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Q & A Exchange

September 27, 2000
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Questions and answers in the adhesives sealants industry.

Question: We often use epoxy putties in our marina to make various repairs, but some of our workers are concerned over potential hazards associated with handling these putties as they knead them together to a uniform color as indicated on the instructions. There is also a concern over the odor some workers have noticed. What can I do to assure I properly protect my employees from any potential hazards associated with such materials? I really don’t want to discontinue their use, as we’ve been really happy with the results.

Answer: These epoxy putties have been on the market for many years. However, you are correct in wanting to protect the health and safety of yourself and your employees. As a first step, you should make sure you have up-to-date Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on these and any other chemical products you use in your operation. These can be easily obtained directly from the manufacturer or supplier, and can be mailed or faxed directly to you. There is likely a contact on the packaging materials.

The MSDS will contain any information regarding hazards associated with the material and will also provide recommended handling procedures for you and your workers to follow. The MSDS will also contain important information regarding spill and cleanup procedures, and these forms should be available in a clearly marked and convenient location for all affected employees to reference. In any event, you may want to provide suitable gloves to those employees actually handling the epoxy putty. Many epoxy compounds can be skin irritants. The MSDS will contain specific recommendations on such matters.

-BOB SMITH

Question: I am considering linking my small adhesives business to one of the many Internet-based “communities” that have sprung up recently. However, there are so many and they all say they are the best for me. What criteria should I use to evaluate the best options for my business?

Answer: You are certainly correct in that there are many Internet-based communities today, and likely more will emerge in the future. The selection of the right Internet-business strategy — or whether to participate at all — is an important business decision and should not be taken lightly. The real key to answering your immediate concern is to first determine what you want to accomplish by participating in this new venue for the adhesives industry. The options are almost limitless, and new elements are constantly being offered.

Certainly, the most basic Internet strategy would be to simply offer your company information online. The other end of the extreme would be to develop a complete, integrated e-commerce offering, where customers could be located, orders processed (from order entry to shipping to tracking), credit checked, and payment made. The potential is almost limitless. Of course, the commitment and costs escalate as you move up in sophistication, but today, you are really not participating in electronic commerce if you merely have company directory information on a Web site. The business world is quickly moving to fully integrated, Web-based, informational, transactional and service-driven approaches. The whole process, however, must begin with you determining what you want to accomplish with an Internet presence. There are a number of firms that can assist with this entire process.

-BOB SMITH

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