Every year in compiling Plastics News' six processor rankings, staffers dedicate weeks of precious time to evaluate resin pricing charts, a year's worth of stories, SEC filings and other bits of data to arrive at estimates for those of you who fail to provide us with the data for your company.
Among 238 firms in our pipe, profile and tubing ranking, for example, Plastics News compiled estimated data for 63 companies this year. PPT, as it is fondly known in our offices, has the most estimates of the firms ranked in the top 100, at 40 percent. Most notably, we relied on estimated data for nine of the top 10 PPT firms.
If you have even one extruder and you use it to make anything resembling a pipe, profile or tube, you're probably on our radar screen. Inevitably, I get calls from surprised officials asking, “Where did you get those numbers? Who gave those to you?”
We do not have a dartboard in our offices. We do not blindfold staffers and play “pin the tail on the pipe price.” We painstakingly evaluate information from industry sources who are willing to talk — data from your competitors, data from the industry — and we do try to call you, to come up with the best possible estimate. We have tracked the phone calls to prove it. We have critical deadlines that we have to meet, and we appreciate your cooperation.
The process starts months in advance, when staffers contact companies via fax with a clearly marked deadline for submission. About this same time, we also publish the survey form in our weekly newspaper at least once. By the time we attempt to phone your company to estimate the data, we're months into the process and we feel we've given you ample time to respond.
We understand that you're busy operating your business. But no matter your end market, you run your business throughout the year and you see how and why your business is affected. You have that insight, and we want to know what that is.
If you're not giving us the information for your company, we do what we can to nail down an estimate. We go to anyone in the industry who is willing to talk and can offer any amount of insight. If you're not willing to talk, there are always other people who will.
As a rule, we first come to you. If we don't hear back, we estimate a number based on extensive research, and we call you with that number. If we don't hear back from you, we assume you are satisfied with that number.
Inevitably, a hodgepodge of behavior characterizes our experience every year:
* People who don't return calls.
Executives, administrative assistants, anyone at a company who gets a call from someone at Plastics News regarding the ranking, and you don't bother to call us back, this means you. Until we hear from you otherwise, we will call you back, time after time after time. It is in our best interest, your best interest and the best interest of the industry to establish that communication.
* Companies that turn in a form for the first time, then don't bother to respond ever again.
If we've heard from you once, we expect to hear from you again. If you've been ranked once, you officially are on notice that Plastics News will continue to rank you unless you've gone out of business. To the industry, this information is golden. For Plastics News, this is information that we use throughout the year as we report stories.
Over the years, we use the information to gauge industry trends and to target growth areas among extruders. Moreover, it's information used by the industry to make critical business decisions. By not helping us, you're hurting yourselves.
* Inconsistent responses.
A response from Company A one year, no response the next; a response from Company A the following year, no response the next. It's downright frustrating, especially when the contact name remains the same year after year for Company A. That is, if you've helped us once, we have no reason to believe that you wouldn't help us again. If you have no desire to help us, we need to know why.
To those of you in the industry who help out year after year, thank you. We go to great lengths to provide the industry with the best data possible, and we hope that you'll let us know what we can do to make it better.
Angie DeRosa is a> Plastics News staff reporter based in Columbus, Ohio.