WASHINGTON — The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s recent dues cut likely has netted the organization eight new large processor members, and the group is seeing rumblings for a similar discount for small non-processor companies.
The cut — which slashed maximum core dues from $164,000 to $10,000 for processors — will cost SPI between $800,000 and $1 million when it is fully implemented next year. But the new members and other revenue growth should not require SPI to cut programs or raise dues for non-processor members, SPI President Larry Thomas said in a June 2 interview.
SPI's total annual budget is about $30 million a year, with about $17 million going to general services and the rest spent on business units.
He also disclosed that SPI has proposed to the McLean, Va.-based Composites Fabricators Association that CFA be made a unit of SPI.
CFA Chairman Patrick Money said the groups met June 9.
``All we've done is started talking to find out if there is any common ground,'' he said.
The discussions could take a long time to resolve because CFA is focused on planning its convention and other management issues, said Money, who is also president of Compositives, a composites fabricator in Garrett, Ind.
Thomas said SPI's recent dues cut is ``producing some excellent results from the get-go,'' after a 1994 effort to draw in new members did not fare very well because an improving economy and better sales erased any dues reductions companies would have seen. Washington-based SPI says about 10 percent of plastic processors in the United States are members.
Six new companies have joined: CKS Packaging Inc. in Atlanta; Crane Plastics Co. in Columbus, Ohio; Kerr Group Inc. in Lancaster, Pa.; Nypro Inc. in Clinton, Mass.; Smurfit Plastics Packaging Inc. in Wilmington, Del.; and Ultraliner Inc. in Oxford, Ala.
Two other firms — Rubbermaid Inc. in Wooster, Ohio, and Tupperware Corp. in Orlando, Fla. — have said they will join in June, and about eight more are very interested, according to Jeremy Taylor, SPI's vice president of membership.
SPI would need 100 new members paying $10,000 each to make up for the lost revenue, if no additional money was coming in. But Thomas said industry revenue growth and a successful NPE 1997 in Chicago should defray some of the costs of the cut.
``I'd say that if we get 50 [new members paying $10,000 each] within the context of our budget, we'll be in fine shape,'' Thomas said. ``It will be revenue neutral.''
The dues cut, which includes reductions for processors of all sizes, will reduce overall processor dues by about two-thirds when it takes effect June 1, 1998, he said.
Companies will be encouraged to take some of the savings in core dues, however, and give it to SPI's business units, Thomas said. SPI also decided earlier this year to let members designate up to one-third of their core dues to individual business units.
That reduction is causing other member segments within SPI, including mold makers, to push for similar dues reductions, at least for the smallest companies. SPI is considering dues cuts for any member with less than $1.7 million in revenue, Thomas said.
The dues cuts are part of a $100,000 direct-mail and advertising program to build membership. The drive includes a sales pitch tailored to prospective members, based on their location, end markets and other factors, Taylor said.
``In the old days ... what we would do for a membership kit is pile it all together, write a generic letter, send it out and see what stuck to the wall,'' he said.
The new targeted effort, which is being used particularly for smaller processors paying under $6,000 a year, does not have a target goal for the number of firms SPI expects to join, Taylor said.
Thomas said SPI is looking at structural changes for the association, but he wants to make sure that all units of the group are represented. He made the comment in response to a question about whether the dues cuts for processors are pushing other non-processor members to seek more authority, because they may be paying more of the costs.
``Whatever changes take place, at least in my opinion as president, will be going to striking a more equitable balance between machinery, materials suppliers and processors,'' he said.