AKRON, OHIO (Sept. 22, 10:45 a.m. EDT) — At least two compelling reasons can drive a company today to take a more international approach to business. The first, according to Donald Duncan, president of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., is defensive in nature.
"Competitors halfway around the world can be in your backyard tomorrow, taking your business. The same barriers just are not there anymore," Duncan said recently.
Companies need to be more aware than ever of potential competitors, he suggests, no matter where they are located.
The other reason is offensive in nature, Duncan said. When one compares the relatively mature markets in North America to the expected double-digit growth for plastics projected in huge, developing markets such as China and India, it makes sense to seek entry to those distant markets to try to grab a piece of the action.
There are many ways to make such a bold move — by forming a joint venture with a local partner, building a greenfield plant on your own, or by buying, merging with or striking an alliance with another company. Those options and related topics will be explored in the opening session of Plastics News' Executive Forum 2001, set for Oct. 15-18 in San Antonio.
That 90-minute panel, "Growing Your Business: Acquisitions, Alliances & Globalization," will feature four industry executives well-versed in such matters: Moll Industries Inc. President Chuck Schiele, who formerly headed operations for Alcoa Closures Systems in Eastern Europe and Latin America; Pactiv Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Wambold, who oversees the former Tenneco Packaging empire that has grown via some bold acquisitions of its own; Jim Meinert, globe-trotting international sales director of mold maker Snider Mold Co. Inc.; and Duncan, who, before joining SPI this year, forged a merger of arch-rivals into the firm now known as DuPont Dow Elastomers. Duncan served as president and CEO of that billion-dollar materials firm.
Kicking off the conference Oct. 15 will be Thomas Blaige, managing director with Minneapolis-based private equity bankers Goldsmith Agio Helms, who will examine specific plastics industry merger and acquisition trends.
Stu Kaplan, president of Columbus, Ind.-based injection micromolder Makuta Technics Inc., then will offer personal insights into the challenges involved with creating and managing alliances with companies from other cultures. Kaplan's firm is one of seven affiliates worldwide of Japan's Sansyu Group, run by his father-in-law, Akiji Kamiya.
The forum also features six industry experts offering their assessments of prospects for all the major resin groups, plus end-market panels focusing on what's hot and what's not in the medical, automotive, packaging and telecommunications sectors. Other presentations will address economic trends, management issues and e-business.
Recently confirmed speakers include:
Bob Alvarez, vice president of technology for the fast-growing United Plastics Group Inc. of Westmont, Ill., and a former official with Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon End-Surgery Division. He joins the Oct. 16 medical end-market panel, which already includes executives from Boston Scientific Corp., PolyTen LLC and Dow Chemical Co.
Michael Fallon, formerly with Shape Global Technologies, now global market development manager of Nypro Inc.'s recently formed telecommunications/wireless sector. He joins Tuesday's telecommunications session, which already features executives from Motorola Inc. and Ericsson U.S.
Bill Hendricks, purchasing agent for packaging materials for consumer foods giant Welch Foods Inc. of Concord, Mass., joins a Hewlett-Packard Co. procurement chief on the original equipment manufacturer supply-chain panel that closes the conference's "e-business day" program Oct. 18. Hendricks uses the Internet to help him buy hundreds of millions of plastic packages each year.