The conference's kickoff breakfast speaker was Richard Paullin, executive director of the International Trade Association of Greater Chicago. His talk, "The Global Trade Outlook," discussed the dramatic changes that the United States has made since September 11, and how these changes will impact importers and exporters. He also examined the outcomes of the recently concluded fifth World Trade Organization Ministerial. His words touched on a growing trend that was mentioned over and over by attendees to the convention - industries are moving overseas. No longer are U.S.-based companies primarily manufacturing their products locally; instead they are moving production facilities to China and other international areas due to lower labor costs.
Every conference session I attended throughout the three days was very well attended and, in some cases, standing-room only. And the interest in the sessions was such that the people did stand. Formulators and end-users alike gathered to attend such session topics as "New Applications and New Technology," "Hot Melt in Assembly" and "Advances in the Characterization and Application of Novel Polymer Technologies for Sealants and Adhesives."
The Wednesday-morning end-user panel, sponsored by ASI and chaired by our publisher Sue Love, featured five speakers discussing end-user perspectives on adhesive selection and use. Mike Suchocki from Tekra Corp. spoke on how sales and customer service departments can help to foster a partnering relationship with their customers. This can lead to a better product, a more satisfied customer and more sales for the supplier.
Don Robinson, Deere and Co., presented "Chemical Management Services as a Sourcing Strategy: Transitioning to Centralized, Third-Party Outsourcing of Materials," an overview of how Deere and Co. is working to outsource the procurement of chemicals and related materials.
"Challenges for the Industrial Identification Markets" was explored by Kevin Machan of Tailored Label Products. He provided an overview of the challenges associated with meeting the needs of industrial OEM markets.
Gus Fenton, director of Quality Assurance and Product Development at CNS Inc., discussed how CNS's Breathe-Right nasal strip works and the challenges associated with adhering a material to the nose. Kristin Godbey, 3M, followed his presentation with "Medical Tapes 101: A Short Course," examining adhesive coated medical devices.