Injection Molders: Benchmark Yourselves Against Your Peers
Now, more than ever, it’s critical to see how you, as an injection molder, measure up against your competitors. I’ve gone on and on in this space over the past year, writing about the global pandemic and how it will change the face of manufacturing and, for the cream of the crop, potentially present new avenues for growth.
Over my 32-year career as a plastics journalist, I have visited more processing companies than I can count. Even though I’m usually the one asking the questions, more often than not I’m confronted with one before I leave the plant. It goes something like this: “So, you’ve been around awhile, how would you say my operation here compares with others you come across?” It’s a hard one to answer, as every operation is unique in some manner, shape or form, but I always try to answer it as constructively as possible.
I think we as human beings tend to be inquisitive about others and the decisions they make. “Are those new glasses? Where did you get them? Are they comfortable? How much did they cost? Would you buy them again?” You never know; the person at the receiving end of this interrogation may have more insight on glasses, smart phones, shoes, or whatever, then you. Or maybe they have less.
Same in business. Maybe you’re a molder that for whatever reason cannot penetrate that one big account. You submit your RFQ, but year after year, no soap. You’re frustrated. Because you know that if you land that one project, it could lead to lots of others. Why aren’t you getting it? Is it price? It is delivery? Is it because you don’t bring enough value-add to the project? Maybe you call this account to find out. Maybe they tell you the truth. Maybe not.
You can open your eyes to how your business compares with other injection molders by participating in our annual Top Shops benchmarking survey. You will be receiving gentle nudges about participating from us in our e-newsletters and blog postings—and through social media. Please take heed.
We published the results of our Top Shops 2020 survey in our October issue, in an article by Senior Editor Tony Deligio, who heads up this project. In the months since that article was published, I have received numerous emails and phone calls from molders, who somehow missed our invitations and wanted “in” on the survey after it was closed. To me, that sends a clear signal that this kind of research is vital.
The more molders that participate, the more eye-opening the results become. I’d venture that most molders have metrics to measure their operation’s efficiency. But these metrics are held within the four walls of their company. You may think you have a best-in-class operation, but do you really know unless you have some data on what “the other guys” are doing? You may have a “best practices” standard against which you measure yourself, but what if it falls short against your competition?
That’s what Top Shops is all about. It’s a comprehensive online survey that will let you see just how you stack up across multiple metrics versus other injection molding facilities. All survey data are kept 100% confidential.
Go to short.ptonline.com/2021Top to start. We’ll be asking you to provide demographic data, as well as information on some key performance metrics such as sales growth, sales per machine and employee, scrap rate, and setup time, among others. Scoring on 10 of these metrics is used as a means to separate Top Shops from the rest of the respondents. Depending on what your job is at your company, you may need assistance from some of your colleagues to answer some of the questions, but I’m confident you will find it worth the effort.
And this year, for the first time, we will ask about the methods you use to price your molding services—your machine-hour rates—which will allow you to see how competitively you’re pricing your machine time compared versus your peers, both in terms of press tonnage and geographical location.
This October, Tony will once again report on the results of the study. And, as an incentive to participate, our forecasting and research group at Gardner Intelligence will provide you with a customized report so you can see how your metrics stack up with best-in-class. You’ll see, for example, whether you’re providing as many value-added services as your competitors. Or whether your competitors are more flexible in terms of doing more mold changes and running a broader range of materials than you.
To be in it, you must submit your completed survey by March 1.
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