"Hi-Tech Mold and Tool is a contract manufacturer, we specialize in more exotic plastics materials—molding, and a lot of things you might do after molding. Things like injection, pad-printing, assembly machining, aerospace, oil and gas, military defense, a lot of markets like that.
With Hi-Tech Mold and Tool, technology is pretty critical to our business. A lot of the things that we work on have never been done in plastics before, so we get involved in a lot of transitions of going from metal to plastics. For instance, the aerospace work we do, everything there is 'behind the wall', so it’s not the cladding or the seating or anything like that, it’s the air systems, the electrical, engine components."
IT Strategy and Cybersecurity
We sat down with Vince Lanning, Vice President and General Manager of Hi-Tech Mold & Tool, to hear their technology story, and what they think of Synagex.
"Synagex works with us hand in hand."
"In some cases it’s more of a straight-forward relationship where we have typical business systems that need support.
Our expertise is manufacturing, it’s not IT systems,
I’d say the strategic areas are where Synagex helps us. A lot of the applications we work on are not standard business-type software and whether it’s our analysis software or our modeling software, the interface between some of our business equipment and our manufacturing equipment are all non-standard areas for us to work with. It’s where Synagex provides great value for us in figuring that out."
"In general, I think you need strategy across the board. IT strategy is especially important in that, with a lot of the evolution of the equipment, whether it’s security-related, or supporting our analysis equipment, understanding and having back-ups in place — not just for our information, but how we handle our power systems.
There’s a lot of aspects that are pretty critical to our growth as a business. It continues to evolve, and one of the benefits that I’ve liked with Synagex is that they’re able to help grow with us. That flexibility and that strategy has been critical."
The Business Relationship
"It’s been a great relationship with Synagex. The flexibility and the response are outstanding. We have standard problems like anyone else, but we run into some non-standard things, and quite frankly the head scratches for anybody. But the guys are great to work with — just friendly and laid back, and it meshes with our company culture really well. The feedback I got when we took Synagex on as a service provider was great feedback within the building — the folks really like working with the team."
"As a military defense aerospace manufacturer, even with some of our other medical customers, or our oil and gas customers, a lot of the nature of the information is proprietary, and in some cases it might be government-controlled. It’s super-critical that we maintain that security and our customers have faith that we protect their proprietary information. It has evolved a lot even in the last year and a half where there were maybe some passing interest from some of our customers to this now this has become a pretty important audit item for them. It’s also pretty important for us, with our suppliers, and I think that’s one of the growth areas where Synagex has helped us."
"We’re now working with Synagex to assess our suppliers’ security."
"We’ve had some issues in the past, and while they weren’t hugely dramatic to our business (they could have been). There’s been an evolving set of standards for cybersecurity.
Part of it is understanding not just what do those levels really mean, but also what level makes sense for us as a business.
There’s always a balance of investment and value that goes along with that. Whether it’s CMMC or DFARS — just understanding our place in that, and what’s the value that makes sense for the various levels. Synagex has been very helpful for that."
On Modern IT
"The Modern IT concept is a great value for us. The big benefit is, we’re a medium-sized company and we’re really too big to have a sole person handle all of our IT. It’s difficult to ask someone to be an expert in networking and business software and security and all of these areas. The Modern IT plan has been great for us because we get the value of expertise in all of these different areas, but we also get a competitive cost structure that supports that. It’s a great blend for us, just to be able to run our business."
How Synagex Compares
"We actually went through a pretty elaborate sourcing process for an IT partner and there’s a lot of things that go into play there. Competitiveness is certainly part of it, but the biggest thing is I felt that they understood a lot of what we are as a customer. We looked at a la carte, but honestly the amount of time you spend trying to determine this or that, we didn’t feel like that would bring us the most value in the long run. It’s a long-term play and it’s typically how we like to do our business relationships. It’s not about what you get at the time, it’s where you're going to be over the long-term, and their success and our success tie together. That concept is important for me and our business. It’s not about what we are doing today or tomorrow, there’s hiccups and surprises, but if everybody’s aligned on the long-term goal, I think that’s the most important part in any kind of relationship."
On Our Modern IT Subscription Model
"For us the Modern IT subscription-based model, it works great for us. When we first started going to a subscription model, we had a whole lot of initial things that needed to be sorted out. What I think, if you look at the model — the amount of calls — those have gone down dramatically, probably 30 or 40% from where we started. Just getting the infrastructure in place for long-term solutions versus short-term band-aid fixes, it allows our company to run a lot smoother. Again, we’re not IT experts, so it allows us to focus on areas of growing our business, and to let the folks that are experts in the area run that the way it needs to be run. "
Your IT Should Be Unique
Our customers are all different, we all do different things — we are involved with the department of defense, we are a finance company, we are a construction company, we are retail-focused, or healthcare —each one of those businesses has a unique need for technology.
We like to focus our time, at the strategic level, on those differences.
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"If I tried to describe Synagex, there’s a lot of adjectives that come to mind — certainly flexibility, competitive, great value, but to me — one of the biggest areas: growing with us. It’s been super-important. The environment changes all the time and we need someone to change with us. They’re a great value and a great partner to work with
I've recommended Synagex to multiple parties and it’s nice to see some folks have taken up on it. It’s been a great business relationship, and if somebody else can take our learnings and grow from it — I think Synagex is a great fit for a lot of similar-type companies".