Results of the September SimTech™ 2023 Injection Molding Challenge First Place goes to Dainius Staniulis of…
Proven, repeatable, reliable systems are at the heart of virtually every successful plastics manufacturing company. Sure, some companies can get by with ad-hoc on-the-job training methods for a while (very expensive, by the way)…
But eventually, the lack of repeatable results will catch up with those companies. For long-term success you must have systems in place for every part of your plastics processing operation. It doesn’t matter if you are an injection molder, extrusion processor, blow molder or thermoformer. You need reliable, repeatable systems that produce consistent quality output that your customer will buy.
For injection molders, a single defect part costs about 3 times what a good part costs. First you have to find the defective parts, Then you’ve lost the machine time used to make the part(s), you may or may not be able to use the plastic again, It takes some amount of time to correct the defect and you still need to make a good part (using up machine time) to meet production schedules.
We were recently in an injection molding shop doing training and consulting. In 2 days we saved them $500,000 annualized. How? Pretty simple actually.
We reduced cycle times on several jobs, eliminated defects on a job running a very expensive material and documented everything that was done for future reference. By the way, that $500,000 number came from the customer, not us. They’ve invited us back to do more training.
You may think that to be an extreme example, but it’s not. All too many companies get used to the “status quo” – a certain percentage of rejects becomes “the norm”, cycle times are just accepted as “good enough”, and most importantly, the front line production floor workers simply haven’t been taught how much money this “status quo” costs the company.
Paulson can give your employees all the training they need in a relatively short amount of time. We’ve got that down to a science. The training of your employees is the easy part.
So why doesn’t every processor jump at the opportunity to save $500,000 or more per year? Call it inertia, acceptance, sometimes lack of awareness – however you want to label it, it is “just the way things are done here”. No one takes the initiative to find out if perhaps there is room for improvement.
We’re not talking about a complete overhaul of all your company’s processes overnight. We’re talking about small daily incremental improvements and changes that eventually add up to a completely transformed injection molding operation (or any of the other plastic processes). Every plastics manufacturer should be doing this. But only the top 20% of processors in our industry actually do it consistently day-in and day-out. They have a system for it.
I recently saw a job being advertised by a custom molder in Illinois. The requirements? High school graduate, 3 years work experience (not molding, just “work”) and a strong desire to learn (specifically using Paulson training). The salary? $75,000 per year!
This company is doing things right – investing in their workforce. Putting their money where their mouth is. At the end of the day, it all comes down to your people and how they are indoctrinated (the good kind) into your company’s culture. Are they put into the training “hopper” on day one and continuously trained and improved? Or do they get put with one of your experienced people for a week or less and pick up the job in bits and pieces – good practices and bad?
To be blunt, at least 80% of our industry falls into the latter category. Paulson has been in literally thousands of plastics production facilities over the past 35 years. We’ve seen how training is done up close and first-hand. While the situation is not nearly as bad as it was years ago, there is still huge room for improvement in most plastics manufacturer’s employee training systems. It starts at the top. If top management is fully on-board with the implementation of a robust proven employee training system (and it doesn’t have to be Paulson’s; anything is better than nothing), those companies can become top 20% molders.