Operations in and out

As we continue to refine and fine-tune Modern Plastics, we have added another section to the magazine that we hope will help you better manage your plastics operations. In addition, we have launched an electronic newsletter, called E-Update.

It''s our belief that there are three basic stories you will read in Modern Plastics. There are the traditional technical articles that explore new materials, processes, machinery, and applications. These are normally found in Tech Trends, Material Thoughts, and Product Watch. The topics covered in this issue include automation strategies, selective laser sintering, and flexible die ring technology for extrusion.

Then there are the stories that address the larger issues at work in the plastics industry, everything from recycling regulations in Europe to trade policy in the United States to emerging market growth in Asia. Such stories are normally found in World Tour and are intended to help you better understand the local, regional, and international forces that are shaping the plastics industry. This month, World Tour covers plastics'' role in the evolving appliance market in Japan, the state of affairs in a recovering plastics industry in Serbia, and a closer look at the U.S. federal government program that helped Nypro set up a new facility in Russia.

The third type of story, in contrast to the second, focuses on the issues you face every day inside your own facility. Such articles range from information technology management to personnel management to effective marketing strategies. Last month we added a new section to the magazine that''s designed to feature such stories. It''s called Modern Executive and this month features a story on managing different cultures in a plastics facility and another on how ERP has transformed a hot runner manufacturer.

I think of it this way: World Tour focuses on topics that shape the plastics world outside your walls; Modern Executive deals with issues you face inside your walls. I hope you find this addition to Modern Plastics a helpful and intriguing one, and I look forward to your comments.

Further, if you have ideas for stories you think would be appropriate for Modern Executive—or any other section, for that matter—I hope you will let me know.

E-Update

As you know, the bulk of the stories you read in MP are intended to provide in-depth analysis of issues facing the plastics industry today, along with strategies for meeting those challenges. However, we also cover, in a more abbreviated form, news stories, and we feature those in First Look each month.

Our challenge, however, is that with two senior editors in America, three in Europe, and one in Asia, we almost always have more news than room in which to print it in the magazine. To accommodate this wealth of material, we have launched a monthly e-mail newsletter called E-Update. In it we will feature breaking news unearthed by our editors, highlight stories from the current issue of MP, and preview stories coming in the next issue.

If we have your e-mail address, and if you have authorized us to send material to you, you have probably received E-Update already. If you haven''t received E-Update and want to start, just click on the "Subscribe to E-Update" button on the left side of the homepage, enter your address, and we''ll send you the next issue. If you want to see what you''ve missed so far, click here.

Best of all, the newsletter is free of charge, and you don''t have to be a subscriber of the magazine. We hope you enjoy it.

Jeff Sloan, Editor-in-Chief jsloan@modplas.com

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