Canadian Plastics

Truth fears nothing but concealment

My December 2005 editorial, "Collective effort required to save Canadian plastics industry," provoked a surprising amount of reaction....

February 1, 2006   By Tom Venetis, editor



My December 2005 editorial, “Collective effort required to save Canadian plastics industry,” provoked a surprising amount of reaction.

Much of it has been positive, with people and companies calling to thank me personally for expressing what many of them have been thinking and debating for some time. Others, smaller in number, were critical. In this issue, we have even run a few ‘Letters to the Editor’, so you can experience for yourself, the range of reactions to the editorial.

I stand by my editorial and the sentiments and ideas expressed within. Canada’s plastic industry will continue to face new and critical challenges in the coming years.

As we were going to press, Canadian autoworkers were anxiously awaiting news about possible major plant closings and job cuts by the Ford Motor Company. In a bid to restructure the automotive giant, analysts suggest some 25,000 or more jobs may be cut worldwide, and up to eight major North American plants could be affected. In Canada, Ford has two plants in southern Ontario, an assembly plant in St. Thomas and an engine plant in Windsor, Ont.

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Coming on the heals of the recent job cuts and plant closure announcement from General Motors, and the slump in sales of autos from the big three North American car manufacturers (until they offered their employee discounts to customers), the news looks grim indeed. One can only imagine how this news is affecting those plastics processors who supply parts and components to the auto manufactures.

But as I have said many times before, this is the reality of the market today. Regardless of what is made, companies will shut plants and move operations around the globe if it means saving money and staying in business. Plastics processors will have to be become more nimble, turn manufacturing operations on a dime, invest in automation and labour-saving technologies, and upgrade the skills of workers in order to survive.

This is where partnerships can and will make a difference. SWM and Associates, which you will read about in this issue, is on the right track. Forging partnerships between plastics processors and solutions providers could help many plastics processors get the support, services and technology they need to survive and grow.

At the same time, I honestly urge plastic processors to look at new markets and work closely with their suppliers and employees to identify and then tackle those new markets.

I would also like to offer an opportunity to all plastic processors to write to us at Canadian Plastics with your ideas about how to get new business. We want to hear more success stories and ways in which plastics processors have made companies successful. It’s hard to write more positive articles when no one wants to talk about them. So once again, write to us or call us directly to tell us about your success stories are and how others in the industry can learn from them.

Also, talk amongst yourselves more. Sit down and see how each of you can help each other. Talk shop and don’t be afraid to swap ideas.

For those of you who are still critical of my editorial, I quote George Bernard Shaw: “All great truths begin as blasphemies.” Yes, the truth hurts, but it can also help.

e-mail: tvenetis@canplastics.com


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