West Des Moines, Iowa — Injection molders can’t survive on just broccoli. They need a little ice cream, too.
Josh Janeczko made that analogy to describe why Innovative Injection Technologies Inc. works hard to cultivate great relationships with its suppliers and its customers.
First, on the supplier side, good relationships lead to new business.
“We are close strategic partners with our resin distributors and our resin suppliers. It’s one of our strategic initiatives; to really treat them better than any of their other customers. We treat them like a true partner,” Janeczko said.
In a typical example, a brand owner goes to a resin supplier looking to solve a problem. The resin supplier then looks to get a molder involved in the project. When that molder is i2tech, Janeczko has a new customer.
“It’s amazing how much opportunity we’ve been fortunate to receive when we treat our suppliers with the highest respect and involve them in the entire process, and involve them in our relationships with our customers,” he said.
On the customer side, i2tech specializes in complex, hard to mold jobs. “It gives us the greatest opportunity to maintain strong margins when we come up with a creative solution that our customers can’t find anywhere else,” Janeczko said.
That’s where the broccoli and ice cream come in.
“For the most part, when you take on those complicated projects, just instinctively your customers will give you some of the less complicated stuff, too. But sometimes you have to explain it to them, and say, ‘Hey, you know that project we did for you over there? I mean, that was a lot of work, right? How about we get some ice cream over here, some stuff that tastes good, rather than all broccoli.’”
The strategy is paying off.
It’s been 10 years since i2tech won the Plastics News Processor of the Year award. A lot has changed in the intervening years. The factory in West Des Moines, for example, is much larger now. Once it was two buildings, side by side. One was on top of a hill, the second down below. In the past year, the two buildings have been combined — not an easy feat, considering the different elevations. If you haven’t driven by i2tech in the past decade, you might not recognize it.
I2tech’s 2018 capital budget was $6 million, a record for the company. Employment hit a record level, too. The company invests heavily in new technology, including injection presses and automation cells. The average age of the equipment is seven years.
But the company’s strategy has not changed. It’s still all about partnerships.
“The key stakeholders within the value chain are clearly our customers, our suppliers, our employees, and then I throw in our community as well,” Janeczko said. “And so once we focus on those four areas, the rest kind of takes care of itself. And I don’t mean to make it sound so simple, because it’s not.”