Last year, the Japan External Trade Organization contracted with one of the plastics industry's pioneers to put together a directory of U.S. custom injec-tion molders. The purpose of the directory is to introduce Japanese firms that manufacture in the United States to potential U.S. plastic parts suppliers. George Freeborn of San Antonio, former owner of Textek Plastics Inc., sent out hundreds of forms to molders across the country. Three hundred responded and are listed in the 1995 edition of pre-qualified molders.
``This project will facilitate moving molding work from the Orient to the United States so companies can have their vendors closer to their manufacturing sites,'' Freeborn said.
There's no doubt in my mind that being in this directory that's going to hun-dreds of Japanese companies can only be good for business. However, Freeborn said he received several negative responses, some saying that they only do business with U.S. companies.
This sounds to me like the proverbial cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face syndrome. I guess there are quite a few molders out there who still don't get it. In case you've been too busy with your head in the molding press these past few years, I'll let you in on a little secret: It's a global economy out there.
To say you're only going to do business with U.S. companies is like saying you're only going to buy an American car or an American television set. It just ain't possible. Some things are made in the United States from imported materials. Still other goods are made in foreign countries of U.S.-made materials.
When a Japanese firm opened a plant in Chandler, Ariz., 10 years ago and began looking for molders to mold the thousands of parts needed daily to produce power tools for the U.S. market, I was one of the first in line to quote the jobs.
I can't say all went smoothly. Like any new job, there were adjustments to make on the molds when they arrived on our dock from Japan, and there was a new culture to understand. But bottom line, they wanted what every original equipment manufacturer wants: good parts on time, every time.
In return, they paid on time with checks that cleared the bank, no problem - something we could not say about some of our U.S. customers at that time.
For any molder to reject a chance to do business with a company because it has an Asian flavor is truly shortsighted and self-destructive. It's time for some of you to wake up and smell the sake.
Goldsberry is a Plastics News correspondent based in Phoenix.