Injection molder Puget Plastics Corp. wants to beef up the services it offers without succumbing to the wave of industry mergers.
Its alternative: a virtual company that combines the resources of many firms, which, in turn, will reduce costs and add value for customers.
President Dale Behm began developing the idea in December and has met with a wide range of potential partners to spread his message about the unincorporated organization he calls Virtual Corp.
Behm said the concept could connect disciplines, such as plastics processing, painting and plating, tool building, metal processing, assembly, contract manufacturing and design and prototype development.
``It has the ability to grow and build, creating an infinite layer of corporations,'' he said in a telephone interview.
``Each corporation will bring a variety of services to the VC, which will create a complete package to take to the marketplace.''
The concept is an alternative to the industry-consolidation trend that has erupted amidst increasing global competition, he said.
The acquisition process drains resources and time. Behm envisions his concept of a total supply-chain organization taking root in weeks rather than years.
``Why are so many companies still getting it wrong?'' Behm asked. ``Not only are plastic companies missing countless opportunities to reduce risk and extend capabilities by leveraging a partner's strength, but when they do collaborate, they fall short.''
A December partnership of Mendoza Tool Co. of Guadalajara, Mexico, and Puget of Tualatin, Ore., is one of the first steps to create Behm's concept.
Mendoza was formed in 1972 as a mold maker for the plastics industry and now operates as Mendoza/Puget Tool Co.
Behm has carried his concept to contract manufacturing giant Solectron Corp., based in Milpitas, Calif.
``We've met and are currently working on taking our formal partnership agreement to a whole new level,'' Behm said.
Puget has operated at Solectron sites in Newark, Calif., since April 1997 and Guadalajara since July 1998.
Behm said partnerships are pending with companies in metal stamping and forming, design and prototype work, painting and plating and logistics management.
Each participating company's president will sign a memorandum of understanding and agreement so Virtual Corp. is more than a verbal partnership. A board of directors will govern activities, eligibility of additional participants and future directions for the group.
Behm drew a Cold War parallel to his concept: ``Who would have thought the Russians and the USA would dock up in space and do it correctly? What if we bring that whole notion down to earth?''
Behm, who has extensive plastics industry experience, became Puget president in August.
Arctic Slope Regional Corp. owns Puget, which had 1998 sales of $42 million.