No current impact on recruiting/hiring unless related uptick in future business requires accelerated hiring to meet demands.

Nothing yet in marketing other than consideration of making some currently open press-time available for short-term production of injection molded parts to fill the gaps for a convertor or brand-owner that needs a bridge-plan while working through long-term solutions.



MMT: What are you hearing from your customers?

Stiles: Some tooling projects that were previously slated for off-shore manufacturing are being pulled-back for domestic production regardless of increased costs. Some of these projects have been already stated in China and are being canceled and re-started here in the U.S. because of both uncertainties of supply and risk of travel for project managers to an area where health and wellness become a concern.


MMT: How is R&D Leverage prepared to help its customers or other manufacturers to keep things going, as this virus continues to disrupt manufacturing across the globe? How can or is R&D Leverage helping?

Stiles: We are not, and have no intention of becoming production injection molders. However, we do have a variety of injection molding presses which we use for validation of new molds we design and build. Currently, these machines are utilized at less than 15% in support of our tooling operations. In some instances, we could make some press time available to fill-the-gap for someone who is actively seeking a long-term solution but who needs parts in a reasonable interim period.


MMT: Moving forward, what is your single biggest concern related to the Coronavirus?

Stiles: Currently the biggest concern is the roller-coaster reaction in the stock markets and the impact that singular issue might have on business investments. No panic from us yet, but we all know that this issue can be a barometer for future business activity.

Our hopes are that U.S. health officials work diligently to contain outbreaks to small isolated areas in order to reduce the opportunity for a larger global impact.


If you are interested in sharing your story, insights, strategies or solutions, email me at: cfuges@gardnerweb.com