28 years of service to the plastics industry

1988 - 2016

 

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Download the BPF Buyers
Guide to the PCN
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Buyers Guide

Why use the PCN?

More and more successful companies are today shedding their peripheral activities enabling them to concentrate on their core expertise, and when they need up to date specialised knowledge, they call in the acknowledged experts - professional consultants.

And when the expertise required involves plastics they call in the best available - from the Plastics Consultancy Network.

Consultants form a vital part of any management team, a valuable resource that can be used whenever required and without the significant overhead cost of full-time staff, they are a variable and controllable cost, used only when required, and need never become an overhead.

There are few businesses today that are not exposed to global influences. The Plastics Consultancy Network has members throughout the world and individual members can tap into pools of knowledge to provide both global and local solutions to major or local issues.

Our focus on the plastics sectors involves us in sharing the knowledge and information generated from many years of experience in all areas of the polymer businesses. Our commitment is to helping clients find effective solutions, actively, quickly, creatively and at minimal cost.

PCN members work as individuals or in project teams, the Network exists to enable your project, however large or small to be accurately directed at the most appropriate consultant.

What is the PCN?

The PCN is a professional network of the best independent plastics consultants in the world:

  • Every PCN member is an independent, highly qualified and experienced plastics consultant. Membership is controlled and is restricted to professional consultants - it is not available to people who are simply ‘between jobs’.

  • Every PCN member has a proven track record in plastics consultancy and years of experience in industry. They can bring this experience to your company at a fraction of the cost of hiring in-house resources.

Selecting a PCN member consultant guarantees a professional response to a professional’s need.

The one stop shop for all you need to know about plastics - from the experts

Driven by your needs

Every market is under price pressure and it is not surprising that many companies are recognising the need to reduce overheads and fixed costs. They are seeking to replace fixed costs with variable resources which are used and paid for only when required.

Professional companies use professional contract resources for a range of services ranging from legal to security services to reduce overheads and fixed costs. Controlling and reducing these allows companies to get in front of the trend and leave the competition behind. Reduce your costs now before they reduce you!

Plastics consultancy is no different.

Expert knowledge is available on a contract basis from members of the PCN to reduce and control costs. There are no overheads or fixed costs when you use PCN consultants.

PCN Members provide an ideal answer to your needs for expert assistance. They provide:

  • The highest quality variable cost services and resources.

  • Services that are designed specifically for the plastics industry and at a fraction of what it would cost to provide the same resources within the company.

The PCN is the future for plastics companies in today's marketplace.

You pay for results as you need them

Project management and teams

Running a major development project using many the different skills that are not available in-house can be difficult and dangerous. Using a PCN member as a Project Manager can provide the high level skills you need at minimum cost.

Select a PCN member with the right skills as a project manager and let him put together a professional project team with all the skills to meet your needs. Project costs can be fixed at the start of the project and at the end of the project the team can be dissolved with no residual costs.

Projects will be delivered on time, on budget and with no overhead costs.

Contacting the PCN

Tapping into this level of skill has got to be difficult, hasn’t it? No, it isn’t.

To contact any member of the PCN simply:

  • Go to ‘Consultant Selector’.

  • Select the area you need help in.

  • Choose a possible consultant from the list.

  • Check that the selected consultant has the required range of skills.

  • Contact the consultant direct from the Web Site!

If you are unsure of the exact needs then use the ‘Query’ link to send a query to the PCN.

If you want to discuss your possible needs then contact the PCN Chairman (Dr Peter Cox) by email on: drpeter.cox@virgin.net.

The role of the consultant in the plastics industry.

Background

During the buoyant 1980's there were many people in the plastics industry who were offering their services as consultants. Their success, if at all, may have been due to the fact that expanding companies were having difficulty in finding staff to cope with the rapid expansion experienced by most plastics related organisations in the UK.

Unfortunately, some of the consultants who worked during this period were neither experienced, nor well equipped to carry out many of the commissions that they had accepted. As a result, consultants as a group were often regarded as being an expensive luxury, and sometimes of doubtful benefit. Furthermore, clients often disregarded the consultant's advice, since in a boom time it was still possible to remain in business in spite of the company's apparent inefficiency.

In 1988 the UK Plastics Consultancy Network (PCN) was formed to provide clients with a network of bona fide, qualified and professional plastics consultants. The PCN is a method for potential clients to choose an appropriate and experienced individual consultant or to quickly gather together a team of experienced people to undertake tasks that were too large or time-consuming for the individual consultant. The typical PCN consultant has many years of theoretical as well as practical experience, which is instantly available to potential clients.

The PCN celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2008, and has been affiliated to the British Plastics Federation for the past 16 years. The PCN also has links with the Plastics and Rubber Advisory Service (PRAS), where it offers extensive consultancy expertise services to inquirers. It also has overseas members in the USA and Europe and is expanding the network throughout the world.

The changing workplace

The world-wide and UK recession that started in the late 1980's is now a thing of the past but the confidence of the 1980's is unlikely to ever return. The commercial and industrial landscape has changed forever. Most companies who traded successfully through the recession found that they were acutely short of experienced and senior staff as they began to expand into the 1990's. Their uncertainty meant that they were reluctant to take on additional full-time senior employees until they were totally convinced that the economic climate had strongly improved. In the late 1990's the trend is towards low numbers of "core" staff and increasing numbers of contracted and results oriented staff.

It is interesting to note that consultants and experienced freelance staff are already being used extensively in other industries. It has become far easier for consultants to work at a distance from their client's office with the rise of personal communications, the Internet. The trend towards "home-working" as an acceptable alternative to office based means that even large companies have effectively "contracted out" many of their core services.

This is one of the main reasons why the independent qualified plastics consultants find many companies contacting them. They can expect more demand for their services, because technology in the plastics industry is developing very quickly, and this is another sound reason for considering a part.

The skill areas

The current members of the PCN can work in all of the following disciplines.

  • Materials and design - additives & property modification, analysis, materials selection, product design, product engineering, tool design and sourcing.

  • Processing - All the plastics processing methods, such as injection, blow moulding, extrusion, thermoforming, rotational moulding, welding etc are covered.

  • Secondary Operations - finishing and decorating, testing, welding and fastening.

  • Commercial - environmental and recycling, expert witness and legal, export & import, legislative and regulatory, marketing and market research, mergers and acquisitions, strategic planning and forecasting, technology transfer and licensing.

  • Markets - All major markets sectors.

  • Other skills - Authoring, benchmarking, degradation, literature and patent search, project management, training, translation, trouble shooting, web site design and manufacture.

The cost savings

Technical and development appointments, as well as most middle management positions within the plastics industry cost from £35,000 per annum upwards, and that is before other payments such as company cars, NI charges, pensions, and of course day-to-day expenses. A PCN consultant is a only paid when required, on a "day by day" fee basis, or alternatively on an overall job fee basis, which is agreed before the project commences. Therefore the client is aware at the beginning how much it will cost and overheads are reduced.

Consultant's charges are often much lower than generally believed, and quotations are available for consideration before each project commences. Consultants are particularly useful to small and medium sized companies, who do not regularly employ technical staff.

A fresh mind applied to a problem often accelerates the solution.

The future

Qualified consultants are here to stay. This is mainly due to the fact that methods of trading have changed dramatically and these changes will oblige manufacturers to alter their methods of operation.

At the PCN, we see the role of the PCN consultant expanding with clients and consultants effectively working together for their mutual benefit.