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Manufacturing methodologies in injection molding companies

The first thing you need to do is make sure that you have the right equipment for the job, tools, injection molding machines, press side auxiliaries, etc.. You would be surprised how many companies do not measure up to benchmarks because the equipment does not fit the job. The equipment may be first rate, but not sized correctly. There is no substitute for good engineering here driving your specification. I have seen too many times when equipment was purchased on price and not specification. This needs to be written into the quality system, but rarely is.

The next surprisingly simple step is making sure that the injection molding machines are properly maintained. Again, you would be surprised how often I have walked into a molding company to help, and found the root of their current dilemma was a $30 filter that did not get replaced on schedule. These companies had ISO and TS. Again, a properly written and maintained quality system can keep this from happening.

After that, start worrying about the techniques. Properly initiated, they will all make you better. ISO will force you to do what you say you are going to do, (this is where you write in the items from the first 2 paragraphs. Lean manufacturing is a beautiful thing to see in action, but sometimes very expensive to initiate correctly due to the "job shop" necessities in many injection molding facilities. 6 Sigma is a great problem solving methodology. Properly done it gets everyone involved, and gives you bottom line results.

Kaizen and Continuous improvement belong in every injection molding shop. They fit nicely into all of the other frameworks. It is very important that these initiatives are kept in mind when developing your ISO frameworks. Make sure that the basics are right 1st. All of these manufacturing methodologies assume that you have this right, (they shouldn't). All of these methodologies can and do work together, very nicely, and all will deliver a positive change to the bottom line, this must be driven from the top.

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