Competing with offshore molding and mold manufacturing companies continues to be a struggle for many companies in these industries. But there is a way to compete and win new business, become profitable and grow the business. Thomas Duffey, president and owner of Plastic Components Inc. (PCI) in Germantown, WI, spoke recently to a group attending the American Mold Builders Assn. conference in Las Vegas, and addressed the lingering concerns of the group about offshore molds.
Duffey estimates that from the founding of his business in 1989 through 2005, he has purchased 800-900 molds all from the state of Wisconsin, from four or five suppliers. However, between 2004 and 2005, he began losing a lot of business because of tooling costs. “It had become a real disadvantage for us,” he said. “And the differences were so great we couldn’t overcome them.”
In 2008, PCI purchased 150 molds from China. “We felt terrible about it,” he commented. However, in 2010, PCI purchased only two molds from China, and 40 from Wisconsin mold suppliers. “The mold makers were getting better and more competitive,” said Duffey. “They improved their performance and got shorter lead times, and closed the huge gap in price—not completely, but if customers had their choice of a $40,000 mold in 8 weeks from a U.S. supplier or a $22,000 mold in 12 weeks from China, the customers chose domestic molds.”...