Editorial: Predicting the future

October 31, 2002

As we reach the end of 2002, it seems appropriate to reflect on the year behind us and look forward to the year ahead. The first issue of this magazine for which I take credit or blame was the January/February 2002 issue. It has been a rewarding year. Readers have welcomed our concept and our efforts. All that is good, but it is looking backwards. Now we look toward the future.

While the direction of the economy and its impact on the plastics processing business is a deadly serious matter, it can help to take a lighter view of the business of predicting that future.

We know of at least three ways to predict the future, each of which offer equally poor results. The first is to use a crystal ball. But it?s been a tough year for crystal balls. At least one member of the plastics industry has been heard bemoaning ?My crystal ball is broken.?

Another technique is to use a dartboard. It is reported that a leading financial publication periodically chooses a portfolio of stocks by putting the stock listings up on the wall and choosing investments by throwing darts at it. If nothing else, the result is likely to be the oft-recommended diversified portfolio. Sometimes the dart-chosen portfolio even outperforms a portfolio chosen by esteemed investment advisors.

The third technique, apparently widely used in government circles, was brought to us by a prominent member of the plastics industry who shall remain unnamed. It involves gathering masses of data in whatever form available. After careful analysis of this data, highly placed personnel predict the future direction of the economy. The technique is known as SWAG, which stands for Scientific Wild Ass Guess. This technique has broad application in predicting sales, setting budgets, and so on.

In predicting the future, we like to get more favorable results than any of these three techniques provide. We find that if we stick to a few specific predictions, our batting average is really good.

Try these predictions:

  • The National Plastics Exposition will take place in Chicago in June 2003.
  • NPE 2003 will be held in McCormick Place.
  • Those who plan well will get better results from the show than those who don?t, whether as attendees or exhibitors. (PM&A will help you plan).

OK, it?s true that we?re not exactly going out on a limb. It is also true that we will continue to provide the best in plastics processing equipment coverage in the future. We need no crystal ball, darts, or complex data to predict that.

Happy Holidays, and see you in 2003.

Merle R. Snyder

Plastics Auxiliaries & Machinery


With this issue, we are officially changing our magazine?s name to Plastics Machinery & Auxiliaries (PM&A). This is not a very dramatic change from the former Plastics Auxiliaries & Machinery, and just one in a series of design changes made to the magazine over the past year under its new ownership by Canon Communications. The editorial mission is the same. Note that we are the only magazine highlighting auxiliaries in our title.

This magazine was originally launched as Plastics Auxiliaries. In due course ?& Machinery? was added, yielding the title Plastics Auxiliaries & Machinery. Canon Communications bought the magazine late in 2001, and retained the title until this issue.

Some readers will remember the important role that the no-longer-published magazine Plastics Machinery & Equipment served in providing information to processors regarding machinery and equipment. The current-day PM&A is in some ways a successor to that previous title.

PM&A continues to be the only North American new product tabloid magazine with the mission to inform you, our readers, about advances in the technology of machinery and auxiliaries needed to compete in today?s plastics processing business environment. And to increase the level of service to our readers, PM&A will publish nine issues in 2003, up from six in 2002.

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