3 Keys to Efficient Shipping in the Plastics Industry photoWhen you’re looking for a supplier of injection-molded plastic parts to use in your manufacturing process, you have a lot of choices. As you evaluate and compare companies to partner with to produce plastic parts, there is an area to consider that is sometimes overlooked: efficient shipping. After all, the most perfectly crafted part has little value if it’s not there when you need it. Investigate whether the plastic injection molding company integrates technology to guarantee delivery on time.

One way to compare companies when it comes to efficient shipping is by asking which key performance indicators (KPIs) they track and how well they perform. KPIs may vary from company to company, but here are three general ones that will give you a good idea of how a company measures up:

  1. Delivery of On-Time Shipments. To ensure on-time delivery (OTD), the best suppliers will integrate technology such as electronic data interchange (EDI) software and enterprise resource planning (ERP) to manage tracking and monitor shipments, improving their OTD rate.
    • The current industry standard for OTD is 90%, but it’s possible to find a partner that can offer you more. By incorporating technology and constantly looking for ways to improve our operations, Viking Plastics exceeds the goal: our current OTD is 98.9%. We had 254 shipping days in 2016, shipping 16,248 lines; and 217 of those days had an OTD of 100%.
  2. Delivery of Quality Products. A KPI that measures the quality of the products you receive is measured in the supplier’s defective rate, or parts per million (PPM) — one PPM equals one defective part in every million parts produced. A defective rate of 1% would equal 10,000 PPM. Advancements in technology and quality control have led to the current standard of 25 PPM for most industries. You should expect your supplier to meet or exceed this standard. At Viking Plastics, our commitment to quality has helped us to surpass it: in 2016, we produced 136,264,412 parts and achieved a defective rate of only 1.26 PPM.
  3. Launching New Tools on Time. Can your supplier complete all preliminary production work on time? In the automotive industry, for example, vehicles launch year-round, so the components must be ready to meet production schedules. That means tooling and testing must be completed up to 8 months prior to launch. Can your supplier complete all the work required prior to launch? Make sure the company you are considering for plastic injection molding has the right tools for preproduction and test vehicles and can complete all PPAP and PSW requirements by the date you specify.

Evaluating whether a plastic injection molding company has efficient shipping processes in place is an important consideration when choosing a supplier. Also, take time to learn about the company’s culture, whether they are committed to reducing waste not only in shipping with less production time and less waste, but across the board. Good suppliers are constantly looking for ways to improve their performance, such as incorporating the latest technological advances for better shipping efficiency, or having their engineers analyze their processes to reduce waste and defects.

Working with a company that sets standards and meets or exceeds them will ensure you receive a quality product that meets or exceeds standards — and that you have it on time.