AdvanTech Plastics is “leading” the way in the re-shoring phenomenon that is prompting many companies to bring back manufacturing from overseas.
Or should we say “leading” in the drastic reduction of lead-times our customers experience in the production of their components.
Recently, AdvanTech began production of a plastic housing unit for a battery charger that heretofore was manufactured in China at the request of a Minneapolis-based company. The company had become concerned about the costs incurred because of an 18-month lead time between the order and eventual arrival of the finished housing units back in the U.S.
Working with AdvanTech, the Minnesota company cut that lead time down to six months. What’s more, AdvanTech worked with this client to optimize cycle time — an improvement that would’ve been much more difficult to accomplish with the Chinese manufacturer, due to language, parts procurement and time-zone constraints.
“With our client being only five hours away, and communication so easy, we were able to shorten the time it takes to make each individual housing unit, ” says Client Development Manager Brian Jimenez. “So we saved them money both in terms of lead time and production time.”
Jimenez says the housing unit, made of engineer-grade polycarbonate and ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), has a high UL- impact rating. “It’s actually a very complex component,” he says.
But reshoring comes with its challenges, too. Molds that are manufactured in China, for example, sometimes have to be reconfigured before they can be used in US plastic injection molding facilities. AdvanTech was able to work with its US mold supplier to have the mold reconfigured in China, thus saving the cost of building a whole new mold in the states. “Our client really appreciated that,” Jimenez says.
Then there is resin procurement: AdvanTech not only partners with top notch US resin suppliers to support resin requirements, but also to determine feasibility of projects proposed by their clients. Again, that’s a “consultant-level” service foreign manufacturers are often incapable of doing.
“We are really excited about the prospect of helping more clients ‘re-shore’ their production,” Jimenez says. “It’s good for them, it’s good for us and it’s good for America.”