On July 29, Plastics News will publish our pipe, profile and tubing extrusion ranking. Back in April of 1991 staff reporter Bart Greer was project coordinator for the very first PN extrusion ranking which combined pipe, profile, tubing along with film and sheet manufacturing.
It was a huge undertaking for a fairly new publication. Not only was the sector huge it was a massive challenge to coax information from companies that either didn't want to share details or were simply too large to whittle down to North American extrusion data. It took several hundred phones calls to gather the data and convince firms of the value of sharing the information.
"So what's in it for me?" companies asked.
"Knowledge," Greer said.
The answer still applies.
Today, everyone is clamoring for statistics and details: Who's the largest window maker, pipe maker or medical tubing extruder? How much plastic is processed annually? How many machines are sold? How many employees are working in extrusion?
The list goes on, and the number of requests for this type of data is growing exponentially.
Plastics News has been publishing this ranking for 29 years now, and for a few firms, secrecy is still the order of the day. Lucky for us many firms have cooperated and/or provided news releases to share these valuable details.
So what advantage do we have today over Greer's time? Here is the good, the bad and the fabulous:
• The good is our electronic age has made it possible to review websites, social media, government filings and story archives to grab much more data than ever before.
• The bad is that people rarely answer their phones anymore. If it's not the corporate answering system then it's voice mail, I rarely get to talk directly with companies when I call.
• And the fabulous? With 30 years of publications behind us and a great reputation with our readers, many firms now call or email me to get into the listings. If you haven't yet submitted your ranking information, there is still time.
We owe Greer and the rest of the pioneering Plastics News team a great pile of appreciation for starting these rankings and passing their knowledge onto the rest of us. As a tribute, below is Bart Greer's perspective column that accompanied our very first extrusion ranking: