MAPPs Plastics Industry Benchmarking Conference 2014


MAPPs 2014 Benchmarking ConferenceWe’re just back from the 2014 edition of the MAPPs Benchmarking Conference in Indianapolis. It was another great even put on by the excellent folks at MAPP (Mid-America Plastics Processors). Troy Nix was, of course, his usual reserved, hard-to-find presence. But the rest of the MAPPs team was extremely helpful with everything.

A few thoughts on this years conference…

The keynote speaker was Jack Daly, sales and motivation guru extrodinaire. I learned a few things about Jack that I didn’t know and also had a chance to speak with him for a few minutes after his 2 hour talk. I did not know, for example, that Jack is an accomplished endurance athlete. That is no small feat for a man in his 60’s (although you’d never guess it by seeing him). He proudly showed everyone his medal from his successful completion of the 2013 Ironman Triathlon in Maui. That is the ultimate in Ironman competitions – 2,000 of the best endurance athletes in the world. Jack also gave away copies of his latest book “Hyper Sales Growth”. I’m about half way through it and it is a very good read.

The overall mood of the plastics processors I spoke with was very upbeat. That is encouraging for 2015. Injection molders, extruders, blow molders, thermoformers are all looking at increased business over the next 12 months and they need tohappy-trained-plastics-employees train employees.

The skilled labor shortage in the plastics industry is still hitting plastics manufacturers hard.

However, it looks like a lot of companies in the industry are getting their message that if they want to have a reliable supply of skilled plastics manufacturing personnel, they are going to have to take control of the situation and create their own supply. This means building robust in-plant training programs for all job levels.

We spoke with several injection molding managers who are looking to do exactly that – start a training program that covers all of the material their personnel need to know, then gradually customize that training program for their own specific injection molding manufacturing production floor. What is very encouraging is that companies seem to be more willing to make that training investment today. They simply have to have the skilled people and if the plastics labor market can’t supply them, they are ready to “grow their own“.

Of course they still want to see the training investment ROI calculations (data which is readily available from Paulson)

However, there is definitely more confidence about investing in a robust in-plant training program and the payoff that their company will get from that investment.

If you weren’t able to attend this year’s MAPP Conference, we would highly encourage you to put it on your calendar now for 2015. It’s not the biggest event in the plastics industry by any means. But the quality of the content, the enthusiasm of the MAPPs team and the forward-thinking plastics manufacturing managers that attend this event and freely share what is working back at their plants make it near the top of our list of plastics industry events of which to be a participant.

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