Packaging | 3 MINUTE READ

Walmart V.P. of Merchandising Execution & U.S. Manufacturing Featured Speaker at the Show's Plastics Market Briefing

Marsiglio addressed Walmart's policy roadmap to renew U.S. manufacturing, including policy recommendations that support the plastics industry at IHS Markit/PLASTICS briefing. 
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Cindi Marsiglio, Walmart vice president of merchandising execution and U.S. manufacturing headlined the half-day plastics market industry briefing yesterday, hosted by global business information provider IHS Markit and PLASTICS, where she addressed Walmart’s policy roadmap to renew U.S. manufacturing, including policy recommendations that support the plastics industry.  

Marsiglio is responsible for delivering on Walmart’s $250 billion commitment to increase sourcing of U.S.-made products through 2023—a time that coincides with a period of unparalleled growth and prosperity for U.S. plastics producers. She manages a centralized team in Walmart U.S. Merchandising and also leads Walmart’s merchandising communications, supplier administration and supplier-inclusion efforts.

Marsiglio joined Walmart in 2007, after working for the Florida Chamber of Commerce and serving as a Deputy Secretary for the State of Florida’s Department of Management Services. She has more than 20 years of government, retail and manufacturing experience, and is a graduate of Florida State University. She is actively involved with Walmart’s Women’s Officer Caucus, the Presidents’ Inclusion Council, WAL-PAC, and is an executive board member of the Florida Retail Federation.

“We are delighted Ms. Marsiglio joined us at the NPE industry briefing since Walmart is the world’s largest retailer, and her comments are of great interest to many of the 65,000 producers, molders, designers, engineers, buyers and other industry professionals who are attending attend the show,” a PLASTICS statement said.

“Walmart has made a tremendous commitment to expand its U.S. product sourcing and that commitment is very exciting for U.S. plastics manufacturers who are eager to continue to invest in U.S. jobs and leverage the windfall of price-advantaged polyethylene being produced domestically,” says Nick Vafiadis, VP of plastics for IHS Markit.

In addition to Marsiglio’s discussion of Walmart’s merchandising strategy and U.S. sourcing, the industry briefing featured an in-depth look at the global economy presented by Perc Pineda, chief economist, PLASTICS. In addition, Vafiadis and the team of IHS Markit plastics experts provided an in-depth market outlook for the key plastics including PE, PP, PET and engineering resins.

Willem Sundblad, CEO of Oden Technologies, gave an update on the current Industry 4.0 technology, which now enables plastics manufacturers to quickly and easily collect and analyze data from existing machines and sensors, enabling them to monitor all valuable metrics, together, in real time. He discussed the solutions that exist to help increase operational efficiency and value, and presented specific examples of how this technology can help processors improve production, eliminate waste, and make better products for their customers.

Says Vafiadis, “The global PE industry, which is the world’s most-used plastic, has experienced an unprecedented record run of prosperity. Global demand for PE has been robust and integrated margins have remained at elevated levels for several years, despite record new additions of cost-competitive capacity being added in North America and elsewhere. It is this robust demand growth, combined with production constraints, that continues to drive tight PE margins, but one of the questions we explored during the briefing is how long this wave of prosperity will last.”

According to IHS Markit, global demand for PE in 2017 totaled more than 96 million m.t. (212 billion lb), with demand in 2018 expected 100 million m.t. (220 billion lb). By 2022, annual global PE demand is expected to reach 120 million m.t. (265 billion lb). What Vafiadis finds so amazing is the rapid pace of change, in terms of PE demand growth. “In 1999, global demand for PE was 50 million m.t. (110 billion lb) per year and by 2017, demand exceeded 96 million m.t. (212 billion lb). That is an astounding rate of PE demand growth and China is the key driver of that growth. China accounts for about 60 percent of new global demand growth for plastics resins such as PE.”

The rapid growth of online shopping trends, along with China’s recycling ban on plastics trash, are helping increase the demand for virgin PE material, Vafiadis says, but other influencers are also playing a key role, which his team explored during the briefing.

“The issue of sustainability is perhaps the most critical influencer for the plastics industry as a whole, both today and in the future. Many communities across the globe are exploring plastic bag bans, but marine waste is an issue that the industry must take a leadership role in addressing because the industry has learned it must be a cooperative, multi-organizational approach that brings all the stakeholders together to solve such a very complex problem,” Vafiadis says. “Based on our discussions with industry leaders, that challenge is something they are committed to addressing.”