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COAST Systems recently debuted the COAST Mold Visibility Program for the lifecycle management of tools, which is expected to be an industry game-changer.

By Janice Hoppe-Spiers, Knighthouse Media

COAST Systems quickly made a name for itself in the manufacturing industry seven years ago when it debuted the COAST Maintenance Management System (CMMS). Leveraging its leadership’s more than 200 years of combined industry experience, the company has helped Fortune 50 companies to small manufacturers optimize the performance of their equipment and assets with its CMMS.

But it hasn’t stopped there. COAST has expanded its services to offer end-to-end lifecycle management of manufacturers’ tooling assets. In September, the company debuted its COAST Mold Visibility Program (CMVP) during PACK EXPO 2019 in Las Vegas. “COAST was created to be primarily a technology company, but our focus today is actually as a services company for specific types of problems in the industry,” President Jerry Sherman says. “We are a technology and manufacturing consulting company.”

Brooksville, Fla.-based COAST identified the need for CMVP while working with one of its Fortune 50 company clients that had $500 million in assets spread across 600 to 700 suppliers or third-party manufacturers, but no direct sight into the condition of the tools to create a budget. “This is not a unique situation to this client,” Sherman attests. “The problem some of the largest companies in the world have is that they don’t know where their tools are, the condition of the tools or how to budget for these assets.”

COAST’s CMVP includes not only a central management system for all tooling assets, but a full lifecycle management of the equipment. “Our goal is to give clients access to their entire enterprise’s assets globally, and we then began providing third-party assessments and using our expertise in plastics to review and assess the condition of the tools,” Sherman says. “We travel globally to look at the tools and determine the longevity of these tools.”

Lifecycle Management

COAST’s central management system compiles data on a client’s tooling assets and builds a risk profile based on that information to ensure business continuity. By doing so, the client requested COAST take over the entire end-to-end lifecycle management of its tools, which it has now branded as CMVP. “The client came to us and said they wanted to outsource everything related to lifecycle management, and we have built a global team that supports the suppliers or third-party mold builders and our clients,” Sherman explains.

Third-party manufacturers are seeing the benefits of CMVP as it ensures the timely and appropriate resolution of a tooling problem. For example, a supplier works directly with the tooling manufacturer on behalf of COAST’s client and receives a $100,000 quote. The supplier will often add 20 to 30 percent on top of it for being the middleman.

“We are offering an opportunity for savings because we oversee these things and with our subject matter expertise, we understand the cost of refurbishing the tools,” Sherman explains. “Recently, one of our clients got a $500,000 estimate to build a new tool with a certain number of cavities and efficiency. We reviewed it and were able to make suggestions around the design of the tool, making it more efficient. Subsequently, we also made some changes in the technology in a way that the price of the tool went from $500,000 to $250,000. Imagine owning half a billion dollars’ worth of tools and saving that amount on each one.”

Clients are also giving COAST access to manage the funding process to solve important issues as they arise. COAST’s client procurement team is made up of finance people who don’t understand or care about the tool, and only see it as an asset the company owns that depreciates. When a procurement person is presented with a problem and the cost is $15,000 to fix it, they may decide to delay and claim a cost avoidance. In one year, that same problem rears its head and instead of $15,000, they now need $100,000 to fix the problem. After being delayed again, the supplier comes back a third time and says the tool needs to be replaced. “We leverage our engineering expertise, best practice processes, understanding of plastics manufacturing and related tooling, and the entire process, which is how we manage the full lifecycle,” Sherman says. “We want to cut problems off at the pass and help them realize that if the issue doesn’t get solved, they will have a bigger problem. We will save you money by fixing the issue upfront.”

As larger companies begin to remove their subject matter experts, outsourcing lifecycle management to COAST has become vital. “We have our finance team managing this process and paired with plastics engineers who know what they are doing,” Sherman says. “Large pharma, medical device and consumer packaged goods companies are removing their subject matter experts because they are too expensive, but we are hiring those people on our staff. We see large companies benefitting from CMVP because they no longer have in-house expertise.”

Solid Support Team

To support its clients’ global enterprises, COAST built a staff and model around supporting their needs. “We are putting project managers in place as the direct liaison to the client, supplier and mold builder to manage the asset. This enables us to manage the end-to-end lifecycle of the tool and make sure it’s a scalable process,” Sherman says. “Financially, we are getting to the point where the companies want to spend a certain amount per month, and we are building that into our process to make sure we are tracking that. It’s about having the right resources in the right place and having the ability to grow.”

For new clients, COAST’s inventory assessment takes about one year as it visits every tool the company has throughout the world. COAST concurrently presents the data and explains what repairs are needed and how to prioritize them. “This is an ongoing process,” Sherman says. “Once we get past year one, which is the inventory and assessment process, it goes further from there into ongoing lifecycle maintenance, new tools brought in and old tools being decommissioned. From there, we can start looking at strategic elements.” COAST’s engineering teams value add initiatives being with product design review to optimize the manufacturability of the product. They understand their client’s demand cycles and engineer the tooling solutions that yield to lowest possible manufacturing cost models. A recent program required a tool replacement, for an injection mold that had been in operation for 15 years. The COAST engineering review process yielded a 23 percent reduction in capital spend, plus a 22 percent reduction in manufacturing cost for the product. The ROI netted a total capital recovery in 2.8 years.

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