From a processor's point of view, there are encouraging signals emanating from the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. The plastics industry's umbrella trade organization, which counts about 760 processors among its 2,000 or so members, long has wanted to boost its
processor membership but has had difficulty in doing so. The ratio of processors to members has remained relatively constant during the past decade, according to SPI spokesman Jack LaCovey.
Now, the trade association is getting more pragmatic about how to entice processors into the fold, by lowering dues and eliminating some barriers to membership (see story on Page 11).
It also is reaching down to address some key concerns at the grassroots level - most recently, and most notably, via its unveiling of a new, $800,000 certification program for shop-floor injection molding employees that SPI hopes to apply eventually to other processing sectors.
And there even are some indications that SPI's Molders and Moldmakers divisions, which recently concluded their joint annual meeting at Phoenix's $240-a-night Arizona Biltmore resort, may be considering beefing up their annual meeting's program, to provide better value for money.
To date, this four-day event has tended to split its time equally between business meetings, and leisure time, particularly tennis and golf.
There is nothing inherently wrong with that - who doesn't enjoy some relaxation time in the sun in February? But the relatively lightweight program has made the cost of attending such meetings difficult to justify for smaller molders operating on thin profit margins.
Changes in the tax codes that tighten the noose on eligible business deductions also are having an effect this year, in some cases prompting fewer spouses to attend such meetings.
As a result of these forces, officials at SPI's Molders and Moldmakers divisions say they are contemplating making their annual joint sessions ``meatier'' by having two full days of intensive seminars geared to inform and assist processors with their businesses, with discretional recreation time available before or after the event.
We welcome these efforts and proposed changes, and hope they yield the desired results. That's because a more united plastics industry can only mean a stronger plastics industry.
Mexican cheers, not tears
It was heartening to witness the bustle of activity at the recent PlastImagen plastics trade show in Mexico City.
Given the country's recent economic and political turmoil, many foreign visitors expected gloom, doom and near-empty aisles. Instead, it was a vibrant show, offering many quality contacts and even some hard business leads.
While many Mexicans are suffering financial hardship from the peso's sharp fall, their buoyant spirit can provide a lesson for us all.