As the plastics industry continues to consolidate and small companies give way to megamolders, it might be good for these new Goliaths to remember a few things. They should remember that the entre-preneurial spirit needs to live on even after the entrepreneur has gone. They must remember that acting small while thinking big is the stuff of which successful companies are made. That means remaining flexible. Most customers still like a fast response to their problems or questions, quick turnaround on service and delivery, and personal attention.
After all, that's the sort of business attitude that built many of these molding companies. The plastics industry grew on the backs of men and women willing to burn the midnight oil to get a customer's parts molded and delivered on time, even if it was the owner who stood by the press to open the gate and box the parts.
You must also be a creative company. Sadly, creativity is something that many large companies can scarcely tolerate. Big companies have structure and rules, with everyone expected to color inside the lines.
Remember - these companies you purchase are more than just a place to go to work each day. Sit and talk with some of these pioneers of the plastics industry and you will begin to see that this industry provided them with more than a way to make a living; it gave them a way to make a life.
When they make a decision to sell, it's not an easy one. Many agonize over it for months, even years before they sign the final papers. Many walk away reluctantly, looking back more than once.
We can only hope that these retired men and women will continue to be active in the industry, giving future industry leaders the benefit of their knowledge and wisdom. And we encourage those coming into the plastics industry to participate on a deeper level so that they, like their predecessors, can make it better for their having been here.