Toolmakers Transforming OperationsBreaking the Mold: How Toolmakers Are Transforming Operations (survey results)


Toolmakers Transforming OperationsWhat does it take for toolmakers to be competitive? What can mold makers do to improve their business?

Tech-Clarity’s eBook, Breaking the Mold: How Toolmakers Are Transforming Operations to Stay Competitive explores these questions. The business of mold making is tough. Firstly, there is the time consuming bidding process where you need to provide an accurate, yet competitively priced bid and a realistic delivery date.  However, many factors impact engineering and manufacturing, such as the quality of the part design, ability to manage cooling, and varied machining requirements.  Significant effort is required and even small errors can significantly compromise profit margins. Despite the time and effort, mold makers, according to our survey respondents, only win 52% of the jobs they quote.

After winning the bid, a litany of further challenges await. Poor part designs, bottlenecks, complexity, changes, and more create obstacles to every business’s goal, profitability. How can toolmakers transform their operations to become more competitive and boost profitability? To answer this question, Tech-Clarity surveyed over 370 mold makers.  This report reveals the results and provides recommendations to improve your business.

Please enjoy the summary* below. For the full report, please visit our sponsor Siemens (registration required).


  • What It Takes to Be Competitive
  • Challenges that Hold Mold Makers Back
  • Identifying Best Practices
  • Strategies to Overcome the Challenges
  • Challenges with the End-to-End Process
  • Supporting the End-to-End Process
  • Streamline Bidding
  • Support Collaboration During Tool Design
  • Ensure Quality by Verifying Manufacturability
  • Optimize Cycle Time
  • Automate Production Planning
  • Support Quality Verification Processes
  • Use an Integrated Solution
  • Looking to the Future
  • Recommendations and Conclusions
  • About the Research
  • Acknowledgments

What It Takes to Be Competitive

Toolmakers Transforming OperationsObjectives for Competitiveness
How can you become even more competitive? Where should you focus? The graph shows the top five areas. At a high level, it is about keeping customers happy.

Ensuring the quality of your molds and the resulting parts can help you stand out from other mold shops. It gives customers a reason to do business with you. High quality helps you earn their loyalty because they know they’ll be able to rely on you. However, injection molding is so complex, it is hard to predict exactly what will happen, so having the right systems and processes in place will help you catch problems as early as possible to ensure quality.

Cost is also critical. If you can keep your costs low, you can afford to be price competitive without compromising your profit margins. However, as with quality, you need to catch potential problems as early as possible to avoid expensive mold rework. Efficiency will also help keep development costs down.

Efficiency also helps you meet delivery dates. Customers desire short lead times, so removing bottlenecks will help you win more bids. Shorter cycle times also help. Shaving just a couple of seconds off can save your customer tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s certainly a reason for a customer to want to work with you!

Market Share and Cycle Time
The more customers you win over, the bigger your market share, which will boost your visibility and reputation to help you win even more business.


The Opportunity for Mold Makers

Mold makers need to keep customers happy to stay competitive. Consequently, they need to ensure the quality of the mold, the parts it produces, manage costs, and meet delivery dates. Unfortunately, several challenges make meeting their objectives difficult. Global competition is fierce, skilled workers are hard to find, and margins continue to thin. To overcome this, Top Performing mold makers support an end-to-end process with better collaboration and improved hand-offs between the different phases of the group.

When looking at the end-to-end process, most toolmakers struggle with process bottlenecks and managing changes. By creating a digital thread across the entire process, there is traceability across the complete life-cycle. Design details can then be reused from one phase to the next, saving time by avoiding duplication of efforts, improving quality by reducing risks for introducing human error, and saving costs by catching problems sooner.


Recommendations and Next Steps

Toolmakers Transforming OperationsBased on this research and our experience, we recommend that Automotive companies:

  • Streamline bidding
  • Support collaboration during tool design
  • Ensure quality by verifying manufacturability
  • Optimize cycle time
  • Automate production planning
  • Support quality verification processes
  • An integrated platform can help


*This summary is an abbreviated version of the report and does not contain the full content. A link to download the full report is available above.

If you have difficulty obtaining a copy of the report, please contact us.