The temporary reduction in silicone supplies is placing pressure on a volatile manufacturing market, driving up prices, and causing extreme delays in production from overseas production houses.
Domestic Mold Manufactures are Attracting Attention
The market predicts silicone supplies will worsen before they get better, which is why OEMs are relying more on domestic manufacturing partnerships. The fact that silicone supply lead times have jumped by several weeks, regional U.S. molding companies are looking to suppliers that are practically “next door” because delivery is tremendously quick.
Also, manufacturing partners that offer other in-house services like rapid-prototyping, over-molding, plastics production, assembly, kitting and more – gain additional ground for speedy delivery. Rapid-production and rapid-fulfillment reap tremendous benefits for a bottom line suffering the financial pinch of rising material costs.
Waste Not Want Not
With the market seeing increases in silicone pricing between 15-30 percent, choosing the wrong manufacturer can make matters even worse; yet another reason OEMs are looking for a domestic partner. Locally produced goods make it easier to conduct plant visits both before and during production. Quality issues are addressed quickly without a lot of production, material, or financial loss.
Working with Ritus Has Many Advantages
Ritus Corporation began early on to investigate strategic ways to address the silicone shortage. We have retained safety stocks to cover short-term disruptions in supply, experimented with alternative compounds, and have been in constant communication with vendors.
Regional molding manufacturers aren’t as restricted by the margin as high-volume, overseas production houses. Projects requiring specialty silicone, vs. commodity-grade, are where the higher margins fall, but also where the material supply is the most restrictive. Long-term relationships built on trust and loyalty, usually thrive in this kind of environment because the players need each other to achieve the same goal – survival. Nothing is a given, and our team communicates with the client, supply-chain, and distribution houses to ensure there is transparency throughout the production process.