Recent market conditions have not only forced our industry to take a reality check, but they’ve prompted the PMMDA (Polymer Machinery Manufacturers and Distributors Association) to do the same too. The association, originally formed in 1966 by eight founder companies, set out to agree a range of standards for both UK manufacturers and distributors of foreign machinery and to prevent a proliferation of exhibitions. Fast forward forty plus years and with fewer than 40 members, it was clear that greater strength in numbers was needed to give us a better chance of being heard. The PMMDA therefore joined forces with the PPMA (Processing and Packaging Machinery Association) in 2010 making a combined total of 400 UK equipment manufacturers and distributors all with common goals and challenges to overcome.
A powerful group of associations, including vision, robotic, processing and packaging equipment suppliers, as the newly appointed chairman of PMMDA, it was clear to me that a united front would result in greater benefits for our members; increased networking opportunities, cross fertilisation of ideas and, most importantly, a louder voice in Westminster with which to lobby government for support for the UK plastics industry and manufacturing as a whole.
Our recent alliance with the PPMA has been controversial for some and an inevitable sign of progress for others. A subtle re-branding process, has enabled the association to retain its own identity yet benefit from a fresher logo, new marketing materials, a regular newsletter and a new website, resulting in more attention from prospect members and buyers than ever before. As in my own organisation, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag, I’m sure most member companies have been through their own personal reality check, reminiscing on the days where over 1,000 injection moulding machines a year were sold into the UK. Yet the UK still remains a strong and an innovative global supplier, particularly in the medical, automotive and high tech markets, and for us all to forge ahead in these markets, it’s advantageous to use a trade association and its services to help raise a business’s profile.
A new profile-raising opportunity for PMMDA members and industry alike is the annual PPMA Group Industry Awards. Amongst the 10 award categories, which celebrate manufacturing capabilities and achievements within all facets of the industry, including robotics, vision, processing and packaging equipment, there is an award for Polymer Equipment Manufacturer or Distributor of the Year. Free for members and industry to enter by mid-March, the ceremony will be held on 4 June 2013 alongside the Total Processing & Packaging Exhibition (NEC, Birmingham) and is a great way to receive free publicity, heighten brand recognition and show thanks to staff and partner organisations.