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This is the type of data Gardner currently collects for its overall manufacturing index. These are the results of the December survey, to which close to 700 subscribers to Gardner publications in metalworking, plastics, and composites responded. While there was no plant size category that showed growth, the results were split between small and large plants. The rate of contraction was much faster for plants with fewer than 50 employees than it was for plants with more than 50 employees. When it’s launched, The Plastics Processing Index will have the same type of information specific to plastics processing.
Since December 2006, Cincinnati-based Gardner Business Media (the parent company of Plastics Technology) has published a monthly business index for the metalworking industry in our sister publication, Modern Machine Shop (MMS). This index is based on reader responses to the same type of questions and survey methodology as are used by the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) or the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI).
While many companies involved in manufacturing rightfully play close attention to the ISM or PMI indices, Gardner’s Metalworking Business Index has an advantage in its analysis of the very specific type of manufacturing in which the subscribers of MMS are involved.
I am pleased to say that beginning in the second quarter of this year, we will be launching a Plastics Processing Business Index based on a similar model. The survey will be conducted and the index prepared by Steven Kline, Jr., Gardner’s corporate director of market intelligence.
The index will be based on survey answers to questions on matters concerning:
•Future business expectations.
The results will be interpreted in the same way as the Metalworking Business Index: A reading above 50 indicates growth, while a reading under 50 indicates contraction.
We started compiling the relevant data on plastics processing in December 2012. A subscriber at every plant for whom we have an email address was sent a link to the survey, which only takes a few minutes to complete. Similar emails went out in January and this month, and by the second quarter we should have enough data to start identifying trends.
I know you probably get a whole bunch of emails every day. Please look out for this one. Data is golden, and the more response we get to our monthly effort, the more value this data will have for you and your business.