On the face of it, unless you've thrown your fate to the gods of chance, heading to Las Vegas to learn how to deal with looming economic and financial business challenges might seem counterintuitive. But that's not necessarily the case. Stay with me on this one. Suppose that in one trip you could:
* Get blue-chip legal advice about how to protect yourself and your firm from supply-chain disruptions caused by a vendor or customer going bankrupt?
* Hear do's and don'ts from a well-known, long-respected industry veteran who, against his will, had to sell his family-owned plastics molding company, and is willing to tell his tale, to try to help others avoid a similar fate?
* Listen to fresh, original research about specific strategies that various North American processors are taking, and how highly they are leveraged financially is impacting some of their decisions?
* Obtain the latest data and opinions from private-equity and banking experts on industry merger and acquisition trends, and on how to access capital to keep your lights on and your machines running?
* Gain insights from a pair of experienced economists one from a major multinational industrial firm and the other who focuses exclusively on the plastics industry?
* Learn how to cope as an automotive supplier, or how to go about entering new markets and succeeding as a processor serving such sectors as the largely recession-proof medical/pharmaceutical industry?
* Tap into the experience of a Midwestern injection and blow molding toolmaker that has rebranded itself and taken steps to engage OEM customers earlier in the process, as a means to increase its value and differentiate itself in a crowded market?
* Gather inspiration from a longtime plastics industry CEO about how to build ``social capital,'' nurture your workforce and be environmentally sustainable and why that makes good business sense?
* Benchmark your company against some of the industry's elite processors, and get face time with their leaders, who offer best-practices advice?
* Hear how other processors leverage available market information to secure the best resin prices, while also getting an update from some materials producer executives themselves about supply/demand prospects and likely trends?
* Network informally with plastics leaders, lawyers, banking executives and consultants from up and down the supply chain?
* And then, to cap it all off, finance your entire trip (and more) via the immediate savings you can capture at your company by applying simple, common-sense tips you gain that relate to using energy more wisely in your offices and factories?
Now, does that sound like a crap shoot? If you come to Las Vegas from March 1-4, you're allowed to have fun but the purpose is all business. We've sited the event at the JW Marriott in Summerlin, Nev., well north of The Strip, to minimize distractions. You can do all the above, and more, at the Plastics News Executive Forum 2009, where we also will crown the latest PN Processor of the Year.
In tough times like these, one needs timely, accurate market intelligence, good business advice and fresh contacts more than ever. Full details are at plasticsnews.com/forum2009. Come join the discussion.