The “Year of the Snake” story (Sept. 3, Page 1) reaffirmed what I thought I already knew: U.S. mold makers are in it alone.
That is not to say that we should give up on the U.S. trade issues that so many are working very hard to change. However, I do think that mold shops should work equally hard, if not harder, to re-evaluate survival methods needed for mold shops in this new millennium.
We all have many concerns as to how manufacturing is going to stay in the United States, and I do not profess to have the answers. However, I do believe that when this economy recovers — and it will recover — the way we do business will certainly change for all of us. Third World countries are progressing at an astonishing rate.
Per the Sept. 10 article regarding the Hobson Mold demise (“New sign of the times: 'For Sale,'” Page 1), a friend of Mr. Hobson advised him to read the very short paperback book titled Who Moved My Cheese? I, likewise, advise all owners of a business to do the same.
I will share with you some of the changes that we at Creative Die Mold feel were necessary for our future, not only to survive but to continue our growth. Hoping not to sound self-serving, we feel we already do a great job of producing Class A complex molds, built in very short lead times. That has been acceptable in the past, but for the future we feel our customers' needs are greater than our just building a mold for them.
Companies are becoming leaner, and that has caused cutbacks in many areas. Accordingly, they will now seek out companies that can provide extended services such as early involvement, complete project management and complete injection molding capabilities.
These are some of the services that we now have in place at Creative. I realize that for a large majority of smaller operations, it is not possible to offer many of these services; however, that does not mean that they should do nothing. Just building molds is not going to be enough for the future, and customers must be given a sound reason to rethink the decision whether to place work outside the United States.
Many of these services can be achieved through vertical integration. Use of the newest-technology equipment — which offers accelerated machining time and unattended time — has certainly shortened lead times and improved competition. However, today one needs to serve customers beyond their expectations.
If we cannot think outside of the box and expand our minds, surely we will fail. If this is the case, we might as well start planning for what we might do next until we reach our retirement age. Even though we are in this alone, do not throw in the towel! Remember how hard you worked to get where you are today.
James R. Glatczak
Creative Die Mold Corp.
Glendale Heights, Ill.