Buying a mold is a complex and sometimes tedious process, but a few rules can help make the process easier. They are not written in stone, but you’ll find that to most mold makers they are gospel.
1. Send an RFQ that is as detailed as you can make it.
Don’t make the mold maker guess what you want. Moldmakers are a lot of things, but mind-readers they’re not! Be specific about the type of mold, the number of cavities, the steel, expectations of mold life, and any guarantees you’ll need. If you aren’t certain about any of these items, get input from your mold maker to help you determine exactly what type of mold is best for your requirements. The more detailed the RFQ, the more accurate the mold maker is quote will be.
2. Be honest about why you are requesting a quote
If you need a ballpark figure to submit to marketing, say so. But don’t ask for a complete engineering evaluation and quote, then casually mention it’s just a preliminary quote on a project that is at least a year away. Or you’re just fishing. Quoting is time-consuming, and mold makers want to spend their time quoting jobs that have good promise of becoming a reality soon.
3. Respect the intellectual property of the mold maker.
The knowledge and creativity a mold maker has acquired are his or her intellectual property. Keep those ideas and suggestions confidential when going out for quote.
4. Consider the benefits of forming a true partnership with your mold maker
Bring in him or her early on your project for input; work with him in regard to costing goals and budgets; life of the project and part quantity expectations. Mold makers don’t like being mushrooms! The best purchasing is done by those who truly know their suppliers and play as a team, openly and honestly, to the benefit of both companies.
5. Communicate with and solicit communication from your mold maker on a regular basis.
Many provide Gantt charts or other types of progress reports online, or provide online access to regularly posted updates. Knowing where the mold build stands and if it is on schedule is critical, so request scheduled information from the start so the mold maker knows what you expect.
6. Make your payments on time per the agreement.
7. Changes to the part design can mean changes to the mold
8. Define up front when the mold is considered complete.
9. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.