Williamston, S.C. — Speed is everything at tForm Inc.
The startup low-volume custom thermoformer emphasizes slashing lead times for new products. Right out of the box — the company started production in January — it's guaranteeing customers will get quote in less than 24 hours.
Founder and CEO Ben Moore said speed is important because customers often don't consider the design of a thermoformed package for a new product until relatively late in the product development cycle.
Simply put, they don't want to wait months for a new package for a product that they want on the market right away.
“We identified a couple of problems in the thermoforming industry. We saw that it was a lazy, fragmented market. Customers were getting really upset with the ability to get a quote,” Moore said.
“We modeled ourselves after Proto Labs,” a Maple Plains, Minn.-based injection molder that specializes in rapid manufacturing, Moore said. “No one in thermoforming is doing that. We want to set the industry standard in thermoforming.”
In researching the business case for the startup, Moore and his team sent requests for quotes to dozens of North American thermoformers. They say it took an average of 11 days to get a quote back, and 12 weeks to start production.
TForm is small and lean, with just four full-time employees currently, which helps with the fast-turnaround strategy. But Moore not only expects tForm to grow quickly, he also says it will stick to the current strategy. In fact, the company is preparing for a system that gives even faster, instantaneous quotes, to potential new projects.