Let's help ourselves in fight versus China
I have worked in the plastics Industry since 1978. I have seen good times and bad. I think that now we are facing our hardest challenge and that is from China. China: the word sends panic through the plastics industry.
All I hear is that President Bush's leadership is responsible for this problem. Well, I need to tell you it is not his fault, but President Clinton's. He sold us out to the Chinese years ago. All is not lost yet. There are things that we can do to help ourselves.
The following three things need to be addressed to stop the flow of jobs and goods to China. The first thing is to increase the tariffs on imported goods from China. The second is to adjust the dollar vs. the yuan. The third is the plastics industry needs to increase profit margins by modernization. This will allow us to reduce per-unit costs.
The first two changes need to be addressed by our government, but we need to write members in the government and explain the needs of our industry. The third is up to us. We need to get out of the 1990s with both our thinking and our equipment. I know that we all have older equipment that is not energy efficient. We have higher maintenance costs and low molding efficiency. By upgrading our equipment the operating costs would be lower and the molding efficiency would also be higher. In general, we would become smarter molders.
I know that these changes will impact some of the companies that are currently doing business with China by reducing their profit, but in the long run it will be better for both the United States and the plastics industry. But until we all group together we do not have a chance.
Employee training not on back burner
Thank you for your Viewpoint column in the Oct. 20 issue regarding worker training (``Take part in, shape SPI worker training,'' Page 6). You are correct in stating that ``few issues are more important to the long-term health of any company.''
The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. should be commended for its efforts. Although there have been bumps in the road, its commitment to developing a standardized training program (the National Certification in Plastics) is a giant step in the right direction. Issues such as what the best delivery method is for training (Internet, live instruction, etc.) will work themselves out. New technologies exist that make it much cheaper and easier for processors to train their workers.
I do have issue with one statement in your editorial: ``And with survival at stake for many processors, training has slipped to the back burner.'' My experience is that forward-thinking companies have not put less of a priority on training their workers; in fact, the opposite is true.
The best companies realize that with better-trained workers they will succeed and prosper, and gain a competitive advantage. Good training practices are the key to improving American manufacturing.
Paulson Training Programs Inc.