A-1-Delivery Tracking

An accomplishment of product generally needs 3 parties in the industry:

  • Customer
    Define the specification of product and requirement of manufacturing, and place order to mold maker.
  • Mold maker
    Design and manufacture the subject mold and provide it to customer.
  • Supplier
    Provide material (such as steel…etc.), services (such as machining, EDM…etc.) and mold components (such as cylinder, hot runner system…etc.) to mold maker.

Timeline is one of the key elements we check weekly, since there are always some troubles happen to affect the delivery schedule. Delays from key suppliers for steel, components, hot runner systems and mold bases, machining and assembly, trial shot and shipment could be the causes.

Mold maker manager shall be ready for any affects from force majeure situation happens during development. It may start with steel delivery extensions followed by extended lead times, missed due dates on existing mold base orders and then delays in hot runner deliveries from suppliers with global production and supply chain systems. Overseas suppliers met due dates, but with extended shipping times due to fewer flights, and global shipping complications as a result of COVID-19 and shipping container shortages. Excess steel removal during machining, EDM and assembly. Mistake happens during polishing or texturing the cavity surface. And too many more unexpected situations, to prevent or minimize the impact of delay, there are 2 side preparation we could work on more:

  • From outsource (supplier) side
    • Cut steel before detail mold design finalized.
    • If the steel is less expensive, order larger steel blocks.
    • Order components and machining services earlier in the design process.
    • Ensure the inventory level of shared mold parts is appropriate.
    • Work with suppliers to understand their constraints and risks to meet deliveries.
    • Request frequently updates to track progress.
  • From development and customer side
    • Conduct risk assessments to find bottlenecks and alternative ways to continue delivering on time.
      Ex. Find alternative supplier in time to prevent delay.
    • Ensure your customers know and understand the current climate of mold making.
    • Be upfront and honest when communicating issues and challenges that may impact a mold making.
      Ex. Before 2017, workers could work OT 100% according to the company real time workload as long as it is agreed between workers and company. Starting from end of 2016, Taiwan government launched a new policy. It clearly defines that each worker could work only 6 days per every 7 days and it clearly impact most of company in Taiwan. The policy needs to be accommodated and customer’s requirement needs to be fulfilled, employer needs to decide whether to in crease the qty. of employees or delivery lead time.
    • Provide detailed updates with photos.
    • Involve your customer in supply issues as they might have pull with suppliers.

Since the delay could always happen at any time, to be resilient and to work with customers and suppliers to reduce risk points to meet lead times. When issues occur, communicate and work closely with your customer and suppliers to minimize delays.

Sometimes, delay could lead to serious and actual loss. Customers from particular industry with very limited product life cycle (such as 3C industry) may request compensation for delay since the final product price may go down on daily basis, the terms in the contract usually takes the first trial date as agreement. There was a customer of mine asked for 1% of total order amount for delay daily, my team was so pressed on and over-communicated with my supplier and customer to make sure the delivery schedule on time.

Comment below and let me know if you have faced any special requirement or delivery crisis.

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