Two British plastics industry organizations have patched up their membership differences to launch jointly a new group targeting the United Kingdom's mass of small plastics processing companies.
The British Plastics Federation and the Polymer Machinery Manufacturers and Distributors Association got into a spat last year when the bigger BPF angrily condemned a PMMDA plan to actively recruit small processing firms into its membership. BPF claims to represent processors.
Now, the trade bodies have agreed to a compromise, where both will offer services to the Small Plastics Processors Group, whose members, companies with annual sales of under £1 million ($1.84 million), will pay a reduced membership fee.
BPF will assist firms to take on the industry's big challenges, such as high energy prices, increasing global competition, high resin prices and increasing regulatory demands. PMMDA aims to help members with their day-to-day needs, offering machinery-related and health and safety support.
"We are delighted to have the support of the PMMDA and their membership to help address some of the issues facing these microbusinesses. We are confident this new package will deliver excellent value and assist these companies with the day-to-day struggles they face, and add their voice to a concerted lobbying effort," said Peter Davis, director general of the London-based BPF.
He pointed out that small processors represent an estimated 56 percent of the total number of such companies in the British industry and "have tended to work in isolation."
The new service, to be managed by BPF, will provide members with information including updates on changing legislation, support on technology developments, machinery health and safety, and energy efficiency. The small firms will also benefit from placement in BPF's online plastics directory.
The agreement to form the group was also welcomed by Rugby, England-based PMMDA's secretary Sandy Weaver. She pointed out that the group, with a membership fee equivalent to about £1 ($1.88) per day, will allow the small firms to get vital information at an affordable cost.
"We're very pleased to be working with the BPF in this positive way. ... We do not need to split and divide the industry in any way.
"The question now is: If more small companies are given service at the right price and on a plate, will they take it up?" said Weaver, who suggested the answer will be evident in about a year.