IADD members from the die manufacturing and converting camps see similar opportunities and challenges ahead.
By Susan Friedman, Editor
Talk about an industry with a bunch of one-track minds. A new diecutting/diemaking industry survey, jointly developed by the International Association of Diecutting and Diemaking (IADD) and packagePRINTING, reveals diemakers and converters hold largely unanimous opinions on the current business climate.
Diemaker and converter respondents from the label, flexible packaging, folding carton, and corrugated market segments see bright spots on the immediate business horizon, punctuated with a relentless need for increased production efficiencies and a strong loyalty to existing diemaking arrangements and operations.
An edge on expectations
When it comes to assessing business prospects, a wave of feel-good vibes washed forth from both diemakers and converters. Nearly three quarters—69 percent—of diemaker respondents expect growth to continue in the next 12 months.
Some chalk up their upbeat predictions to converters' positive outlook, as well as continued expansion of end-user businesses, such as CD packaging. Converters' ever-increasing technical knowledge is also working in diemakers' favor. "Due to increased awareness of converters, quality tooling should take a larger share of the market," comments Clint Medlock, president of Stafford Cutting Dies, a provider of rotary and flatbed dies which largely serves the corrugated segment.
Other diemakers are geared up for growth with new accounts, increased capacity, new plants, equipment investments, and/or bolstered sales staffs and marketing efforts. One diemaker sums up his positive growth projections for the packaging market in one word: opportunity. Another indicates growth will be centered in rotary dies, as they continue to appear more often in new machines on the market.
Diemakers with a less-rosy outlook for 2001 express concern over the slowing economy and industry consolidation. One notes the potentially negative impact of die quality improvements. "Better quality materials and better quality manufacturing equal less repairs and too much supply," he writes.