As Thanksgiving passes and we digest the turkey and pie from another holiday gathering, it's time for plastics processors to prepare for the Christmas season. We're hoping that after carefully checking your naughty-or-nice list, you can find some room in your sack for the following stocking stuffers:
Low interest rates. The Federal Reserve is behaving like the recovery is well under way, but we're not convinced. Please keep rates down where processors can afford to invest in new equipment. In the manufacturing arena, if you don't stay current you quickly fall behind.
More resin. We don't care if you make it from natural gas, oil, corn or magic dust. If processors don't have resin, they can't make stuff. If they can't make stuff, they can't pay the bills.
Good customers. You know the type, the ones who are stable, pay on time and would never think of filing for Chapter 11. Some of them have even been known to approve a price hike from time to time. Perhaps you can arrange for some heart-enlargement procedures for the Grinches at Wal-Mart and the Big Three automakers. Speaking of which, processors could use some …
… Higher prices. No, they don't want to pay higher prices. They've been doing that, for raw materials, energy, shipping, workers' pay and benefits (don't get us started on health-care costs). They need to be able to charge higher prices for a change.
A year without hurricanes, floods or earthquakes. Every year, there's a natural disaster (or two or three) that seems to hit processors somewhere. Keep them healthy and safe, and make sure no one misses a flood-insurance payment.
No work stoppages. You know from experience that whenever the elves go on strike, no one wins. Enough said.
A free-trade deal that works for everyone. This one might take a little Christmas magic. Processors need an agreement that creates opportunity without encouraging customers to shift existing work to the newest low-cost locale of the month.
No corporate raiders. The wingtip-equipped guys who don't create anything of value but end up walking away from manufacturing companies with millions of dollars in greenmail should stay home for the holidays. Or better yet, get stuck in a snowdrift — with no one to bill for their time.
Cool new products. Can you loan the elves to some housewares and toy companies for a few months? They can use your help creating the next Hula-Hoop or Cozy Coupe. We promise they won't waste time designing stuff that they'll make with straw, wood or clay.
A great Processor of the Year candidate. The best ones are healthy, ethical, represent the industry well and aren't currently looking for a buyer.
A big, healthy NPE show. All the machines fit in the halls, none get dropped in the parking lot. Plenty of visitors (with checkbooks in hand) walking the aisles. Some new products to get everyone excited. A great new class for the Plastics Hall of Fame, and some good speeches to keep the room of industry luminaries entertained for the evening. Some big news stories for our reporters to cover (hey, the processors can't keep everything for themselves).
Your friends at Plastics News.