IDC are happy to announce the acquisition of Naiad Plastics, an injection moulding company based in Littlehampton on the South Coast of England. So what made IDC, a product design consultancy, decide to invest in manufacturing?
For nearly 50 years IDC has been involved in designing thousands of products. Many of which have included injection moulded parts, and as a result, design for injection moulding has become one of IDC’s areas of expertise.
Of course, during this time we have developed many strong relationships with some extremely good injection moulding companies around the world including in India, China and across Europe. These partner companies each have their own specialisation and suitability for different customers. So when customers ask us “Do you have a manufacturer you can recommend?”, the answer is usually different for each project.
These valuable partners will continue to be a great choice for many of our clients. However, for customers looking to manufacture in low and medium volume - typically in the range of 1000 to 100,000 units per year, the cost and logistics of managing Far Eastern suppliers can be difficult to justify and manufacturing in the UK has some significant advantages. The combination of Brexit and COVID has further accelerated this trend.
What customers want above all is a smooth and efficient transition from design to production. This is where IDC’s purchase of Naiad Plastics offers real benefits. By taking ownership of the full process from design, right through to production, we can avoid the difficulties associated with the handover of responsibility and provide our clients with a responsive and fully accountable partner with expertise in product development and manufacturing.
Another driver of the decision to bring injection moulding in is the desire and need to use plastics more sustainably. Plastics have revolutionised our world, improving people’s quality of life and transforming healthcare, but we are also very aware that excessive use and irresponsible disposal of plastics can cause great environmental harm.
It is clear that the way we use plastics and the types of plastics we use will need to change. With our own plastics manufacturing capability, IDC and Naiad can take the lead in this change and this process is already underway. A large percentage of Naiad’s production is already made from recycled polymers but now we are going further by adding bio-based and compostable plastics to Naiad’s manufacturing capability. Combining IDC’s background in sustainable design with the latest environmentally-friendly materials should make this transition easier for clients.
A large percentage of Naiad’s production is already made from recycled polymers but now we are going further by adding bio-based and compostable plastics to Naiad’s manufacturing capability.]
Whilst recent lockdowns have demonstrated possibilities of remote working, they have also clearly shown the value of being able to visit suppliers, physically inspect products and production lines and then sit around a table to quickly solve problems. This is where having a local design and manufacturing partner can offer big advantages. Add to that the benefit of reduced shipping times and smaller inventories. One recent customer noted that they typically had over £1m of stock in transit by sea from China. With better quality control and traceability, the advantages of a local partner really add up.
Our mission at IDC is that ‘We innovate to create successful products which improve peoples’ lives’. As part of that focus on creating successful products, we are not only passionate about product design, but also the manufacturing processes required to make the products. The addition of Naiad Plastics to the IDC group of companies is a demonstration of that focus and offers integrated manufacturing capabilities to IDC’s clients as well as making high level design support available to Naiad’s manufacturing customers. The next few years will be an exciting time for UK manufacturing and at IDC and Naiad we look forward to playing our part.