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4 Step Plan to Switch Injection Molders and Get Your Mold Back in a Hurry

August 3, 2017

Bob was pissed.


He’s the production manager for a manufacturing company and his sales force was all over his ass and he didn’t like it.


Sales guys don’t like explaining quality problems to their customers, but that’s what they’ve been doing lately and they’re pissed, too.


Something to do with getting paid and with future business. 


Bob saw this coming but couldn’t fix it.


A supplier of a critical injection molded plastic component of a hot new product line was slipping on the quality of the parts they were delivering to Bob.


Not only was the reject rate in assembly skyrocketing but worse, some defective parts were making it to customers and failing.


Guess who else was pissed?


Bob’s concerned phone calls, and even a visit to his vendor didn’t help. Quality continued to slip and the anger and complaints escalated.


Finally, after finding a new injection molder who agreed to take over the project and get the quality back on track, Bob fired his vendor and began the process of relocating his molds, equipment, and materials to his new supplier.


Problem solved, right?


Not quite.


First, Bob’s old vendor went into “silent” mode.  Communications shut down. No returned telephone calls. No response to emails. No plan to return the mold. 


Second, Bob’s new vendor was trying to schedule production time. Tough to do when they can’t even make a good assessment of the current situation. All they know for sure is Bob’s going to want parts starting yesterday. Now they’re getting pissed.


Third, the company’s hot new product isn’t shipping. Sales is even more pissed because now they can’t deliver. Something about lost commissions and not meeting plans.


And now the CEO is on his ass, too. Something about lost revenue and market share.


What next?


We've seen this scenario, and variations of it, play out many times over the last 14 years.

So, as a public service, here’s our four-step plan to recover a mold and related equipment and get back into production ASAP and maximize the odds of keeping your ass intact should your run into a situation like Bob's . . . 


Step 1:  read your contract or purchase agreement.


Caveat – make sure you have a clear understanding of your contractual obligations before you act. Consult your attorney if necessary.


Step 2:  find a new injection molder.


Caveat:  be discrete in your search:

  • The injection molding community is small. Be prepared to act if your vendor gets wind of your inquiries.

  • Your search will take longer than you think.

  • Realize it could take up to eight weeks or longer to recover your mold.

  • Have a comprehensive plan in place before you start your search.


Step 3:  incentivize your current molder to cooperate.


Caveat – put yourself in your molder’s shoes. Unhappy customers often don’t want to pay or refuse to pay for services rendered. Remove reasons for non-cooperation by negotiating a settlement. Establish ship dates and be prepared to pay upfront for all or part of:

  • Current finished goods and WIP inventories.

  • Raw materials.

  • Packaging.

  • Charges to have your mold crated and palletized.


Step 4:  set up your new molder for success.


Caveat – don’t be impatient:

  • Establish arrival dates of mold, supplies, and materials.

  • Allow time for new molder to open, inspect, and clean mold before production begins.

  • Be prepared to pay for repairs.

  • Give the new molder time to ensure the mold's producing the desired quality products.


Remember, the best time to plan your exit strategy is before you sign the contract.


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