The Mold Shop Puzzle

Creating Constructive Change: Puzzle Complete


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When a mold manufacturer is faced with the reality that it is no longer competitive, it is very difficult to target a single area that when fixed will return the business to efficiency and profitability.   Hence the mold shop puzzle.

Efficiency. Training. Sales. Lean. Human Resources. Competition. These are the six essential pieces to the mold shop puzzle that every mold manufacturer needs to understand to improve overall performance and remain competitive. This article series delivered tips and case study examples pertaining to these six areas, so that when understood and applied together today’s mold manufacturer will thrive.

Throughout the years, we have become accustomed to simple fixes and to someone else solving our problems.  We look for easy answers and hope that one minor change will have a major impact. The old Einstein axiom: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is a sign of insanity,” has taken a new twist.  It should now read: “If you implement a minor change and expect major results, it is a true sign of insanity.” Successful shops know that there are no easy fixes, and there are no free lunches.

By exploring what has worked with highly successful shops, it has become obvious that doing nothing only results in extinction, and even doing too little just speeds up the extinction process.  Moldmakers who perform complete and total self reflection by doing a critical inspection of their entire operation—efficiency, training, sales, lean, human resources and competition—have thrived during the last downturn.

When evaluating the steps that need to be taken first, ownership or management needs to examine everything and decide upon the optimal method for launching the process. Looking critically at your processes is one step, but having realistic expectations about the result of any necessary change is vital.

Many owners give up on change because they do not experience dramatic results immediately. You have to remember that oftentimes initial steps are foundational. They set the stage for later change. Little is seen at first, but once the proper steps are taken the project moves forward yielding change.  Patience and common sense are key factors to pushing a shop into a more competitive position.

Shops that look at the puzzle of their operation and develop a plan that takes into consideration all areas and then implement that plan have proven to be successful. Now although planning is key, the hardest part for most shops is being honest with themselves on what needs to be examined—making no area exempt from change!

Continual change is the only constant we have in this highly charged environment. Technology is transforming every day, so we are always in catch-up mode; however, it is better to play catch up than not be in the game at all.

Working until the puzzle is complete is the goal; yet, once it is complete it is time to take it apart and start over again—continually updating and improving your shop’s efficiency, training and workforce development plans, sales methods, lean initiatives, human resources agenda and competition strategies.