I want to correct a possible misconception presented in Neil Milgram's Perspective, ``Searching for injection molder?'' [Oct. 7, Page 24]. The article implied that if you are in the market for a plastic parts supplier, you should target only integrated molder/mold makers. Last year Plante & Moran LLP initiated a biannual national study of molders and mold makers that revealed interesting dimensions to the industry, namely: Integrated molder/mold maker companies are growing faster and more profitably than independent molders and mold makers.
This is due to two primary factors - they provide rapid turnaround on work; and they have successfully niched themselves in higher-operating-income markets and are more diversified (typically no more than 30 percent of sales to any industry).
However, there are some dimensions to a typical integrated molder/mold maker that you should know:
They make smaller complicated parts and tools.
They manufacture a portion of their tool needs in-house (i.e., you may still work with multiple suppliers).
They have a closer partnering relationship with customers.
They are more fully integrated (excluding tooling) - they will want more control of design issues.
And what about price? They have more resins to manage, lower equipment utilization and lower sales per press-run hour - an indicator of higher operating costs in general.
For companies looking for a parts supplier - be careful. Although I have described the characteristics of a typical integrated molder/mold maker, there are no typical parts suppliers. All suppliers perform at slightly different levels on a mix of characteristics.
A simple rule of thumb that integrated molder/mold makers are your best bet can be the wrong choice. Your choice should depend, in addition to best price, on what industries they serve, what are your part requirements vs. their capabilities, and what level of integration and supplier partnering are you looking for in a plastic parts supplier.
Plante & Moran LLP
In response to National Polystyrene Recycling Corp. President Joe Granda's Page 1 statement Sept. 30 that society has a recent lack of interest in recycling, I would like to add my views. Bring Recycling in Eugene, Ore., had tremendous public interest in recycling EPS packaging. We were, however, forced to discontinue the program for reasons other than public apathy. NPRC does not pay for this material.
Our shipping costs to get this material to market are in excess of $1,000. If you include our labor costs in baling and sorting this material, it is a clear financial cost to our organization. So, if the PS recycling rate is not as high as NPRC would like, it should not blame a lazy public, but rather a poor market infrastructure.