Tooling Approach & Tool Shop Selection
Developing the tooling approach and overseeing the tool design/fabrication process is an essential part of a successful program. We outsource all tools since this method provides the best technology and most favorable timing for our customers. We strive to make this seamless for our customers.
When the part design is near completion, we work with the customer to develop a tooling approach that will meet the needs of the technical application as well as the economic needs of the program. Programs that are tool price-sensitive may involve pickouts or MUD sets. Part price sensitive programs may involve higher cavitation, hot runner manifold systems, and robotic automation.
Once the tooling approach is established, we select a tool shop based on the specific application and the timing they can achieve. By having partnerships with a network of tool shops, we can offer the best available lead time and be assured of the most current equipment and technologies. We have over 20 approved tool shops and each one has a defined niche (e.g. tool size, tool complexity, available resources, comprehensive capabilities, etc.).
Again, the tooling development process is seamless to the customer and Advanced is responsible for the tool design and function throughout the warranty period. In addition, we have an extensive in-house tool shop for all maintenance activities.
More than ever, our relationships with tool shops are strategically critical. This is why we try to build partnerships with our key tool shops through face-to-face meetings, business reviews, scorecards, lesson learned sessions, and surveys. This helps align our respective businesses.
To stay current with the latest tooling technology, we have a team that seeks out additional tool shops who also align with our future direction. Our team has been visiting tool shops and assessing their fit with our requirements:
- Vision, growth & culture
- 5-yr. plan
- Technology & equipment
- Apprenticeship programs and succession plans
- Markets/customer relationship base
- Size & capacity
Overall, we treat our tooling relationships as an extension of our team.