Letter from the Editor
How's business? Each day we hear from a variety of people from coast to coast and around the world who are involved with our industry. From manufacturers and suppliers, to distributors and fabricators, the overall answer is positive. The vast number of end products produced from plastic stock shapes helps our industry to be somewhat resistant when the popular indicators of prosperity are down. Actually, when retail sales are slow, we see stores invest in P.O.P., when manufacturing is down, machinery still requires maintenance and parts still need to be fabricated. Eventually, as we are seeing now, inventories adjust and production resumes to keep pace with the new demand. The few areas that are down, automotive and high tech in particular, will revive as the ebb and flow of our global economy continues.
Managers and business owners ultimately must look at the bigger picture in order to get an accurate read on the health of their businesses. Multiple years of double-digit growth rarely sustain and slow periods are always a threat. Knowing how to manage your way through them and what questions to ask will greatly impact whether you succeed or fail.
This issue provides you with some of the tools you will need to succeed. From the Nylon and Acetal Stock Shapes special section featuring machining and applications for these versatile materials, to splicing thermoplastics and buying thermoforming equipment, we provide the hands-on information you can use. Our regular columns like Plastic Perspectives and Financially $peaking remind you to ask yourself questions like; who is my competition, are the markets we're serving the right ones for the service(s) we offer, is my cost of doing business increasing faster than my sales?
Today we are faced with a global economy. If you are not experiencing it yet, keep your eyes open because the Internet is just one aspect that is making our world smaller. In order to be successful, it is key to stay in front of your customers and prospects. It's been said that, if you're dark, you're dead. So no matter what your marketing and sales efforts include, you should focus on forging a close relationship with your customers.
One resource that can help make your business stronger is the International Plastics Fabricators Association (IPFA). As a Founding Member, we believe that they offer fabricators a common forum with which they can buy better, stay current on fabrication techniques, learn how to run their businesses more successfully and market themselves more effectively to potential customers. For manufacturers and suppliers to our industry, it offers them the opportunity to forge a closer relationship with their core customers. As a matter of fact, Edge Finisher Co., another Founding Member of the IPFA, announced a 10% discount on new equipment and new tooling purchases exclusively for IPFA members. Their generosity shows how committed they are to the success of the Association and the prosperity of our industry. But the IPFA can not do it without your support and involvement. Contact them today at 630-980-4740 to learn more about what they can do for you.
Lastly, your response has been overwhelming! We are happy to report that our web site is averaging over 650 unique visitors a day. Since the re-launch April 1, we have received great feedback from many of you who use it to source material, equipment, tooling and accessories. Also, our extensive archive of articles and features provides easy access to fabricating information that cannot be found anywhere else.
Up next, the July/August issue, which includes our Fourth Annual Buyer's Guide. The first of its kind in our industry, it will feature over 150 of the leading suppliers ready to serve your needs. The new web version of our Buyer's Guide will be keyword searchable, as before, and divided into multiple categories for faster reference. The July/August issue will also have bonus distribution at the upcoming AWFS® Woodworking Fair® this August in Anaheim, CA. We will be there in booth E 5215 - stop by and say hello if you are attending the show.
If you have not had a chance to browse our new web site, take a few minutes and check it out. In addition to the articles and information featured in this issue, you will find a vast resource of products and services providing you with the tools you need to succeed. Your feedback is welcomed, to send us an e-mail, click on the link at the bottom of this page. Enjoy the issue and the site.