INSIDE VIEW '13: Chem distribution forms key link in supply chain

03 January 2013 21:02  [Source: ICIS news]

By Chris Jahn
National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD)

Editor’s note: US chemical industry association leaders were given the opportunity to express their views on the challenges and opportunities for 2013.

In business schools around the world, students examine what makes a company successful.  They research ‘best in class’ corporations, seeking to understand what elements of an organisation’s strategies make it different, better, unique.  Many times, results show these market leaders are not radically different from their peers, but rather have made important adjustments to the organisation’s operations to catapult their results above and beyond the norm. 

Recently, at the 2012 National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) Annual Meeting, I was listening to one of our keynote speakers, Peter Sheahan of ChangeLabsTM, who reinforced this message.  He said that leading companies develop their success strategy, not from innovative research or drastically different ingredients.  Rather, they look deeper into their own data, their own operations, and their own capabilities. In doing so, they make critical changes based on what they already know how to do and do it better.

These same concepts are exactly what make chemical distributors so good at what they do, day in and day out.  They are uniquely qualified to understand both their suppliers AND their customers. Daily, they work to meet the needs of both ‘customers’ while enhancing each other’s businesses.  Additionally, they are nimble organisations, adapting and flexing where needed. Sheahan also said the most successful companies are those who bridge the gaps, who identify the opportunities where others can’t see them.  This is a prime example of how distributors bring value to their business partners.  Chemical distributors are the ones with a broad lens, who can connect the dots to help a supplier identify new markets needing its product, or conversely, to help a customer modify an ingredient to improve the efficiency or strength of their product line.  By working together with its industry colleagues, distributors continue to drive value and efficiencies through the supply chain.

In 2013, we will see great opportunities for the chemical distribution market.  As more industries in the United States continue to grow and rebound, NACD members will be there to support them. 

Watchful Eye on Congress

NACD’s members have much to be proud of in their operations and safety record. They continue to lead the industry with fewer incidents than their industry peers and are more than twice as safe as all manufacturing combined. NACD will continue to press forward with advancing Responsible Distribution, our bedrock program for environmental, health, safety and security.

While doing so, NACD members are very mindful of the ever-changing regulatory and legislative environment that they operate within.  NACD and its membership will continue to proactively reach out to the new Congress and its many freshmen Congressmen and Senators to help educate them about the value our industry brings to their constituents and communities.  With more than 150,000 direct and indirect jobs created by our industry and operations in all 50 states, NACD’s outreach will stress just how many other industries their operations impact and how safely they operate.

To continue to grow and create more jobs, NACD’s members need regulatory certainty. We are concerned about corporate tax reform, modernisation of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and reauthorisation of Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS). 

In 2013, NACD and its members will work with Congress to understand the true impacts legislation will have on our industry and the 750,000 companies the industry sells to. For it is only with a pro-business environment that we can continue to create jobs, drive innovation and support the U.S. economy.

Regulatory Support Enhancements

Additionally, NACD is enhancing its support of our members' compliance needs from a regulatory perspective. The staggering increase in regulatory initiatives impacting our members’ operations is unprecedented.  NACD staff is working to ensure our members have the resources and information they need to meet all of these challenges headfirst.  

After the elections of last November, we believe the regulatory environment will continue to be challenging to navigate and it will be more important than ever for NACD to work collaboratively with the agencies ensuring they too understand our industry and the impacts that overregulation has on our members’ businesses.

Critical Links

While legislative and regulatory pressures will abound in 2013, I am still bullish about the value our members bring to the supply chain to create innovation, efficiencies, products at the right time and in the right quantities to enhance our way of living.  NACD will work to advance the mission of chemical distribution with all of our industry partners and will actively promote the safe record our members have worked so hard to achieve through Responsible Distribution.

In 2013 and beyond, NACD members and affiliates will continue to create critical links ensuring consumers have access to innovative and safe products while protecting the security and integrity of our operations, our employees and our communities.  

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