July 14, 2022

Does your company make a right tooling buying decision?

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More companies are putting decisions in the hands of purchasing with little or no regards to engineering (engineers and toolmakers are becoming the Red Haired Bastard Step Children in the business world). If we did a root cause analysis, I am sure this would be starring us in the face. More of corporate mindset is going that direction and I personally have a handful of examples I am dealing with that are that same scenario. I guess I am showing my age by the fact, in the past, most purchasing personnel came through the ranks of manufacturing/engineering, and now it is the norm for the prerequisite to have a business degree and a MBA. Now that I have stirred the pot, I am sure it is time for me to take cover.

Nowadays and in the future more and more tooling buying decisions is on the hand of non-technicians, and the trend is they will have less and less weight on the final decision in the company.

MBA’s in management or finance or even in engineering are great. I’m engineer however, I’m aware that the main MBA regarding tooling and plastic manufacturing business is the one we get along a career seeing hundreds of mold trials or running hundreds of molds in production.

That type of MBA is the one that is less and less involved in mold buying processes, but is always involved in unexpected surprises on manufacturing regarding production losses due to stops because poor tooling design or materials.

A tooling buying decision must be done by a team, where the decision power is balanced between the finance/purchasing, the engineering/production and the marketing/sales. If the power to decide is just on one side of the equation, results can be dramatic.

While working in industry we use to work on the basis of 3 quotations and you would get a breakdown of price, quality and lead time. Best deal is to go with the quote in the middle of all 3. It’s funny that the company’s purchasing department thinks that engineers go for the highest price, most of us engineers are there to do improvements. That is not just on the price but the quality of tooling. Over the years it has been found that price is not the best policy. Buying from cheap suppliers get you problems at a later date, is the correct materials supplied, is tooling to drawing, are drawing supplied and once the tool is delivered/trialed and the components are not correct to drawing – how long will it take to send back to the toolmaker for correction, and at what extra cost.

Using a Professional might be costly, but using an Amateur will cost you even MORE!!

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