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Trending Upward Proactively

Last month I asked in my editorial, “Are We There Yet?” I proceeded to report my experience at a recent association meeting where attendance was somewhat down although the quality of the meeting remained, as usual, of high caliber. One of PFFC's readers shot off a message to me with his own personal experience.

“While I wasn't at the AIMCAL [Assn. of Industrial Metallizers, Coaters & Laminators] meeting, I did attend the EMA [Envelope Mfrs. Assn.] and the FTA [Flexographic Technical Assn.] meetings within the last month; but I can report the two meetings I attended sounded very much like your report of the AIMCAL meeting. Lower attendance, some doom and gloom, some wishful hoping for better times in third and fourth quarters, and in each case a presentation by an economist predicting a very slow recovery from this unprecedented recession. Kind of hard to report a very positive outlook from any of these meetings. All I can say is ‘Not yet, but hopefully in time to save all of us.’”-Larry Clayton, VP, F.L. Smithe Machine Co.

While it may be true that economists most recently have been holding to a fourth quarter turnaround — which for some seems like an eternity away — FTA's guest keynoter on May 3 at Lake Buena Vista, Florida's Coronado Springs Resort gave me reason to feel hopeful. Yes, Professor Jeff Rosensweig of Emory Univ.'s Goizueta Business School conformed to prevailing thought by predicting the economy would “bottom out in October/November.” And yes, he predicted we'll reach only a 1% growth level for 2010. But that's plus 1%! This actually represents 4% or 5% growth from the-4% GDP for the Q1 2009 period! To me, this represents very good news. Still more good news, he said our biggest materials price hikes are behind us, and some job markets, including education and health services, are actually trending healthily upward. Most important of all, Rosensweig resolutely projected the US will remain the “safe-harbor economy” for continued and future investment.

On top of this, on May 27, Gail Marks Jarvis of the Chicago Tribune reported that consumers are feeling more hopeful about the future even if, in fact, they're not doing better. Despair, she says, is turning to hope and helping to stabilize the economy and fuel the stock market.

So if the recessionary doldrums still are being manifested at your workplace, know that improvement is ahead. This month's exclusive research on Critical Trends will identify where our industry has experienced its most challenging struggles, but in agreement with Rosensweig, the report also indicates converters are experiencing less cost pressure for materials. And three-fourths of respondents plan to add or expand products or services. Yet another 19% have increased investment in R&D to secure their future. The moral? Be proactive!

My friends call me…

What proactive efforts are you taking to secure your company's future?

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