For most processors, 2011 has been relatively good year. The Plante & Moran LLP survey results, which provided updated information through September 2011, show that year-over-year adjustments to productivity as measured by value-add per employee, the equipment utilization percentage, and gross profit margins remained consistent for the most part.
Jeff Mengel, one of the developers of Plante & Moran's North American Plastics Industry Study spoke about the "new normal" seen over the past few years. "As the economy was crashing around us in 2008 and 2009, it was difficult to identify trends that were permanent (new normal) versus those that were a reaction to the sudden drop in credit availability and consumer confidence," he commented in the latest report.
The 2010 survey provided Mengel with a "glimpse" of some of the trend breakers from the norm of prior years, but he added that, "It will still be years before we can fully grasp whether any of these trend breakers represent a 'new normal' or just a slow return to the old normal."...