A new breed of distribution company for the specialty chemical market


A group of chemical industry executives with a combined 30 years of experience have announced the creation of Viachem Ltd., Plano, TX. Mike Efting, president, and Darwin Simpson and Gene Sabatier, Board members, say this producer-centric chemical distribution company offers its producer partners new approaches to increase sales and achieve superior customer satisfaction levels.

Viachem sets itself apart from other distributors by signing exclusive agreements with producers of specialty chemicals in the coatings (including adhesives and sealants), personal care, pharmaceutical, plastics, electronics, and compounding industries. The company offers inside sales processes that help these "producer partners" reach untapped geographic markets and expand penetration into niche and under-served segments to complement (not compete) with the producers' current marketing and sales channels. Viachem also provides its producer partners with proprietary market intelligence to support sales efforts across the board.


"Viachem's new model offers specialty chemical companies a new and highly cost-effective means of increasing market share," Efting said. "Our distinctive strategies maximize the number of sales contacts we make and complement producers' direct sales and channel initiatives."

Efting says a Viachem inside sales specialist will use the phone and Internet to make more than 4,000 sales contacts annually, as compared with an outside sales specialist who can make fewer than 800 sales contacts each year. Thus, these employees fill the gap that is found in traditional distribution. The company hires technically trained salespeople who understand the chemistry they sell and the industries they service, and can help with formulation. By working on the inside, they are able to cover a large customer base, allowing them to hone their expertise and become more efficient, he says. Each specialist represents a small number of products.


The company also has market developers who gather market intelligence to be shared with the respective producer partners to help better serve their markets and grow their business. Market developers qualify sales prospects using Viachem's proprietary research technology, allowing inside sales specialists to more effectively focus on target markets or segments, which falls in line with Viachem's partners' goals.

"Our goal is to know a lot about a smaller number of products," Efting said, "because of the needs of chemical specialty producers. The customers who buy the products look for people to help them with formulation ideas or to work with their lab folks and help with developing new products, especially in the adhesives and sealants industry."

Viachem gives these employees extensive training on specific product lines. They are then equipped with a state-of-the-art customer relationship management (CRM) technology called Salesforce.com to track and note details on prospects and customer accounts. What's more, Viachem producer partners can access this valuable customer information at any time online.

Viachem's targeted approach and technology means end-use customers receive superior service. Customers are given ready access to sales staff equipped to provide timely answers. Additionally, customers can download important documents such as MSDS, COA and technical data from Viachem's website.

Viachem builds its business on the understanding that a distribution partnership can only be strong if it delivers returns for both the producer and the end-use customer.

"We are the only distribution company that will offer complete end-user visibility that includes buying trends, emerging markets and problems customers need to solve, all of which can help improve the producer's product line and bottom line," Efting said.

The company currently has nine warehouses around the country, and supply lines in Asia and Europe. Many of the products will follow the traditional method of shipping directly from the producer.

"We're talking to a few folks in Europe right now," Efting said, "but most of our contacts at first will be focusing on North American producers."

The company currently has six employees, and plans to have 15 by year's end.

Viachem recently announced its first producer partner, Clarus Specialty Products (see sidebar). Located in Rock Hill, SC, Clarus is a supplier of specialty waxes and oils used in the manufacture of adhesives and coatings, among others things.

"We're in the process of working with additional producers, and will be making those announcements over the next few months," Efting said. "We're not a company that's going to have 100 suppliers; we'll be a company that has 20-40 suppliers over the next couple of years."

About the Company

Viachem Ltd. was founded in March 2006 by Mike Efting, president, and Darwin Simpson and Gene Sabatier, Board members. Efting has more than 20 years of experience as a senior executive in the chemical industry. Among his leadership positions, Efting developed business strategies and sales processes at Univar (formerly Van Waters & Rogers) that propelled growth both for the company and the major chemical producers it served. Darwin H. Simpson is a former president and CEO of Van Waters & Rogers, the largest chemical distributor in the United States and Canada. Gene Sabatier has more than 37 years of experience in the chemical industry, which includes time spent as president of Vopak North America, where he was responsible for the marine terminal business throughout North America.

The company's goal is to provide unique distribution services that are in demand but not being met. It builds exclusive arrangements with its producer partners and becomes an extension of their sales and marketing departments. Viachem's new distribution model uses inside sales specialists to better serve existing segments and open and expand new markets.

For more information, visit http://www.viacheminc.com .

SIDEBAR: First Producer Partner Announced

Viachem Ltd. recently announced its first producer partner, Rock Hill, SC-based Clarus Specialty Products, a supplier of specialty waxes and oils used in the manufacture of adhesives, coatings, candles, and cosmetics.

"I have great confidence in [Viachem President] Mike Efting, and I believe the Viachem model will work well for my company," said Rich Rebholz, president and managing partner of Clarus. "We've had great success introducing our products into select markets. We anticipate that Viachem will immediately extend our geographic reach. The exclusive nature of the relationship, and Viachem's commitment to supplier communication, will allow our organizations to work more cooperatively than traditional distribution models."

"The Viachem process is optimized for the sale and distribution of specialty chemicals, and targets continuous growth," Efting said. "We know the issues that confront specialty chemical producers, and are committed to maximizing their sales and delivering customer satisfaction levels that are the highest in the industry."

About Clarus Specialty Products

Clarus Specialty Products LLC was formed in March 2004 by a group of executives from the specialty petroleum industry. The core business is the marketing of refined petroleum products, namely paraffin and microcrystalline wax, process oils, and various function-specific blends. Clarus caters to a range of industries, with a primary focus on hot-melt adhesives, chewing gum (gum base) and candles. For more information, visit http://www.claruswax.com .