Friday, June 12, 2009

R&D in the slow economy

Glass companies have been forced to make some drastic and painful cutbacks during this recession. However, one business area that has remained fairly unscathed during the downturn at most glass companies is research and development.

According to the May 19 e-glass poll, only 21 percent of respondents reported cutting R&D during the slower economy. Forty-seven percent said their activities had stayed the same, and 32 percent said they were increasing activities. The industry as a whole will greatly benefit from this collective innovation, and the individual companies dedicating themselves to R&D will come out of the recession poised to gain market share and stand apart from the competition.

“Research and development can be expensive, there is no denying that. But without it, your business, as well as the products or technologies that you provide, would grow stagnant. Without R & D you could even be missing out on new opportunities in industry sectors that are still thriving,” wrote Courtney Wilson, consultant at Northbridge SR&ED Consultants, in a March article.

Glass companies investing in R&D could receive an additional boost from the federal government, if a recent proposal from the Senate Finance Committee goes through. The committee, in a move to further support companies’ R&D efforts, unveiled new legislation June 8 to make it easier for companies to receive the R&D tax credit, according to a same-day article from RTTNews.

"In this global economy, research and development by American companies is critical to our economic recovery and the long-term global competitiveness of our country," said Max Baucus, committee chairman, who sponsored the bill (D-MT), according to the article.

So, what are some of your R&D activities at your company? Post a comment, or e-mail me at

Katy Devlin, commercial glass & metals editor, Glass Magazine

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