After a generally listless start to 2016, many of you are reporting more stable market conditions and steadier demand. You’re telling us that your businesses are improving in both orders and pricing. We’re seeing it, too. A handful of favorable conditions are now in play.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported manufacturing sector expansion for 3 consecutive months (after 6 months of contraction). Following 18 months of unusually low costs, oil and commodity prices have finally stabilized higher. Exports are also stronger as the U.S. dollar softens and concerns over China’s economic growth lessen. So, while inventories remain generally lower, factory activity is expanding and momentum is building. Most predict positive economic outcomes for the remainder of 2016.

Here at Laddawn, the new Laddawn.com continues to generate all sorts of positive buzz. In a recent survey, 4 out of 5 reported that it’s saving time and making life a lot easier at work. Since you so often work on multiple opportunities at once, you’re telling us that putting stock and custom items in multiple carts is super helpful. Better yet, thousands of you are using the share feature on a regular basis.

For many of you, Sharing has become the single most compelling feature on the new site. It has replaced the slow, manual task of getting items and pricing in the hands of those who need them most. Communications between your sales and sourcing staff are much more efficient.

You’re also telling us that Laddawn.com’s Markup Tool has got your attention. Setting customer prices by gross margin or markup is allowing you to share individual items or carts of items right from Laddawn.com with details and prices in a branded, professional format. Laddawn.com is speeding the flow of your business.

Finally, after 15–20% year-to-date increases in the cost of blown film grades of polyethylene, the market for resin appears to have stabilized. This summer, even as demand strengthens in the face of restricted supply, new capacity will come online. That’s good news for America’s packaging distributors.

On behalf of all of us in Atlanta, Boston, Cedar Rapids, Dallas and Reno, thank you for your business.

Ladd & Dawn