You've heard of the shortage of mold builders? One Denver mold shop, Preferred Mold & Engineering Inc., went to Hungary to recruit skilled mold builders.
The company also is setting up a Budapest office with a Hungarian partner.
Preferred Mold President Mark Ziemer and Paul Yuhasz, a Hungarian-American recently hired as the company's tooling manager, traveled to Hungary Sept. 10-22 on a recruiting mission.
Yuhasz said the two interviewed 70 people during the trip. Preferred Mold ended up hiring nine mold makers and one mold designer.
Preferred Mold opened a mold repair facility in El Paso, Texas, in late 1996. The company, like others that make molds for plastics molding, has found it difficult to staff its facilities with competent mold makers, Yuhasz said.
Four of the newly hired Hungarian toolmakers will work in Denver. The other four, plus the mold designer, will work in El Paso.
Yuhasz specializes in helping U.S. firms source Hungarian-made molds. ``We want to take advantage of lower labor costs,'' he said.
Hungarian mold makers earn about $3 an hour, compared with $20-$25 for their U.S. counterparts, he said.
Also on the European trip, Preferred Mold discussed a partnership with a Hungarian mold-making operation, Uniplastik Kft. As part of the agreement, Preferred Mold will bring new computer numerically controlled machining centers and injection presses to Uniplastik's Budapest plant in exchange for a controlling interest in the 5-year-old firm.
Yuhasz plans to move to Hungary to help manage the operation. Preferred is considering expanding into other countries in Eastern Europe, and possibly China.
Before he joined Preferred Mold, Yuhasz spent several years in Hungary running a U.S./Hungarian joint venture mold-making operation, VSZM-Moldkraft Kft. in Budapest.