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PLANNING FOR 2002

Around here, September is business planning season, time for high hopes, wish lists, crystal balls and harsh reality. As you prepare forecasts and budgets, I submit to you a list of Internet sites tha...


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September 1, 2001 by Cindy Macdonald

Around here, September is business planning season, time for high hopes, wish lists, crystal balls and harsh reality. As you prepare forecasts and budgets, I submit to you a list of Internet sites that may help validate some of your educated guesses. I have rounded up some sites that could help with budgeting for next year’s events, travel and resin costs.

Where do you need to go?

One of my first considerations when planning for the upcoming year is industry events. I found several comprehensive, easy-to-use sources: Plastics News (1), Plastics Technology (2) and Polysort (3). All three have hyperlinks to the events’ web sites, which makes it easy to find out additional details. Plastics News and Plastics Technology also have a search function to let you narrow down your quest. For Canadian events, of course, I think our listing is your best option. Canadian Plastics (4) lists global events but also covers local meetings of CPIA, CTMA, CAMM, SPE, as well as golf and other social events, and local trade shows. Omnexus (5) has a list of events but it is not as exhaustive as those mentioned above, and Modern Plastics’ (6) list seems to be limited to conferences and events sponsored by its owner Chemical Week Associates.

(1) www.plasticsnews.com

(2) www.plasticstechnology.com

(3) www.polysort.com

(4) www.canplastics.com

(5) www.omnexus.com

(6) www.modplas.com

What will it cost?

Once you’ve decided where to go, you need to estimate costs. For this, Internet travel sites can be tremendously helpful. The three most used on-line booking services in Canada are reputed to be Expedia (7), Exit.ca (8) and Travelocity (9). I tried all three, and for the purposes of checking fares and hotel prices, Travelocity is my choice. I priced a hypothetical trip from Montreal to Detroit in March 2002 (for SAE), and put the sites through their paces by checking a Sunday to Friday trip versus a Saturday to Friday trip. Travelocity and Expedia are very similar, but Travelocity seems more intuitive and requires less prompting by the user. For hotel selection Expedia listed some hotels with no availability (and no prices listed) for my chosen time period, seven months hence. Good for the hotel, but not useful for the researcher. Prices on both sites are given in Canadian dollars and the extensive list of hotel selections included some in Windsor.

Exit.ca presents itself as more of a vacation planning tool, and was extremely slow.

If you wish to check airline sites directly, Canada.com (10) has links to most Canadian airlines on its travel channel.

(7) www.expedia.ca

(8) www.exit.ca

(9) www.travelocity.ca

(10) www.canada.com/travel/bookatrip.html

Will you have the money to go?

Now, for the crystal ball gazing: Resin pricing. If you can wait until October 16, Canadian Plastics presents a day of expert forecasts at the Resin Outlook Conference (see our web site for details (11)). For current prices, Plastics News (12) is an established source and Plastics Technology (13) also has resin price charts on its site. Auction/exchange sites are another option. The Plastics Exchange (14) is a good choice for this because it offers commentary on resin pricing trends, and offers a demo of the exchange floor with current prices.

(11) www.canplastics.com

(12) www.plasticsnews.com

(13) www.plasticstechnology.com

(14) www.theplasticsexchange.com