I have been in the trade for 30 years. I started Moulds International 15 years ago, building overseas tooling, mostly in Portugal. Five years ago we opened a tool shop called Dynamic Mold & Design Inc., which greatly improved our market. Moulds International & Design Group Inc. now has associates in Canada, Portugal, China and Malaysia, as well as in-house tooling.
Mold-shop owners should stop complaining and find new ways to serve their clients, as we have. All of our clients' tooling needs vary. One might need a fast tool, so we build it in North America, another might need a short production run, then that tool would be best-suited for our overseas shop.
All our clients have built tools in multiple countries; this gives them a competitive option. It has improved our business and kept Moulds International competitive in this ever-changing market. We are able to repair, change and maintain any tools built overseas. This is a very valuable asset. I know tool shops like new work, but in reality, there is more money in repair work.
I read Plastic News and I see articles about shop owners asking the government for help when, in fact, the government has hurt our trade by putting an embargo on steel and we lost more jobs. Now steel prices have gone up and we cannot pass the prices on to our clients. We have asked for tax breaks, only to be taxed higher. We, as shop owners, should look at the real problems: taxes, insurance, unions, lack of good qualified employees and overpriced machines and software.
I know for a fact overseas companies are not our enemy.
Balancing offshore tooling and U.S. tooling works very well. You just have to recognize your client's needs. I do not have all the answers. I am still learning, but I have a good handle on the future.