Three Tips for Better Outsourced Tooling

Posted on 05-10-2017

Whether you are constructing a tool for high-volume production or small-batch runs, it is important to choose a vendor with experienced designers and tool builders on their team. Here are three tips that can help you get the most out of your tooling investment:

3 Considerations for Outsourced Tooling

1. Get your supplier involved early

Choose an injection molding and tooling partner with design expertise, and involve them in product development as soon as possible. When engaged early, your supplier can offer suggestions to improve part design, mold design, and cost. Empire provides in-house program management, including design experts who will consult with your team on the manufacturability of your parts. We first ensure that the design is compatible with your assembly or applications and then find ways to make your parts faster and at a lower cost.

Years of injection molding experience give Empire a unique perspective on our customers’ tooling and production needs. When customers bring us on early in a project, we are able to leverage this expertise to better understand production intents, as well as factors that might cause wear or otherwise impede production. For tooling-only customers, early involvement lets our design team focus on increasing tool robustness and longevity.

2. Be aware of tooling costs

Tool design and cost are determined largely by part complexity and production demands. For example, factors such as annual volumes, material selection, dimensional requirements and tool life expectancy can dictate the materials and features used in a tool build.

However, in some cases a more complex tool can make part production easier and reduce the total long-term program cost. Collaborate with your supplier early on in order to find the most cost-effective solution for your tooling project.

3. Understand tooling and production timelines

Customers can often underestimate the length of time it takes to go to mold. Empire provides project timelines, usually of 12-16 weeks, which include the customer’s validation and approval process. We also give weekly updates so you know that your program is on track. Managing expectations is an essential part of the customer-supplier relationship.

The best value for a program is often achieved when a supplier works closely with you as a strategic partner. Whether you require tooling services only or tooling for full production, Empire’s experienced team can help improve your tooling ROI. Contact us to learn more, or download our tooling guide.