SPI: The Voice of the Plastics Industry
31 Oct, 2006By: William R. Carteaux
The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI) is the trade association representing the 4th largest manufacturing industry in the United States. Founded in 1937, our organization strives to design and implement programs that promote sustainable future growth for the plastics industry. Headquartered in the nation’s capital, SPI maintains Midwest, Southern, Western and Northeast regional offices that enable it to deliver programs and services targeted at the local, state and regional levels.
The U.S. plastics industry employs 1.3 million people, ships goods valued at $345 billion worldwide, and manufactures/distributes from over 18,800 locations in the U.S. SPI’s 1,100 member companies include the entire plastics industry supply chain: processors, machinery and equipment manufacturers, mold makers, raw material suppliers, consultants and other suppliers that comprise the plastics industry.
SPI’s mission is to leverage our expertise, know-how, special relationships, political capital, and databases of information to collectively promote the plastics industry on both a domestic and global basis for its members.
The organization’s “core” departments promote industry growth, provide industry representation and services to members, influence public policy and communicate the industry’s contributions to society, as well as the benefits of its products, to a variety of audiences.
Through special end market interest groups, SPI connects plastic industry professionals, policymakers, regulators and other stakeholders to the information and people-in-the-know specific to a particular business area within the industry. Under the SPI umbrella, these business units and committees allow industry segments to focus on a common interest, whether it’s a particular material, a manufacturing process, a product or a public policy issue.
SPI promotes business growth and development through our highly successful trade shows: NPE and Plastics USA. Held every three years in Chicago, NPE is an international plastics showcase that attracts more than 75,000 attendees and close to 2,000 exhibitors displaying the latest technologies and advancements in the field. NPE 2006, held this past June, set new records for international participation: the total of international visitor registrations was 33% larger than in 2003. Plastics USA, also held in Chicago, is “North America’s Plastics Marketplace,” drawing more than 10,000 attendees and nearly 350 exhibitors. The next Plastics USA is scheduled for March 4-6, 2008.
Sound decisions are based on sound information. SPI provides comprehensive, reliable benchmarking data on industry size, shipments, productivity, imports and exports, equipment use and purchase. The one-of-a-kind economic studies and statistical reports that comprise SPI’s Plastics Data Source help companies, the media, policymakers and others track trends, make sound decisions or communicate accurately.
SPI keeps its members up-to-date on the new technologies that will present future market opportunities and shape tomorrow’s world for plastics professionals. These include emerging fields such as degradable plastics, nanotechnology, bio-based polymers, fuel cells, radio frequency ID, bio-pharma applications and the necessary development of codes and standards to regulate them.
SPI is the voice of the plastics industry and works to make sure the industry’s present and future needs are an important consideration whenever public policy is being considered that could potentially impact the business of plastics. From the White House to the U.S. EPA and the halls of Congress, SPI continually communicates with policymakers in order to monitor issues and affect policy development.
Delivering Online Tools
In addition to these initiatives, new programs and services will make SPI, and our members, even more relevant. One case in point is the recently launched NPE365™ -- the next generation Internet search and business tool completely customized for professionals in the plastics industry. Best described as a two-way, personal search tool that is exclusively for our industry, NPE365™ uses an individual’s preferences to find relevant items -- even when the individual is not online actively searching. It is a “personalized agent” that alerts users whenever an important “find” occurs. For example, a plastics professional might receive an alert that reads, “Two weeks ago you searched for High Speed Injection Molding; two articles and three new products have been found that match your needs.”
From trade show exhibitions and government relations to benchmarking data, workforce development and cost-savings programs, SPI delivers expertise that keeps the full spectrum of plastics industry companies focused on business development and growth. Strength in numbers combined with sector expertise – that has always been a hallmark of SPI. And it will continue to be in the future.
For more information about SPI’s programs and events, link to the Web at www.plasticsindustry.org.