2013 moldmaking and molding in retrospect

Looking back over 2013, it was a pretty good year for most mold manufacturers and molders. Most companies were busy - particularly those that serve the automotive industry where demand is up for suppliers to increase capacity. While some of the larger Tier 1 companies are complying, there is reluctance among the smaller, Tier 2 suppliers to invest in expansion. They've been down this road before.

As was pointed out in several different blogs on this topic, automotive OEMs in particular, have "begun insisting that suppliers locate their U.S. operations as close to final assembly as possible." Obviously, this will mitigate supply chain risk and make life easier and less costly for the OEMs.

At the same time, it was noted in another blog that a number of OEMs - not just the automotive companies that are notorious for bad payment terms - are extending payment terms out farther to improve their working capital situation by freeing up cash. Of course what's good for the OEMs is often bad for the suppliers. The key for suppliers is to "just say no" to deals that promise to hurt their bottom line. Maybe in 2014, we'll see more molders and moldmakers stand their ground.

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