2023 Market Insights: Healthcare, Packaging and Sustainability

January 16, 2023 • Posted in Market Insights

In the latest issue of our Market Insights series, we’re diving into healthcare, packaging and sustainability. Josh Blackmore, Lindy Holland Resnick and Debbie Prenatt — M. Holland’s Healthcare, Packaging and Sustainability market managers, respectively — reflect on their markets’ last 12 months and offer predictions for 2023. Supply chain issues and balancing customer demand with available materials are two issues that impacted all three of these markets in 2022. Read on to see how M. Holland is responding and advice on how to have the most successful start to 2023.

Healthcare: Supply Chain Risk Mitigation

The broader healthcare industry continues to follow through on efforts to adapt to market challenges — i.e., raw material shortages — by reshoring manufacturing capacity and creating contingency throughout the supply chain. According to Josh Blackmore, Global Healthcare Manager at M. Holland, “We’ve seen many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) take inventory positions on plastic resins, so they have safety stocks for their various molders.”

He explained further that the trends in healthcare all centered around risk mitigation and a “never again” attitude so as not to face the kinds of life-or-death supply issues we’ve seen throughout the last two years. “Nearshoring molds and manufacturing plants, qualifying secondary resins, plus taking inventory positions are three examples of how the medical industry is attempting to remove supply chain risk going forward.”

For the past couple of years, healthcare has had to be reactive, but in 2023 Josh predicts the industry will start being more proactive again. “2023 will be the year we can get back to thinking about the future and creating new, next-level medical devices,” Josh said. “We learned we could ‘do healthcare’ remotely through telehealth, patient monitoring and smart devices. All these areas will see growth and expansion of newly approved medical devices.”

Healthcare also has suffered ramifications from the ongoing computer chip shortage, with many devices such as CPAP machines sold without chips that enable remote monitoring. Chip shortages should abate in 2023. Consumers have shown they are willing to pay for devices that track specific health markers. Josh expects OEMs to launch new products and developments to meet this demand. Josh also anticipates more companies working with distributors in 2023 who can carry inventory positions and still provide access to resin-makers’ technology.

So, how can those in the healthcare sector prepare for the coming year? Josh advises customers to put the things we’ve learned over the past three years to good use. “Managing price and volume volatility will be a full-time job in 2023,” he warns.

For more information about how M. Holland is working to meet the needs of the healthcare market, click here.

Packaging: Let Your Data Guide You

According to Lindy Holland Resnick, Packaging Market Manager at M. Holland, sustainability continues to dominate the conversation throughout the packaging market. “Worldwide brands are committed to sustainable materials in their packaging and are designing for recyclability,” Lindy said.

What do the next 12 months look like for packaging? Lindy predicts market competition will intensify and become more favorable to buyers despite a less-than-ideal economy. Inflation and a recessionary climate mean companies must find ways to add value or lower costs in single-use, multi-use and durable goods. “Spending time to hone your service levels and business case, in any stage of the supply chain, is of critical importance,” Lindy explained.

To position yourself for success in 2023, Lindy recommends focusing on what you can control, which includes the materials you buy and the goods you purchase. “Cash flow management is of the utmost importance right now,” she said.

Learn more about partnering with M. Holland on the Packaging market page.

Sustainability: Every Business Should Be a Sustainability Business

Sustainability will continue to be a primary focus across most industries. According to Debbie Prenatt, Sustainability Market Manager at M. Holland, sustainability was at the forefront at K 2022 in Dusseldorf, Germany, the largest plastics industry event. “Attendees were inspired to take ownership and action to address issues surrounding climate change and a circular economy,” Debbie said.

As for what we can expect in the coming months, Debbie predicts global policy and legislation will continue to drive recycling infrastructure. It will also influence product design, both for recyclability and material selection. Debbie anticipates seeing more collaboration with non-traditional partners to reduce greenhouse gases, landfill contributions, incineration and plastic pollution.

“Every company should have a sustainability program, regardless of size, especially as large OEMs and brand owners push their sustainable procurement objectives further down the supply chain,” Debbie said. As we begin 2023, it’s critical for businesses and processors to know the sustainability goals of their customers or OEMs and align with them accordingly. Responsible product design, sustainable material selection and the circular economy should be central to product development. Additionally, everyone should stay informed on policy changes and changing customer preferences, which can potentially impact plastics products and end markets.

See how M. Holland can help you meet your sustainability goals on the Sustainability market page.

Stay tuned for the next edition of the Market Insights series, when we’ll highlight the Automotive, Electrical & Electronics and Wire & Cable markets. If you missed part one, check out our advice and predictions for the 3D Printing, Color & Compounding and Rotational Molding markets here.

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