- 1 –Find a moldmaker at www.AMBA.org
Tips to Make the Mold BuyingProcess Easier
Buying a mold is a complex and sometimes tediousprocess, but a few rules can help make the process easier.They’re not written in stone, but you’ll find that to mostmoldmakers they are gospel.1.
Send an RFQ that is as detailed as you can make it.
Don’t make the moldmaker guess what you want.Moldmakers are a lot of things, but mind-readers they’renot! Be specific about the type of mold, the number of cavities, the steel, expectations of mold life, and anyguarantees you’ll need. If you aren’t certain about any of these items, get input from your moldmaker to help youdetermine exactly what type of mold is best for yourrequirements. The more detailed the RFQ, the moreaccurate the moldmaker’s quote will be.2.
Be honest about why you are requesting a quote.
If you need a ballpark figure to submit to marketing, sayso. But don’t ask for a complete engineering evaluationand quote, then casually mention it’s just a preliminaryquote on a project that’s at least a year away. Or you’re just fishing. Quoting is time-consuming, andmoldmakers want to spend their time quoting jobs thathave good promise of becoming a reality soon.3.
Respect the intellectual property of the moldmaker.
The knowledge and creativity a moldmaker has acquiredare his or her intellectual property. Keep those ideas andsuggestions confidential when going out for quote. If youchoose another mold shop to do the work, don’t tellmoldmaker “B” to make it the way moldmaker “A”suggested in his quote. Remember, moldmaker “B”didn’t quote it that way and may not understand whymoldmaker “A” made that suggestion.4.
Consider the benefits of forming a true partnershipwith your moldmaker(s).
Bring in him or her early onyour project for input; work with him in regard to costinggoals and budgets; life of the project and part quantityexpectations. Moldmakers don’t like being mushrooms!The best purchasing is done by those who truly knowtheir suppliers and play as a team, openly and honestly,to the benefit of both companies.5.
Communicate with and solicit communication fromyour moldmaker on a regular basis.
Many provideGantt charts or other types of progress reports online, orprovide online access to regularly posted updates.Knowing where the mold build stands and if it is onschedule is critical, so request scheduled informationfrom the start so the moldmaker knows what you expect.6.
Make your payments on time per the agreement.
Few moldmakers can afford to play banker, and buildinga mold entails many, sometimes large, up-front expenseson their part. There are a number of ways to approach thepayment schedule, such as 30% down, 30% at half completion, 30% at completion, and 10% upon partapproval and mold shipment. Different moldmakers havedifferent plans, or will work with you on a paymentschedule that is fair, equitable and will benefit bothcompanies.7.
Changes to the part design can mean changes to themold.
Remember, the more changes you make duringthe mold build, the less likely you are to get a mold inthe lead time or at the price quoted. Understand thatwhen you require part design changes, it often leads tochanges in the mold design, which can add both time andcost to the mold build.8.
Define up front when the mold is consideredcomplete.
When is a mold complete? That oftendetermines when final payment is made. Is the moldcomplete upon approved part sample? Upon shipment?Usually a mold is complete when it is capable of producing a part according to specifications anddimensions on the part print. Most moldmakers willmake small changes and tweaks to get the mold to specto make the part according to print dimensions. Adecision to make a change to the part, and consequentlyto the mold, after the part has met print specs doesn’tmean the mold isn’t finished. When the part meets printspecifications and dimensions, the mold is complete.Changes are done via an ECO (engineering changeorder) and will be priced accordingly.9.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Youmay find a moldmaker who quotes very low prices on a job. Maybe he’s hungry, or maybe his overhead is low sohe can price lower than other shops. However, any quotethat comes in too low might not be the bargain is appearsto be.10.
Offshore molds are often not the bargain theyseem to be.
With the increased interest over the pastdecade in buying molds offshore, from China or otherAsian countries, there is an increased need to be morecautious. Most OEMs that choose a moldmaker in China,for example, do so because the price of the mold can be30-50% less than the price for a U.S. built mold.However, price doesn’t always equal cost. Things toconsider are intellectual property and confidentialityissues; the cost of travel (air fare, hotel, per diem, etc.)