The biggest manufacturing group for injection moulds in Europe
The Moulds Division of the Simoldes Group is considered to be the biggest manufacturing group for injection moulds in Europe and in many circles is regarded as being an example to follow in the industry.

Founded on 30th November 1959 with the “extraordinary” equity capital of forty thousand escudos (200 Euros). Simoldes Aços, Lda is currently one of the biggest European manufacturers of moulds along with the “parent company” and Simoldes Group School. This group consists of six industrial companies located in Portugal and one in Brazil and is headed by the family of Commendator António Rodrigues ( Maria Aldina F. Valente and Rui Paulo Rodrigues Valente).

For strategic Reasons, the group is seeking to expand into Asia and Eastern Europe.

Simoldes Aços started out as manufacturer of moulds for domestic items and toys in Oliveira de Azeméis. The first strategic change took place in April 1963 when we moved premises. Expansion of business was already a company objective.

In 1966, after in-depth market research on an international level, followed by a wide-ranging publicity campaign, the company took part in its first direct exhibition, in Spain. This was the time of the intermediaries and through the manufacture of moulds for England and the United States the doors were opened for the export of our products.

In 1968, Simoldes Aços exported directly for the first time. England was the country of destination and the city was London, Bankside.

At the beginning of the 70s the construction of new Simoldes Aços building was started and in April 1974 these new premises, where the company is also currently based, were officially inaugurated.

When many companies were in decline because of the political situation at the time, Simoldes, under the guidance of Mr. António Rodrigues, “gained momentum” for the years to come. Through efficient management, excellent facilities, machines and skilled labour, the company knew best how to meet the demands of the market and strengthen its image as a moulds manufacturer.

In 1976/1977 the extensive search for new markets started with stands at trade fairs in Chicago, Birmingham and Gothenburg and participation in trade missions to the United States, Canada, Venezuela, Holland, and Denmark. It was during this decade that Simoldes Aços started to manufacture moulds for the European automobile industry, more specifically for countries such as France and Sweden. Clients included Volvo, Saab and Renault, although indirectly at the time.

At the beginning of the 80s, partly driven by the setting up of the Renault factory in Portugal, the opportunity arose to expand into the injection of plastic components.

The aim was to supply the end client, directly to their production lines with the plastic parts they needed. It was against this background that Simoldes Plasticos was formed, the first company in the Plastics Division of the Simoldes Group.

At the beginning of the gos, ten years after the company`s great international leap, we started to diversify with the opening of MDA-Moldes de Azeméis in 1994, a company specializing in advanced technology and the manufacture of large-scale moulds, in 1996, IMA – Indústria de Moldes de Azeméis was founded and in 1999 a manufacturing unit was opened in Curitiba, Brazil, with the name of Simoldes Aços Brazil.

With the arrival of the new millennium and as part of ongoing group strategy, new investment was made in the acquisition of new mould manufacturing units, first with IGM – Industria Global de Moldes and later through the acquisition of MECAMOLDE – Moldes para Plásticos and UL Moldes, both in Oliveira de Azeméis.

Working with a young and dynamic team, the moulds division of the Simoldes group produces and exports to more than 30 countries, including: France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Iran and Turkey.
The company is seeking to evolve into a service provider, without losing sight of the supply made to different markets and the principles of total quality and full compliance with deadlines. To meet the demands of today`s markets we constantly seek to increase productivity, which is a determining factor for maintaining high levels of competitiveness.



Main Clients/ Markets:


The Simoldes Group Currently supplies some of the biggest companies in the automobile industry, including Renault, Volvo, Saab, GM, Ford; Peugeot, Mercedes, Citroen, VW, BMW and Seat, as other market leaders in different industries.

These clients are mostly multinational companies and have manufacturing facilities on several continents or centralize purchases in their country of origin. However, they purchase individually while sharing information and common purchasing policies.

This market needs to select a series of moulds manufacturers who, through their know how and production capability, can supply high quality moulds at the best prices and delivery times. These are demands which can only be met by the most efficient of moulds manufacturers.

Initially directed at a clientele with an average injection capability of 500 tons. Simoldes is now aiming to become a global partner within the automobile industry. The need therefore arises to add companies to the group which specialize in smaller moulds so as to provide an integrated solution for market requirements.



Technological Development: Channels and Strategies

Simoldes has always sought to be an early adopter.

Making full use of a strategy of focus, specializing in the specific environment of highly technical, quality moulds within the moulds industry in general, the group has created a niche to which resources and specialized knowledge are now directed. The aim is now to maintain and increase this niche.

As this is a precision industry and given the specific demands of the target sector, Simoldes has recognized the driving factors of the market and gone against the tendency to form a single large injection mould manufacturing company. Instead we opted for several independent production units, working in similar areas but with a smaller number of employees and smaller individual production capability. However, this provides more flexibility for operations and makes it easier to adapt to the requirements of each different market.

We should also mention inter-company cooperation which allows us to maximize resources and increase efficiency while also sub contracting jobs. This work is carried out by companies with a high level of technical quality giving Simoldes the guarantee that specific requirements will be met.

Our pioneering strategic choice of moulds for the automobile industry and ongoing investment and full application of high performance technology in all areas of production together with our skilled labour, are factors which have placed the company in a position of control over domestic competition within the industry, and we are considered by many to be the “ standard” for companies to follow.

Simoldes, after having achieved a technological level which allows us to compete with the best in the industry, is now concentrating on a strategy of differentiation. We are developing a plan of action based on guidelines for the medium and long-term.

Given the importance of a number of countries have for the group, the use of a structure for the supply of services which improve both verbal and cultural communication has been the strategy implemented to make up for the distance which separates us from our clients.

Therefore, in the markets of Germany, France, England, Scandinavia and Spain which are of great importance for the group, we have set up agencies (Advanced Customer Services or ACSs). These are managed by qualified staff who come from the respective countries and are able to carry out technical and commercial tasks. The aim of this approach is to be able to react more quickly to meet market requirements whole also overcoming any cultural barriers which may exist.

The future will be even more competitive and there can be no geographical limits to the company's strategy for growth.


Font: "O Molde" Magazine, December 2004
 
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