Or at the very least be inspired.

Or at the very least be inspired. I was inspired when I read Matt Naitove’s On-Site cover story this month on Dynamic Molding Technologies (Dymotek), a processor owned by two brothers in Ellington, Conn. I was inspired by Matt’s lead in the article, in which he outlined Dymotek’s business philosophy: “We take existing products or manufacturing processes and try to make them better.”

I was inspired when I read that the molder considers itself “a very science and technology oriented company.” I was inspired when Matt quoted the molder’s v.p. of engineering services, Victor Morando, as saying Dymotek sends its people to many technical conferences “and travels the world looking for the best technology.”

Please read this article. Then read it again. Just read the headline a third time: Refine, Redesign, Retool: Re-engineering as a Business Model.

There is a lot to learn from this story. The article is about a company that doesn’t stand still, that regularly reevaluates itself as it seeks to seize new opportunities. It is about a company in which learning not only is part of the process, it helps drive the process.

In the North American plastics processing marketplace, I worry that too many of us have stopped learning. With a few exceptions, conference and trade show attendance has been off considerably. I realize that it costs money and time to attend a three-day conference or trade show. We’re still feeling the impact of what’s been dubbed The Great Recession. But think for a moment, what is the cost of not going? When we stop learning we stop growing. And when we stop growing we risk becoming prey to someone or something bigger, stronger, smarter, or more innovative.

I’ve spoken in this space quite a bit about change. About how we need to do it. About how we need to embrace new ways of doing things. I’ve spoken specifically about how for decades we’ve allowed ourselves to lag behind Europeans in the acceptance of automation and other technological innovations. I think we’re paying a price for lagging now.

Then there’s China. Attendance at this spring’s Chinaplas Show was reportedly in excess of 81,000, more than 17% above 2009 attendance levels. I realize that comparing the North American plastics processing market with China’s falls somewhat short of “apples-to-apples,” but the evidence is strong that Chinese molders, extruders, and other processors have an aggressive thirst for knowledge. I’d hate to thinks ours has been quenched.

I’m looking forward to this fall’s K 2010 Show in Dusseldorf, Germany. (Matt has another article in this issue on p. 13 uncovering what one major supplier will be showcasing.) I’m looking forward to finding out how many North Americans will cross the ocean and spend thousands of dollars on tiny hotel rooms to get access to the best the world can offer in plastics machinery, materials, resins, and processing know-how. I hope there are a lot of “us” there, looking at new tools and techniques to help expand business…and get inspired.