An overview on Plastribution’s ‘Understanding the Polymer Supply Chain’ Conference 5-6 June 2018


Plastribution’s recent ‘Understanding the Polymer Supply Chain’ Conference took place on 5-6 June 2018. This was the 3rd ‘sharing of experience & expertise’ forum that has been held since 2015 and with 18 delegates attending, the largest gathering to-date. For the first time, the event was held in the idyllic surroundings of Coombe Abbey Hotel in the Warwickshire countryside; an ideal choice that provided splendid isolation (along with limited mobile phone reception – good for some) to enable full immersion into the complexities of the polymer supply chain.

Presented by members of Plastribution’s upper-echelon management team and supported by presentations by representatives of key European polymer producers, the main objective of the conference was to help delegates understand the twists and turns of the polymer supply chain and the key factors that affect changes in polymer supply and pricing – an enormously complex topic, but one that Plastribution, as the industry’s leading go-to resource, feel well placed to tackle (if the cap fits, wear it!).

For Plastribution, the end result – loosely based on the maxim …“we don’t know what people don’t know” – was for all delegates who attend the course, irrespective of polymer supply chain previous knowledge and experience, to be better equipped to make positive strategic decisions on behalf of their businesses.

From the off, the ensuing gallop through the vagaries of the petrochemical industry, its history, terminology and economics, provided an immersive journey that few delegates would have had any great knowledge or understanding of (they do now). With initial presentations coming from Managing Director, Mike Boswell, Commercial Director, Katherine White, Technical Manager, Dan Jarvis, and Commercial Manager, Duncan Scott, delegates were receiving a seamless delivery of knowledge-based information that covered a range of topics and technical insights. And as a benefit to those on the receiving end (and their stamina), it is worth mentioning that none of the presentations were scripted, or dull lectern note-based performances, being instead free-flow, engaging deliveries from people who certainly know their stuff accompanied by informative, professional slide decks.

The first day culminated with drinks in a private bar and a hosted dinner in the hotel, during which conversations (& wine) flowed and acquaintances were created and cemented. This part of the proceedings is usually a key part of the course, allowing everyone to get to know each other (bonding) and, in this digital age, good old fashioned face-to-face networking to take place.

Day 2 got underway with guest speakers taking the floor in the shape of Mischa Andriessen, from Ducor Petrochemicals, and John Rea, Managing Director, Radici Plastics (UK), both of whom gave highly informative, excellent accounts of their companies, the material(s) they produce and the current (market) status of their operations. Plastribution say that the importance of having speakers from their supplier network at this conference cannot be over emphasised as their input provides delegates with a valuable and impartial supply chain insight from a producer’s perspective.

The morning continued with technical and supply chain presentations from Dan Jarvis, an insight on ‘green (renewable) polymers’ and feedstocks by Duncan Scott and concluded with very useful market updates from Katherine White on polyolefins and Pete Tillin, Product Manager – Engineering Polymers, on engineering polymers. Following lunch and farewells, delegates left the venue for their homeward journeys, clutching an ‘executive’ goodie bag of prized Plastribution giveaways, hopefully more the wiser and certainly better prepared to take on the complexities of the polymer supply chain in their own working environments.

The date of the next conference is yet to be confirmed. To be notified once a date has been agreed, contact Duncan Scott at duncan.scott@plastribution.co.uk.

To conclude, why should companies send their senior purchasing and strategic management personnel on this conference?

Plastribution say…

  • Knowledge is key. The sharing of its technical ‘know-how’ is a fundamental element of Plastribution’s commitment to service excellence and this is reflected in the training courses available and the depth of the content covered. Aimed at advancing the knowledge and skills of its customers’ process technicians and production, commercial and supply chain management, the courses are free and very well received.
  • Plastribution has delivered a range of courses over the last 15 years. Over 500 individuals have attended their courses from approximately 100 different companies. As the UK’s leading distributor, Plastribution places a high premium on its course structure and delivery. Delegates can therefore be assured of receiving high levels of valuable content in a professional and fully hosted setting that is entirely appropriate with learning, engagement and interaction.
  • At the conference, delegates will receive presentations on:
  • An introduction to the Polymer Supply Chain • How economics can help us understand the polymer industry • Brexit and what the future holds for the UK polymer Industry • Polymer economics • Essential monomer building blocks • Engineering and commodity polymers – current market status • Supply chain management • Green polymers and feedstocks – questions on sustainability

“In an increasingly competitive global plastics market, we are obliged to make our contribution to training a world-class UK plastics workforce.” Mike Boswell, MD, Plastribution