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Accumold Exporting Billions of Tiny Parts Worldwide from DSM USA

Accumold products

July 23, 2018

We all know the world is shrinking. And we all see our technology shrinking as well, but did you know a key part of this micro revolution sits in Greater Des Moines (DSM)?

Accumold Ankeny

Thousands of cars pass by our Accumold corporate headquarters  just off I-35 through Ankeny every day without knowing what we  do or why what we make is in such high demand. Even those who work and live within a few miles of our facilities are likely unaware we are a net exporter, having shipped billions of tiny plastic components for medical device, microelectronics, wearables and micro-optic markets all around the world.

A secret weapon in DSM

We help our customers by pushing the limits of what they can produce with technology that can produce microscopic components. Our unique micro molding process is sought after across the globe and has been described by our customers as an enabling technology, attributing to their successes. For many of our customers, we are their secret weapon.

While we do have a highly-specialized technological advantage, which certainly gives us a head start in the market, the micro molding technology that is a core part of our success would not be possible without the innovative sprit of our team. Hard-working, Iowa-know-how has come to life at Accumold and is essential to our continued growth. That is our secret weapon. It certainly sounds cliché, but for us, it is our people — hard working Iowans.

Our customers ask us every day to do something that hasn’t been done before — it’s hard work. Hard work doesn’t get done without the fortitude and tenacity of our people. Our team is constantly asking how we can improve, challenging the status quo. This approach to problem-solving has been with us since our founding in 1985 and has continued with us along the way.

Nurturing a talent pipeline

The growth has certainly been a challenge to keep up with, both in finding people for open positions and what seems like constant building expansion. But these are exciting challenges that fill us with energy and excitement. This challenge has also spurred us to develop new and stronger relationships in our community as we strive to develop our world-class workforce.

One of those strong relationships lead to our Accumold Scholars program. Several years ago, we formalized a partnership with Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) to create a technical scholarship program. That initiative has allowed us to train and grow enviable talent right here in our own backyard.

This was the subject of a recent Bloomberg interview with Roger Hargens, our CEO. He had the chance to share our story because of the high interest in a growing need for the future skilled workforce, not just in DSM but around the country as well. We have been very proud this model we’ve developed has been emulated as others look for their own solutions to workforce development. It’s a great testimony of public-private partnerships that can truly benefit the community.

Finding talent is certainly a top issue. We are often asked if we would consider moving manufacturing operations elsewhere. It’s a common practice to co-locate services near customer facilities or other “low-cost” environments, but for us our answer is always the same, “We have no plans to move.” Shipping tiny resin components around the world by the millions isn’t actually costly, as many orders can fit in something the size of a shoe box — shipping is a small percentage of total cost to our customers. We feel our location in the Midwest gives us easy access to the many far away cities and countries our customers reside.

Location, location, location

As companies weigh the pros and cons of moving operations the reason our single-location manufacturing business continues to grow is because of synergies we’ve developed and the capabilities they provide.

It's true many overseas competitors have tried to duplicate our process, but they always seem to struggle with the precision, skill and quality we can produce right here from Iowa. For us, moving away hurts our strategic advantage.

It’s been exciting to see how our company has grown from the small, few-man operation in the ‘80’s to the large 130,000 sq. ft. facility and 350+ employees we are today. Looking back, it seems obvious why we’ve had our incredible growth. In part, it's because of DSM.

Through the Global DSM initiative, the Greater Des Moines Partnership works to establish Greater Des Moines (DSM) as a global community by bolstering global trade and foreign investments and leveraging international talent.

Aaron Johnson

Aaron is an experienced communicator with a unique background in technology, design and marketing. He is the vice president of customer strategy at Accumold in Ankeny, Iowa. Aaron devotes his time developing market-relevant communications tools, managing global marketing and trade event and giving technical presentations to customers worldwide.