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A Chemical Change

Posted: October 26, 2006

Somewhere in the U.S., a chemist working for an ethnic hair care company is looking for better sheen from a hair spray product under development. Sourcing specialty chemicals and having access to people who understand what the chemicals can do to achieve the desired results are challenges chemists everywhere encounter every day.

A strictly inside sales model designed to offer producers new approaches to increase sales and improve customer satisfaction levels can be added to the arsenal of those who market specialty chemicals to the beauty industry.

End-user Benefits

Viachem Ltd. has introduced a distribution model that employs chemists as technical sales specialists. These sales specialists know their products well and can help customers achieve the results they’re looking for in their formulations, according to founder Mike Efting. Efting and board members Darwin Simpson and Gene Sabatier average more than 30 years of experience each in the chemical industry. Their new model also uses trained inside sales specialists to better serve existing segments and open and expand new markets for specialty chemical producers.

Specialty producers selling to personal care know there is a large number of customers they can’t get to themselves, requiring the use of reps and agents. This has proven difficult to do consistently on a nationwide basis, said Efting, who set out to “plug the holes and gaps” that he knows exist in current distribution models from his own experience in that side of the business. He spent 21 years with Van Waters & Rogers, an industrial chemicals distributor, where he founded ChemPoint.com—the company’s Web-based e-commerce business. After leaving ChemPoint.com, Efting was president of e-Chemicals, a business-to-business Internet chemical exchange. Most recently, Efting was CEO of Quadrem, an e-marketplace for mining, minerals and metals. He is a frequent speaker on the subject of the Internet and its impact on supply chain management.

Efting puts the annual value of U.S. chemical sales at $1 trillion, with $100 billion of that coming from specialty chemicals. According to the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD), some $18 billion of U.S. chemical industry sales are through chemical distributors.

Supply Chain Reaction