An energetic Brian Jones spoke for an hour, as the leader of Nypro Inc. laid out a strategy for the 21st century during an open house for Husky Injection Molding System Ltd.'s technical center in Westford.
``The basis of competition has shifted. It's all about speed and flexibility and, obviously, there's a big drive in terms of consolidation of customers, suppliers and competitors in every marketplace,'' Jones said April 13.
But change is not easy - even when it comes to realizing that, yes, shoot-and-ship molding really is dead, he said.
``A plastic part, a simple molded plastic part, is the loneliest thing in the world. Because nobody wants it. That's a very difficult thing for a processor who's done that 50 years, and considers that a core competency, to deal with. Mentally it's very difficult to deal with,'' said Jones, president and chief executive officer.
Employing 11,000 people in 17 countries, Nypro generated global sales of $836.3 million in its fiscal 2003, which ended June 28. Nypro is based in Clinton, Mass., just down the road from the Husky center in Westford.
Jones soon will take his views on manufacturing to the nation's capital. He recently was named to the board of the Washington-based National Association of Manufacturers.
For years, Nypro has expanded internationally. But Jones acknowledged Nypro is not immune from economic forces.
On April 7, the firm said it would close an automotive parts plant in Longmont, Colo., and eliminate some headquarters jobs in Clinton - cutting a total of 130 employees.
Jones said U.S. molders are getting bombarded with change: molder consolidation, global competition, super-quick product lifecycles and large customers shipping out their manufacturing to third parties. ``So you need a strategy to deal with all of these forces, not one or two. I would submit that one of the reasons for all the troubles in the plastics industry has been this multifactor situation,'' he said.
A lot of well-known companies have closed in the last few years. ``It wasn't that they weren't good strategists. They were having to change on so many dimensions at the same time. It's hard to deal with it all,'' said Jones.
At the Husky open house, Jones also spread the gospel of lean manufacturing. Lean can allow a company to slash inventory, boost throughput and produce the same output with fewer employees.
Seeing is believing. Jones took Nypro's top management to spend a week at Toyota Motor Corp.'s plant in Kentucky. He said more executives should take the Toyota tour.