Polymer Conversions, a contract manufacturer for medical injection molding , always has a recurring theme when customers come for their first visit.

Clients are always highly impressed with the cleanliness of the facility on a day-to-day basis; they enjoy the family-friendly nature of the entire PCI team and its culture; the experience and dedication brought to the table from a cross-functional and customer-centric management team is second to none; and the amount of detail and attention Polymer places on design, functionality and overall manufacturability of the product(s) being discussed is as much of a priority for them, as it is for the customer.

Other medical injection molding companies however, seem to ignore the basic fundamentals of running a world-class facility.  This translates into an advantage for a family-owned business such as Polymer Conversions.  Quite often they see these other common missteps being made in their industry as well:

  1. Quoting (“apples-to-apples”)Many contract manufacturers skip the time and detail necessary to put into quoting a job properly with the customer’s best, long-term interest in mind.  For years, Polymer’s team has seen companies choose the quote with the lowest price, which often means the customer isn’t receiving all the facts surrounding the investment that was just made.  They will likely see add-on fees or increases in other areas earlier in the relationship than expected so that the supplier can attempt to make up for dollars lost quoting low to secure that job.
  2. Service: More than 40% of the work in-house at Polymer Conversions is from medical injection molding programs being transferred in.  Much of this is due to a customer receiving unsatisfactory service, inferior quality or a lack of honesty and transparency from their previous supplier.   Polymer’s approach is more about considering the customer’s entire manufacturing process and honing in on how PCI can partner Medical Moldingwith the company as an extension of their business rather than becoming just a “supplier” of components, assemblies, and complete devices.  Pooling resources and working together through constant communication and collaboration during the entire partnership, allows Polymer’s team to lower the customer’s risk considerably.  Sadly, there are many contract manufacturers that won’t bother going this extra mile for a customer because there are costs involved.
  3. Validated Manufacturing: Many medical injection molders do not use a validated system for process or product control during manufacturing.  This leaves a high level of risk for the customer to manage.  At Polymer Conversions, they use a Real-Time, Fully Validated Product & Process monitoring system that is networked to all 23+ injection molding presses, and is continuously backed up through a cloud-based and secure server off-site.  This allows customers to have instant records of the conditions and environments under which all injection molded products were manufactured.  It also ensures batch repeatability and reproducibility for world-class quality and service, which the customer both expects and deserves.
  4. Safety & Cleanliness: Most injection molding machines and auxiliary equipment come with basic safety features, which seems to be enough for most other contract manufacturers.  Polymer, on the other hand, goes above and beyond to install additional guarding and safety components once the equipment arrives in their facility.  Not only are their employees incredibly safe throughout the plant, but customers and guests also have the highest level of safety and comfort while touring through each department.Cleanliness is second nature to Polymer teammates.  Keeping the facility and its equipment in “as new” condition and providing a clean, neat and safe work environment throughout, is mandated by ownership.  All employees are trained on cleanliness expectations when hired, and are encouraged to foster this environment the entire length of their employment.A large percentage of medical injection molding companies still do their manufacturing in old, antiquated buildings that are dirty, unorganized and house abused equipment.  These are the suppliers that usually offer cheaper pricing on quotes because they are not re-investing in their facility, equipment, a skilled workforce, or the processes used to create the customers’ products.  Precision, cleanliness, quality and high-tech solutions are not attainable under such conditions, which is why Polymer Conversions chooses to purchase brand new pieces of equipment, and fully validate them prior to being used against a customer’s purchase order.
  5. Skilled Labor: Manufacturing environments are well known for high turnover workforce rates.  It seems the larger a company becomes, the less focus and attention is paid to its “people” because they are too preoccupied with creating profits for shareholders and top management.Polymer believes in the exact opposite.  Slow, controlled growth with a focus on a family environment and its people, have been two of the highlighted strategies from the owners.  Hiring skilled employees can be difficult, but Polymer has proven they can, and do, secure some of the best.  Turnover in their organization is very low, with an average of 13½ years for employment length (and that does not count the earlier years of employment from people that had left for other experiences and come back).Operating with a “family” atmosphere helps workers feel appreciated and important, especially considering they spend a majority of their waking hours at work, and away from their families.  Longevity of employment contributes to a larger company-wide skill set.  It also helps provide an environment for cross-training, continuing education, and movement for the employees within the organization.  This may cost more in overhead, but Polymer believes that that investment is critical to its growth and success.

Global pressures from the medical and pharmaceutical industries will continue to tighten from the top down, which makes focus in each of these five areas so important.  It is crucial, especially for small businesses, to keep true to their missions, visions, goals and ideals.  A full-service medical injection molding company like Polymer Conversions, should never lose sight of the most important parts of a business; parts that are necessary to help its customers be highly successful by keeping them at the forefront of technology, and in front of their competition.