Agency Helps Fife Manufacturer Compete Globally

July 2009
Economic Development Board for Tacoma
Pierce County
Teamwork Newsletter

Competing on world markets can present unusual challenges for American manufacturers.  Just ask Lisa Chissus, president of Cascade Plastics, which produces plastic parts in its Fife plant.

“There are situations where quotes for the molded parts from off-shore competition have matched the material costs for us,” she says.  “We can only conclude they are being subsidized by their governments.  We adhere to environmental and safety standards required in the United States, whereas our global competitors do not face the same requirements.”

As a result, Chissus—whose company’s products are sold domestically as well as internationally—sought help from the Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center, a federal program set up to assist American businesses to improve their competitive position in international and domestic markets.  The Center bears half the costs on certain projects.

Cascade Plastics obtained help with two projects, one involving staff training and the other an upgrade of the company’s website that included greater exposure in search engines.  “For example, you might be studying how to mold a plastic part.  If you go to the domain  it will explain the benefits of molding in the United States, and includes a link back to our company website,” Chissus says.

The Center helped the company a lot in its efforts to compete internationally, Chissus adds.  “It was worthwhile; so much so that we are looking at using them again for continuing training on lean manufacturing in our company.”

For more information, check out the Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center at or call 206-622-2730.

Reprinted with permission

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