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In this series, we put a spotlight on the unspoken needs of Glass Suppliers, so that glass buyers can trade their great customer behaviour, for the best possible pricing. Today our countdown moves to Need Number 5 – “Moulds” or aka “Job Changes”.

To be clear, when I say mould, I am not talking about that nasty green stuff that lurks in bathrooms. Rather, I am referring to glass industry Moulds, which are an essential component for producing, bottle shape. For every unique bottle, you need a unique mould. And for every Production line that runs off a glass furnace, you need a complete set of moulds. And for every back up production plant, you guessed it, you will need more sets of moulds. It gets complicated and expensive very fast. These things are not cheap – we are talking 6 figures for a typical set and a finite life span.

Furthermore, each set of unique moulds need to be manually fitted to a glass production line and then removed when a production run is complete. This process is called a “Job Change”. Job changes create downtime on a glass line and downtime reduces plant efficiencies and ultimately plant profitability. Glass makers do not like job changes. Production planning people do not like job changes. Warehouse managers do not like job changes. I could go on but basically in a perfect world, glass suppliers would prefer that one size did indeed fit all, just like Henry Ford & his initial single colour offering, all of which leads me to the key point of this episode.

Do you need a unique bottle or container shape, or could you make use of what is termed an industry design? A shared shape if you will? If your committed to something unique, you are going to need Proprietary moulds, minimum production quantities and scheduling of your individual production runs. What is more, you will need tailored mould design, make, trial, delivery, and maintenance. So, get ready to spend and once again, do not be in a hurry to change your design. Also, you will probably want spare sets located at other glass plants, just in case the glass plant you are using goes down. And do not think it does not happen …

However, if you can choose from the industry range or Non-propriety selection, then you are going to be sharing a bottle shape with someone else. In fact, in some cases, many. But, this also means you don’t need to invest in your own moulds, you won’t need to manage their lifecycle & time your innovation step changes around their life cycles, you won’t need to worry about getting you job change on at short notice and you can take the far less expensive path of differentiating your product via the use of labels, closures , pack wraps and cartons .

Furthermore, you are going to feel the warm love and acceptance of you glass supplier. Choosing industry removes much pain and production anxiety for glass suppliers & they will reward you for doing so – if you ask!

The choice is yours but understand the economics behind the decision and debate the need for bottle differentiation. Even consider what Shakespeare’s has to offer on the matter … “A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet’!

In our Next episode, our countdown moves to Glass Supplier Need number 4!