Sweet deals alone don't win industry
In the site selection arena, plastics companies are like the star kicker on a championship high school football team. He gets lots of calls and letters from major college recruiters, but not half as many scholarship offers as the top quarterbacks.
More than 80 site selection, economic development and utility firms exhibited at NPE 1997, held this June in Chicago. That turnout alone speaks volumes about their interest in attracting plastics companies.
And what's not to like about plastics firms? They're not heavy polluters, usually pay workers at least a living wage and don't put unusually heavy loads on the local public works infrastructure. Electric utilities also find them attractive because they're big customers.
Still, it's hard to imagine the prospect of a plastics company winning sweetheart deals like the one Mercedes-Benz AG plundered from Alabama. The closest example in plastics came last year, when Milton, Vt., beat out competing cities in New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina and other states to win Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.'s new U.S. facility. In the end, Husky officials claimed they were attracted to Vermont more for its strong environmental record and small-town lifestyle than for any package of tax breaks.
Perhaps that was a lesson for states, municipalities and utilities that try so hard to attract—and more importantly, to retain—industry. The key is to make taxes and regulations fair and equitable, concentrate on so-called quality-of-life issues, encourage the entrepreneurial spirit and educate a bright, trainable local work force.
And remember, a lot of football competitions are won or lost with the kicking game.
Historical price data doubles on Web site
Plastics News On the Web has doubled the number of resin grades for which it offers historical pricing data.
Since September 1996 the newspaper's Web site (http://plastics news.com) has provided paid subscribers with access to historical prices for 83 grades of volume thermoplastics, engineering thermoplastics and recycled plastics. Most of those prices date back to the newspaper's launch in March 1989.
Now, the site has historical prices dating to Aug. 26, 1996, for 24 new categories of resins, plus historical prices for additional volume categories for 59 resin grades that it already tracked. For the first time, historical data are being offered online for all resin grades and volume categories that Plastics News tracks in its weekly printed price charts. This means that historical data now have just become available online for thermoset and high-temperature thermoplastic materials. Such data also are being offered for two (rather than just one) buying volume categories for all volume and engineering thermoplastic grades, and for both ``pellet'' and ``clean regrind or flake'' categories for recycled resins.
While each week's current resin prices are available to all Web surfers, historical pricing data is reserved for PN's paying subscribers.