Kipp: Advocate for thermoforming innovation

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: September 30, 2013 2:19 pm ET
Updated: September 30, 2013 2:21 pm ET

Image By: Bill Bregar, Plastics News Roger Kipp

Related to this story

Topics Thermoforming
Companies & Associations Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE)

ATLANTA — Business consultant Roger Kipp, a retired thermoforming expert, said companies need to have a formal system for innovation — which he called a key to economic survival.

"It's a very structured approach to innovation" that requires a change of corporate culture, he said.

Everybody talks about innovation. Kipp put some numbers on it, during his presentation about "innovation engineering" Sept. 12 in Atlanta. His talk was part of a Society of Plastics Engineers Extrusion Minitec, which followed the 2013 SPE Thermoforming Conference in Atlanta.

Kipp, who retired last year, ran McClarin Plastics Inc. in Hanover, Pa., where he was vice president of marketing and engineering. He was named Thermoformer of the Year in 2010. Now he runs a business strategy consulting business in Hanover, Roger C. Kipp Sr. & Associates.

Innovation increases sales and gives you a higher profit margin, Kipp said. "If you're not unique, or meaningful, your only option is to be cheap."

Kipp noted that the idea of innovation is not the same for all companies. Management needs to look at the customer profile. If customers use a strategy of cost-cutting, you have to follow suit and focus on innovation to reduce your manufacturing costs. But if customers are pumping out new products, your innovation focus changes, he said.

Ask what percent of total business is new in the past three years.

Kipp spelled out the impact of innovation by sharing results of a survey by the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Bell-curve shaped slides showed "proactive" companies, or those that push the innovation envelope, and "reactive" ones that respond by price-cutting.

"The companies that are on the proactive side report that 37 percent of their annual business is related to some new process, new method, new customer or new product in every three-year period. So you're constantly replacing one-third of your business," he said. "You have to constantly have new business in the pipeline."

These proactive companies are more financially successful than the reactives, Kipp said.

According to the NIST/MEP survey, 84 percent of proactive manufacturers reported sales growth during the past three years. Just 4 percent of the totally reactive companies had sales growth. And the numbers were similar for profitability.

"A lot of this really makes common sense," Kipp said. It really starts to come together when you put it into a strategy, he added.

Shorter product life cycles, and global competition driven by the Internet, means manufacturers have to move quickly to research and develop innovations.

"The idea is to fail fast and fail cheap" before the project gets too far along, he quipped.

Fear is the biggest obstacle, but it's important to get diverse thinking from a lot of employees. "That 'change' word scares the heck out of everybody," he said.


Comments

Kipp: Advocate for thermoforming innovation

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: September 30, 2013 2:19 pm ET
Updated: September 30, 2013 2:21 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Canadian thermoformer ICI gets new financial backing

August 26, 2014 3:11 pm ET

Innovative Composites International Inc. (ICI) will get a $1.5 million infusion in the form of a loan and equity funding to cover a corporate...    More

Image

Prosthetic arm concept wins in student thermoforming competition

August 22, 2014 1:56 pm ET

Pressure forming company Freetech Plastics Inc. has returned with its annual Student Thermoformed Part Competition, intended to expand the exposure...    More

Image

Faerch Plast doubling capacity in UK

August 20, 2014 9:42 am ET

R. Faerch Plast A/S, one of Europe’s leading producers of plastic containers for the food industry, is set to double production...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events