To Thine Own Self Be True

Following Shakespeare’s advice has paid major dividends for more than one toolmaker. Here are a few recent examples.


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Mold Craft simply isn’t set up to cost-effectively handle anything but the most precise and complex molds. The shop’s engineering-heavy production strategy and equipment like this automated electrode-machining cell would be wasted on more basic work.

Taken from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” the title of this post is essentially the same advice that the leadership at Mold Craft might give other toolmakers who feel like they’re just spinning their wheels for little gain. After all, they were in the same situation circa 2010, largely due to a need to take on work that just wasn’t right for the way the shop was set up. Developing a business plan helped the shop zero in on the right customers and the right work. As a result, its quote-capture rate has improved dramatically. This November-issue article tells that story.

However, Mold Craft isn’t the only example of this trend emerging in stories we’ve told in MoldMaking Technology. Westminster Tool, this year’s Leadtime Leader award winner, has been successful in large part because the company recognizes that few businesses can be all things to all customers. Indeed, a deep awareness of its own capabilities and limitations has enabled the shop to dramatically expand service offerings for the right set of customers without losing focus on core competencies. Read this article for Westminster's story.

Other examples are less obvious, but the same trend is there if you look for it. When MSI Mold Builders announced a push to take on automotive work earlier this year, the company still maintained focus on one of its long-term core specialties: tooling that’s so large it exceeds the capacity of many other shops’ equipment. Read that story here.

Meanwhile, this look back at the evolution of B A Die Mold reveals that sometimes, outside forces can prod a shop to redefine itself. Faced with an exodus of work around the year 2000, the Chicago-area toolmaker had to expand services and focus on new types of customers. The article details strategies that enabled it to do just that while continuing to meet ever-tighter delivery schedules.

Success, it seems, can stem in large part from simply identifying just what it is you do best (or what you’d like to be successful at) and directing resources accordingly.