The resin producers, filled with capacity and seeming to suffer the burden of tariffs imposed by our government, went on a whisper campaign. They told every person they sell, “hey, you are my best customer, I am going to give you 3 cents off, but the pricing really isn’t down, it’s only for you – you are special, no one else is getting this special deal.” Since they did this for everyone, the assumption was the pricing fell 3 cents. When the major indexes came out and reflected the 3 cent decrease, the resin companies screamed, “How can you guys tell everyone we gave you 3 cents off, that was only for you!” Trying to make rhyme or reason of this resin market logic is like getting a chicken biscuit from Chick-fil-A on Sunday. For all of you who aren’t familiar with Chick-fil-A, they are closed on Sunday, so ordering a fresh delicious, buttery chicken biscuit on Sunday is impossible, which by the way is the only time I desire one.
My prediction for a decrease did come true but I am afraid it was short-lived. I guess, I am Nostradamus, I always tell people that there will be 3 things for sure in the resin market, we will have increases, decreases and sometimes, it will be flat. I have to do this now since I no longer offer psychic readings over the telephone. I do feel that buoyed by the higher oil prices and the growing demand due to a flourishing economy, you will see them hold on, desperately for a higher price in the market and will continue to push for the increase in October to go through for another 3 cents but I think they are pushing a little too much. It’s not good to be a jive turkey so close to Thanksgiving. For all our younger people out there, look up the term “Jive Turkey” – or watch some episodes of The Jeffersons.
Last month, I reviewed the complicated relationship with paper and the OCC or PPI indexes. We seem to have more increases in our raw material and it’s only because they can get away with it. It is true, paper is becoming scarce and it’s supply-side cost increases are being driven by fewer players that control output. However, I also see that greed has pushed the pricing up and up.
I argued with my Father when I was younger, I made a passionate plea for an Official Red Ryder carbine action 200 shot range air gun. I made a painstakingly logical appeal, I laid out the foundations of being armed to protect and defend my Sisters and Mother while he was away wherever the Army sent him. At the end of my appeal to him, I was told, “NO” and I asked why was it a “NO”. He said, “because I said so”……..and there you have it, that is the answer and relationship we have with our paper suppliers. It is because they say so. Also, something about shooting my eye out.
I know the economy is booming. I have so many blessings that I have to pull my socks off now and use my toes to count. When I espouse how different we are as a company, it truly is because of the culture we created. In so many ways, it has allowed us to have the success we’ve had because along the way, some of you “get us”. At Alliance Plastics, we always felt like we were the rebels. We always feel like we are fighting the conventional ways but we are tempered with humility to respect the past.
I have lived through struggles on personal and business levels. We have survived bad partnerships, bad management, and even bad customers. Through it all, I can say the one thing that helped keep me going was when I looked around at the people around me, my true support team, the family at Alliance Plastics. These fine people had the same resolve in their eyes as I had, and when I second-guessed myself, they came to rescue me and pick me up and they gritted their teeth and told me, “we got this!” As the leader of this wonderful, motley group of rebels, it gave me extra strength and comfort to know, I don’t always have to be the strong one. What a great group of people we have here and even our team members that have left and will leave in the future, they go leaving us with treasured memories and lifetime friendships.
I also talk about how we are a little bizarre here, we love our sense of humor and our desire to change a somewhat boring industry and a desire to keep asking, “WHY?” Why do you have to do it that way? The words I hate most, and I hear echoes of it in my own plant, “we’ve always done it that way!” We are constantly striving to bring something new to this industry and try to stop those words from coming out of any of our teammates here.
I have often cited the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs for his many attributes. He was a perfectionist, he was demanding and really, he suffered from a righteous arrogance. However, when he asked himself early on, “if today was your last day, would you want to be doing what you’re doing?” In his famous commencement address for Stanford, Jobs said, “The Whole Earth Catalog, when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words “Stay hungry. Stay foolish”. It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay hungry. Stay foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
Because we always feel like we are fighting the good fight, we always stay hungry and when needed, we stay foolish. I find these simple words, great words to live by. A friend bought me a framed picture with the words, “Stay Weird” for my birthday. I hope that when I run my course, I can leave with you all the following words to live by, “Stay Weird and Dare to Be Different.”