Team 1 Plastics is pleased to periodically feature Guest Bloggers to share their perspectives of the plastics industry on Plastics Pipeline. We thank today’s Guest Blogger, Troy Nix, Executive Director of Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP).
1. Please share some background about MAPP as an organization and your role in it.
The actual concept of MAPP began well ahead of its official incorporation in August of 1996. During the two years prior to becoming a formal organization, I actually worked for an economic development think tank and was involved in an experiment that was to focus on the prospect of positively impacting an industry by connecting its leaders. Within 18 months of bringing some of the brightest business minds together in the plastics processing sector, a push to form an organization that would be run by processors for processors was put into motion.
During the summer of 1996, I was fortunate to work with business leaders who volunteered to create a vision and develop a strategic business plan for MAPP; a plan that involved connecting leaders to learn from one another through networking, benchmarking, and solving common issues. I now refer to these leaders as MAPP’s founding fathers! After some work to obtain funding, I opened up the MAPP office on April 1, 1997, and hired its first employees.
These founding fathers, MAPP’s first members, were instrumental in setting the course of the organization and some are still active members to this day, over 20 years later. Most importantly, this group of small business leaders who were true entrepreneurs left their entrepreneur spirit embedded into MAPP’s DNA; this spirit was alive and well during many difficult times in working to survive in the early days.
Many don’t know this, but MAPP changed its name from the Mid-America Plastics Partners in 2006 to the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors to address concerns that organizations outside of the mid-west couldn’t join. After our name change, the start-up of Plastics Business Magazine, and the rollout of our first interactive website in 2006, the organization began experiencing and continues to experience positive growth. Today, MAPP is the largest grassroots organization in the United States plastics industry, serving nearly 450 member companies and representing an estimated 70,000 employees.
2. How can/does MAPP help a plastics processor? Please share some specific examples of ways that MAPP has assisted companies, such as Team 1 Plastics.
MAPP’s mission is to enable leaders within the plastics industry to achieve new levels of success. MAPP is united in the belief that American plastics companies can compete and win if we help each other understand today’s best practices. The association is driven to provide cutting-edge resources and paradigm shifting information to significantly strengthen our members. We do this by providing relevant and timely benchmarking reports year round, as well as webinars focused on best practice sharing, plant tour events, best practices awards, and our annual Benchmarking and Best Practice Conference – the largest annual processor-focused event in the industry.
Team 1 was able to experience best practice sharing during its own plant tour event that it hosted in 2015 for over 40 MAPP member executives. In fact, over the years, Team 1’s executives have engaged with MAPP’s programs and services and have worked continuously to tap into the intellect of the entire MAPP network to position itself to be one of the country’s leading suppliers of parts and components to the US automotive industry.
3. How does MAPP support the plastics industry in whole?
Envision, if you will, running a plastics manufacturing company and having a significant problem and functioning alone, on an island all by yourself with nobody to turn to for help.
Now, envision running that same company having a significant problem and functioning in a large community of people with thousands of years of combined manufacturing, management, business, and leadership experience who are there to help you.
Whether you need to urgently find raw material, fix a critical machine, or solve a problem, where would you rather be?
The vision and principles of MAPP are that when one company becomes better, the improved organization helps to uplift the industry. We operate under the concept that “the rising tide raises all boats!”
MAPP works to uplift our members, providing them with tools and resources for them to strengthen their effectiveness and profitability. We connect them to others, help them benchmark their company, reduce their costs, and build their resources. We feel that the success of our members translates to the success of the industry as a whole.
4. What else would you like to share?
As the leader of MAPP over about the last quarter century of my life, I’ve learned some very valuable lessons about business and about life.
One of my most valuable takeaways is that really successful people are successful for good reason and not by happenstance. In communities such as MAPP, these reasons are uncovered, they are exposed, and they are purposely brought to light so that others may benefit. While learning and growing, the student becomes the teacher, the teacher becomes the student, and the circle of business improvement and personal enhancement continues endlessly.
For the first 12 years of running this business, I just wanted to sell memberships and grow the network. Now, I want to find people who truly understand the community concept, get them linked and completely involved so the circle described above can continually speed up for all to benefit.