PHOENIX - The cost for processors to join the plastics industry's largest trade association is becoming more affordable. The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. recently approved a new dues structure designed to encourage processors to join.
SPI President Larry Thomas mentioned the change at the Molders and Moldmakers divisions joint annual meeting in Phoenix late last month. SPI officials plan to publicize the change within a few weeks.
``This is something that some members have talked about for many years in SPI,'' Ron Bruner, vice president of communications and membership, said in a Feb. 27 telephone interview.
Processor members will pay dues based on a value-added concept. To calculate the rate, a company will take its plastics sales minus the cost of resins, or glass for composites members.
This method is effective immediately for new members. For current processor members, the structure will be phased in during a three-year period, with half the cost of the resins/glass being deducted in years one and two, and full cost taken in the third year.
The current dues cap of $143,000 per company will be indexed based on companies' sales the previous year. Minimum dues for a company membership will be reduced to $250 from $500.
Assuming that the cost of the resin represents one-third of annual sales, here is how the changes will affect new members:
A company with $5 million in sales will pay $2,095 in dues, a savings of $959 from the previous rate of $3,054.
A company with $100 million in sales would pay $41,096, a savings of $9,584 from the previous rate of $50,680.
SPI expects to attract new members to make up for the lower rates.
``We expect [the new rates] to be revenue neutral if we reach our goal of 105 new members over the next three years,'' said spokesman Jack LaCovey.
The Washington-based association also is raising fees charged to its associate and professional members.
Dues for associate company and professional members will rise from a minimum of $400 to a minimum of $500, and from a high of $6,600 to a high of $10,000. Corporate professional members will pay $400-$1,000, and individual professional members will pay $135-$500.
Individual divisions of companies will be permitted to obtain a company membership without requiring that the entire company be a member - provided the divisions comply with certain criteria established by the board.
SPI also will make a greater effort to encourage recycling companies to join, by allowing them to apply the value-added concept and subtract the cost of the feedstock with an adjustment on that to lower dues even further. SPI also is creating a special dues rate for original equipment manufacturer companies.
SPI has about 2,000 members, including about 760 processors, LaCovey said. The association has an annual operating budget of about $13 million, excluding the American Plastics Council and some self-funded divisions within SPI.
Some processors that do not belong to SPI, such as Janice Bates, president of Custom Extrusions Inc. in Phoenix, said they do not expect the more affordable dues to change their minds.
Bates said she feels that SPI has ``ignored'' her as a small processor and does not think membership in the organization helps her in any way.
``I have three businesses to run, plus a family, and frankly, I don't have the time,'' she said.
Custom Extrusion is a custom extruder and injection molder.
Todd Johnson, vice president of Micron Molding Inc. in Minneapolis said he would have to see just how much of an actual dues reduction would result for his company before he could say whether or not he would join. The company is a 24-press custom molder of very small parts, so the material content of his business is a small portion of its overall plastics operation.
``Given that, I would guess that even with restructuring there wouldn't be a gigantic shift in dues for us,'' he said. ``We've evaluated joining SPI in the past and determined that it's quite expensive for what you get out of it,'' he said.
SPI's board of directors approved the dues changes involving processor companies in January. Other proposed changes are:
Create a new, nonvoting member category for small processor companies. This is for companies that want access to SPI information, discounts on literature, etc., but do not want to participate on any other level.
Accept the U.S. operation of a foreign-owned company under the name of the U.S. operation. Previously, a U.S. operation had to join SPI under the name of its foreign parent company.