Antti Koivisto in CHEManager International
Line Products as a Growth Market
WeylChem Works with Growth Models that Start with the Customer
The WeylChem Group of companies consists of seven operating and two R&D sites in Europe and the USA as well as the global sales and marketing platform, WeylChem International.
The Group provides services in the business segments of advanced intermediates, custom manufacturing and care chemicals on a global scale. In addition, WeylChem Innotec offers services in the fields of analysis and synthesis. Birgit Megges asked Antti Koivisto, head of the Advanced Intermediates business unit, about the development of the division and the strategies for its continuous growth.
CHEManager: Mr. Koivisto, advanced intermediates are chemical products in regular production that are not manufactured exclusively for one customer. How is the business developing and which products are currently in particularly high demand?
Antti Koivisto: We have been able to capture growth in the Advanced Intermediates business over the recent years through intensifying the dialogue with our customers. Nevertheless, I trust we can still noticeably grow as long as the product offering matches the market need. This also requires regular revision of production assets and possibly investing in added capacity. But capacity expansion is only one thing. If we can also produce smarter, flexible, more efficiently and have the most optimized portfolio we will be at the top of the game and able to react faster to changes in demand on a global level.
The global demand is currently on a high level for all our major products with growing interest in some of the exciting new application areas, like for our high-performance polyether polyol Velvetol, to be used for example within footwear, industrial coatings and ink-jet formulations. Expectedly, the demand will also continue to grow for all sustainable bio-based applications, where we are already partnering with customers with products like glyoxylic acid in addition to Velvetol. Furthermore, some of our cornerstone products such as glyoxal, the coupling reagent Allessan CAP, which is frequently used in the pharmaceutical industry, our oxidation products and chlorine derivatives family continue to positively contribute to the success of our business.
How is the line product business currently positioned?
A. Koivisto: Quality is the key. We are positioned as a trustworthy quality supplier on the market, which is also repeatedly confirmed by our customers. We also know that the reputation and appreciation towards our technical know-how is on a high level. Together with a well-functioning supply chain, this provides us the license to operate as well as a solid foundation for further improvements.
However, the results of an extensive customer satisfaction study showed that some elements such as timely response, communication and true partnering with customers were lagging behind a little. Sometimes it was mentioned that we were too much focused on internal processes. Unintentionally shifting the highest priority away from the customer centricity and starting to “overengineer” internal processes instead is not an unusual phenomenon, and I have already witnessed this a few times in my career in different organizations. I feel we have now a healthy combination of both processes to deliver the improved customer experience.
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