Balancing Bad News with Good News

First, thank you, PFFC readers and subscribers, for allowing us to enter your professional lives. Between this print edition, our digital edition, the e-newsletters, and our website, we find reason to “touch” each other multiple times during the course of a month. I'm particularly grateful for the personal exchange of ideas with our readers that lately have inspired the development of several of my editorials.

Within the past few months, some of my commentaries have focused on the economy. Let's face it, remaining profitable is the challenge at hand as we struggle with global economic pressures. Is it difficult? Of course it is. Is it impossible? No! Will it last forever? Of course not!

Maybe we need an attitude adjustment. Don't dismiss the concept! Yes, our unemployment figures are over 8%. But there's 90% of us still working, and there really are jobs out there. You may know of some at your own facilities. And there's other good news.

One anonymous “Writer A” agreed with last month's editorial contributor, who went by the initials “SM,” who said, “So working in packaging can be a pro in a recession, but in a boom phase, some see it as a con, since it never ramps up into high profits like the durable goods segments.” Writer A explained, “I tend to agree with you and your contributors based on what I am hearing from the label and flexible packaging industry.” So that's the good news, Writer A divulges.

But here's the bad news, says Writer A: “However, there is [another] market…that is not so fortunate. The machinery business has hit rock bottom…. Unlike the printers who still seem to have business coming in their doors, the equipment manufacturers are looking down a very dark and ominous tunnel and cannot see the other end.”

Okay, it's not a full endorsement that life is just a bowlful of cherries; however, Writer A admits converters in some industries aren't doing all that badly — even if they're not buying large new machinery at this juncture.

I'm reminded of an analogy shared by a former publisher of mine that sheds a revealing light on our present situation: It's as if we're the crew on an enormous aircraft carrier that's just been slammed into full speed ahead. We're not moving yet, but you can feel all the gears shifting, grinding, and shaking the ship from the bottom up as we prepare to charge forward. Movement doesn't happen all at once with something as large as an aircraft carrier anymore than it took for it to come to a full stop, but the movement is about to happen, and eventually we will be moving at full speed and actually enjoying the ride.

One of my favorite columnists is personal finance expert Terry Savage, whose “Savage Truth” headline on March 9 in the Chicago Sun-Times commanded: “THINK POSITIVE, Economic fears are a big part of country's problems.” She asked readers to “start putting all this bad news in perspective. Especially the media, and the administration.”

To support our economy (and because the prices were very affordable), my recently graduated and employed 22-year-old daughter bought a brand new mileage-efficient American car and was offered a 5% loan. A close friend of mine put a bid on a house. So I know from personal experience, money is out there; it's not impossible to get a loan.

Granted, buying a company or buying a new multimillion-dollar piece of equipment is not exactly the same as buying a car or even a house, but I'd bet there are some pretty good values out there for purchase if you contacted suppliers. Find them in this issue's annual Buyers Guide (p65).

Still other good news from CMM LIVE! Following the industry's first virtual trade show, reports that a total of 303 registered attendees and exhibitors from around the world logged in during the event. The show featured conference sessions, virtual trade show booths, Q&A with key industry companies, and live chat. All this precedes the “real” event slated for June 1-4 at the Stephens Convention Ctr. in Rosemont, IL. Hope to see you there, where we can share other good news!

My friends call me …

Do you have good news to share? Write to me at yolanda.simonsis@penton.com.


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