Could international uncertainty — including the war in Ukraine, new COVID-19 lockdowns in China and the Canadian border truck blockade — have a silver lining for smaller U.S. plastics firms?
The answer may be yes, at least based on what a few of them have suggested in recent days.
These are admittedly unscientific sample sizes but some executives have talked about how they see opportunities for their small firms as large global companies look to shrink their supply chains.
Longtime plastics executive and trade association leader Ben Harp said he and a partner who just purchased a small shop outside Buffalo, N.Y., PM Plastics Inc., believe world events like Ukraine and challenges in Asia are reinforcing to companies that they should look for component suppliers closer to home.
"It has OEMs concerned about how to protect their supply chains and we see that giving us additional opportunities," he said.
PM's not alone. Westec Plastics in California told us it's seeing requests for more medical manufacturing in the U.S. and is making some investments.
Looking at it from the other side, of businesses worried about losing access to U.S. customers, there's Canadian mold making shop Cavalier Tool & Manufacturing Inc. and the Canadian Association of Moldmakers.
They told us in a story last month they worried that the border blockade by some Canadian truckers, on top of COVID challenges, could be another mark against Canadian suppliers from U.S. customers looking to reduce their risk.