Thermoforming Report

December Thermoforming Report: Reflections

by Keith Brown, President & Owner, Siena Group.

December 2022.

A not-so-surprising topic for this month’s Thermoforming Report: Reflection. Like most, I have business obligations that need attention at this time of year – did we meet our objectives? Why or why not? What are we working to achieve in 2023? And, because I am also part of the human race, I tend to think a lot about the past year personally too – in this case in light of a recent tragedy in the lives of some dear friends.

As usual, we have several great articles relevant to our industry and quite a few amazing All Stars to highlight! Check them out down below in the links on the right. We also have more extraordinary talent in the Featured Talent tab.

Look Back & Plan Forward

What Happened … and Where Are We Going?

It’s that time of year: Christmas music. Light displays on houses. Holiday parties. Travel to visit family. Lots of shopping… and eating. It is a wonderful time of year! 

Then there is your business. Work. 

Though a lot of companies have shifted away from the typical calendar year from a reporting and performance standpoint (utilizing a fiscal year that better suits the flow of the business), there are still a lot of things in the mix as we wrap up one year and head into the next. 

How do you do this effectively?!? 

And efficiently?!? 

I am not an expert and as I’ve stated in previous content, there is a TON of information out there on this topic – just visit your local bookstore in the business section!  However, I do want to interject my own flavor and thoughts on the topic given that I am in the process of doing this very same thing for Siena Group. 

Where to Start?

Hopefully, you’ve been tracking the right metrics over the course of the year. Data collection is never easy, and it doesn’t seem to matter what business you are in. Even with a robust MES or database in place, you still need to extract and analyze all that information to use it effectively. 

In fact, an entirely new career – the Data Analyst – was created to be able to collect and analyze all that glorious information in the Information Age.   

Now that you have all the necessary information collected, a full review of the annual targets needs to be done. 

  • Be objective and factual. No emotions. Here is where we ended up, here is what we wanted, and here is the variance – good, bad, or otherwise. 
  • Now sort them. Are there new metrics in play this year that are providing a key benchmark for the coming year? Where are the big misses? What about the big wins? 

The objective is to highlight those metrics with the biggest variances. With all of the information in place and sorted, it is time to reflect on the why. 


This is the point where you are using the information to determine how to adjust in the coming year. 

  • Were there external impacts that affected our ability to deliver our results (does anyone remember Covid?!?)? 
  • Were the problems strictly internal? Equipment failures, poor planning – or just the opposite with some excellent equipment results due to a few key Kaizens that over-delivered? 
  • What about people impacts? Did you bring on someone that was outstanding and made much bigger and faster impacts on the equipment or top-line sales or implement a new system? Or, did you carry someone on the margins that hasn’t been delivering yet you haven’t pulled the trigger and made a move?   

Again, this part of the process should be as focused on facts as possible. 

Everything is up for interpretation. We all bring our own paradigms into the mix. But, be discerning. Listen to your team. Ask the hard questions. As leaders, that is what we are tasked to do to ensure the business is growing in the right way. 

What’s Next?

With the whys in place, there needs to be an assessment of the market. This is where you get out your crystal ball [or this oneOr this one?]! There are so many variables – world economy, impacts from the war in Ukraine, lingering pandemic impacts, inflation, and on, and on, and on! 

Yet, in spite of all the unknowns, a plan must be created that is both realistic and challenging.   

One thing I learned a long time ago in my Kimberly-Clark Corporation days was the difference between an achievable objective and a stretch objective. Without getting too far in the weeds, setting stretch objectives tended to deliver better results than the incremental, “achievable” objectives. You may not get to that tough stretch goal, but setting these lofty goals enabled you to deliver above and beyond what you would have with just the incremental ones.   

With a new set of challenging and stretch objectives, make sure to review them with your team and/or mentors. Failure to follow this essential step only shortchanges what could be achieved. 

Doing things in a vacuum without someone else asking critical questions can lead to overly aggressive and unachievable targets or ones that don’t go far enough. Two minds are better than one – so use them! 

The Final Takeaway

As business leaders, team leaders, and individual contributors, we all must do our part to deliver results for the organization. Using our collective skills and experience, we work towards those stretch objectives, keeping them in front of us to constantly remind us of what we are working to achieve together.   

But we are more than just work, right? 

We are people with hopes and dreams and plans for our future. This time of year tends to bring all of that to light, reflecting on what was, what is, and what is yet to come. 

As I think this through, it is hard not to think about how blessed I am in my own ways. On a personal level, I have close friends that are grieving due to the recent devastating loss of a grandchild. That kind of anguish is so hard to endure! Yet, it brings us closer, urging us to lean on each other in these hard gut-wrenching times. It also brings into perspective how truly amazing it is to have what we have –the friends and family that surround us.   

So, as you wrap up this year, be sure to take the time to look back at the highs, the lows, and the in-betweens of 2022, and plan forward for 2023 to review, assess, and prepare your organization in your role for success. And, make sure to pause and enjoy those family and friends too! 

From everyone here at Siena Group and from our family to yours, we wish you all a very happy and joyful Christmas!  🎄

“In spite of all the unknowns, a plan must be created that is both realistic and challenging.

Keith Brown, Owner/President
  • Resin Report: PP, PVC Prices Fall; PS Buyers See an Increase. via Plastics News.
  • Market Insights on Thermoform Packaging. via Future Marketing Insights.
  • Resin Year in Review: Buyers and Makers Take a Wild Ride in 2022. via Plastics News.
  • US Plastics Forecast for 2023: Slow Growth, Widespread Volatility. via Plastics News.
  • Insights on Polymers, Pressing Issues, and What’s New from Plastic Ingenuity. via Plastics Today.
  • Six Archetypes of Underperformance + Three Improvement Strategies. via Harvard Business Review.
  • Executive Hiring Trends to Watch for in 2023. via TrueSigma.
  • Resin Price Report: Traditional Year-End Deals May Not Materialize. via Plastics Today.
  • Top US Polymer/Plastics Engineering Colleges. via Plastics Today.
  • BLS Employment Report – November 2022. via MRINetwork.
  • Building a Team ~ Anthopoulos-Style
    The art of building a team spans all aspects of life – from the baseball field to the business office. This article reveals how the brilliance of the team-building strategy of Braves’ General Manager Alex Anthopoulos relates to the essential ingredients of every business team. via Siena Group.
  • How to Amplify Your Company Growth: Creativity, Analytics, and Purpose
    Based on a ’21 McKinsey report, this article details how employing all three elements of the “growth triple play” can boost company growth exponentially. via CEO Magazine.
  • Adaptive Skills that can Secure Manufacturing’s Future
    This article unpacks the Manufacturing Institute’s report on addressing the talent skills gap through the lens of 8 specific adaptive skills. via Forbes.
  • Top 10 Thought Leadership Insights
    Covering topics that range from sustainability, supply chain, workplace well-being, and the metaverse, these articles address future-focused business insights. via Deloitte.

Plant Manager/Subject Matter Expert: This talented Plant Manager is a long-term thermoforming, extrusion, and film professional, bringing experience in food packaging and med device industries. A major plus: he’s willing to relocate!

Manufacturing Manager/Operations Leader: This highly-coveted, very strong, up-from-the-ranks Manufacturing Manager is a subject matter expert – both thin-gauge AND heavy-gauge – in the thermoforming process. Bonus: he is fully bilingual in Spanish and English!

Site Director/Operations Leader: This gifted Operations Leader is a multi-plant/large site Director-level leader with significant experience in highly complex thin-gauge thermoforming, extrusion, and injection molding manufacturing. Bonus: he is willing to relocate!

Sales Leader: This talented Sales Director is notably experienced in custom thin-gauge thermoforming with a significant amount of experience in med device packaging, bringing a wealth of industry knowledge and know-how to close new business, specifically with key strategic accounts. He’s willing to relocate!

Sales VP: This Senior VP of Sales Leader has tremendous strengths in custom thin-gauge thermoforming and experience in food packaging and med device packaging. Functioning at the highest levels and delivering exceptional results over the course of his career, he generates top-line growth, implements systems, and leverages technology to secure new business.

Senior Sales Leader: This Senior Account Manager Sales Leader brings over 25 years in total in sales, the most recent 10 in thin gauge thermoforming, and the last 3 focused exclusively on building a custom med device packaging business. He considers himself a very strong hunter, driving top-line sales growth.

Click for more All-Stars.

At Siena Group, we are your Thermoforming Talent Partner. With more than 30 years of experience in manufacturing, hiring & recruiting talent, we bring a greater understanding of the companies we partner with and the candidates we pursue. Let’s Strengthen Your Search!

Share our post with others

Love what you see? Share it with your connections now.