While manufacturing has been going strong in recent months, manufacturers in the plastics industry are busy preparing ourselves for a changing future.
Because the truth is, change is coming whether we like it or not. And while certainly some of those elements of change have the potential to improve our industry (a possible reduction in corporate taxes, for instance, would hardly upset most of us), others promise new challenges lie ahead.
MANUFACTURERS, IT’S TIME TO PREPARE
So what can we do as manufacturers to make sure we’re prepared? That’s the question facing many in our industry today, and was a topic at the Plastics News Executive Forum last month in Naples, Florida.
For some such as the automotive and medical fields, plastics continue to show room for growth. However that growth is beginning to slow its pace across many other markets. And that means market share is fast becoming the name of the game for plastics manufacturers.
And there are challenges looming. Like the demand for skilled workers even as the pool of workers shrinks, as manufacturers continue to struggle to find qualified candidates to fill increasingly technical roles in the manufacturing workplace. There is also the threat of a trade war with China, as the world continues to watch President Trump’s foreign policy take shape.
COMPETITIVE MANUFACTURING STRATEGIES
With all of this in mind, how can the average plastics manufacturer compete? There are several strategies rolling out throughout our industry. Some, like KASO Plastics, are focusing on automation and increasing manufacturing efficiency and productivity. The gains earned with these strategies, of course, come with their own matching high price tags and capital expenses.
For us at KASO, we take a balanced approach to automation on behalf of KASO’s customers, doing the math upfront to ensure any automation we offer is both cost effective and worthwhile for our customers. Automating tasks generally pencils out better for higher volume projects with anticipated multiple runs to ensure a sound payback time.
Others in the market have turned to M&A efforts in order to build their market share, with an increasingly concentrated market expected in the coming years as manufacturers look for strategic opportunities that can help them improve profitability and efficiency.
No matter which strategy you adopt, there’s no denying that the world of manufacturing is evolving. And those who plan today for tomorrow’s challenges will be ready to evolve with it.