Trust And Verify, Outsourcing Plastic Molding In China
Outsourcing plastic molding in China has become the norm for many
European and American plastic processing companies, with good reason. The cost savings can be significant and
some customers demand a China presence if you want to do work for them.
Finding a reliable supplier can be a rather daunting process, however. There are so
many Chinese molders and mold makers all competing to win clients, how can you know which one to use? Will they
perform as promised? What about delivery dates, quality and intellectual property rights?
There are so many questions that must be answered before investing in a project that
it simply takes time and patience to come to a viable solution. This brings us to the title of the article: Trust
President Ronald Reagan used this phrase so often during his negotiations with the
Soviet Union that Mikhail Gorbachev actually complained about it. Trust and verify is a Russian proverb that was
also used by Vladimir Lenin.
Once a Chinese supplier has been chosen, it is highly advisable to follow this
principle: trust and verify. You certainly need to have a trusting relationship, otherwise you have no relationship
at all and cannot do business or anything else. Yet, given the tendency of companies to slack of the minute you are
out of sight, you need to verify.
Without coming across as judgmental or condescending, the concept of quality is
somewhat foreign to many Chinese companies. The centuries old tradition of European quality standards is new to
this part of the world and it takes time and education to effect a lasting change.
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Quality materials, proper techniques, documentation and consistent adherence to a set
of quality standards takes discipline and time. There is obviously a time to cut corners, but this should be where
it makes no difference, not as a standard operating procedure.
A classic example of this is with injection mold components. Experience shows clearly
that a production mold has to have quality components made of the right materials, machined in the right way and of
the correct hardness. If not, the tool will simply fail in a short time.
For this reason, most companies insist on name-brand components, such as ejector
pins, core pins, mold bases, hot runner systems, pressure sensors, and other critical items. Sure, you can save a
lot of money up front by using off-brand pieces, but you suffer the consequences in the long run.
It is not enough to take their word for it, you need to verify things. Not only that,
but there are companies who make these very components and simply change the name etched on to fit whatever the
customer orders. Today it is DME, tomorrow PCS and the next day Progressive.
A word to the wise when it comes to outsourcing plastic molding in China: trust and