Today, the successful mold manufacturers will tend to be the larger shops with significant resources to support the cost of sales, customer-dictated payment schedules and increased demand from customers for more services. Most companies have changeover teams whose responsibility is changing and maintaining molds.
Of course, plastics processors can outsource mold manufacturing, or they can have in-house mold making operations.
Mold makers also must meet the demands from customers, including those who are seeking higher-cavitation molds that will fit within the same footprint as their current molding machines will handle. They don’t want to buy new molding equipment to achieve this.
A current trend is doing more with less labor by relying on technology, including automated CNC. A skills gap has been a growing problem over the last several years. Investment is a key business strategy. Shops need to be proactive, investing in both employees and equipment.
Training is a key for mold makers today. Apprenticeships and internships are important tools for shops to ensure they have a pipeline of well-trained employees. These programs can serve as a robust form of job training and job recruitment.
In an era when so many young people are told manufacturing jobs are dirty and potentially dangerous, apprenticeships and internships are helping to change that misperception.
Some mold makers are offering educational outreach programs, exposing students to manufacturing before they leave high school. This helps set them on a career path that can prove rewarding. It also can help a shop forge relationships that than serve as a pipeline of potential skilled workers.
Colleges and technical schools offer machining and design courses. These programs, offered across the country, also can provide skilled workers to shops.