Yakima County Development Association - Local Company Grows Via China Connection

Jonathan Smith

The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news. 



Local Company Grows Via China Connection

April 12, 2010

A few years ago Larry Kraft was quietly producing plastic parts for companies across the United States.  His company, Cascade Molding, enjoyed a solid market niche working with customers in the aerospace, medical, and electronic industries.  At the same time though Kraft could see challenges on the horizon.  The rise of globalization, especially in the form of Chinese manufacturing, was beginning to undercut Cascade Molding's competitive position.

Kraft started losing business but then he took a quantum leap in a new direction.  Instead of losing additional market to foreign competitors, Kraft took a "if you can't beat them join them" approach.   He traveled frequently to China and developed productive relationships with firms similar to Cascade Molding.   Over several years, Kraft found that he could cut costs by outsourcing his lower end more routine production to Chinese companies.  He concurrently invested in new equipment that allowed him to focus on mold design and technologically advanced plastic components.

Cascade Molding's leap into global production seems to be working well.  Sales are up and the company is benefiting from new customers and joint ventures.  As a result of its China connection, Cascade Molding is doing work for a German company that is a Boeing supplier.  The company is also landing new customers and well positioned to produce parts for Chinese aviation and medical instrument companies.

Our hat is off to Larry Kraft and his team at Cascade Molding.  They have done a great job adjusting to global competition and are now poised for future success.  Cascade Molding's evolution to an international company reminds us that other companies should be seriously evaluating their own markets and competitive position.  Very few Yakima County companies import or export products, which means that they may be missing opportunities or ignoring danger signals with respect to our rapidly changing global economy.   If you want to learn more about exporting or importing please contact our office at newvision@ycda.com or 509-575-1140.

Story attributed to Getting Religion on Globalism in Seattle Business Magazine

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