At a basic level, distributors facilitate the sale and delivery of products between suppliers and end users. In the adhesives and sealants sector, distributors represent various chemicals and raw materials producers in order to get those materials into the hands of formulators and manufacturers. Some distributors also represent manufacturers of the finished adhesive or sealant products.

This traditional relationship has existed for decades, and it works for a lot of companies. It’s pretty simple and straightforward: you can simply fax over your monthly order to the distributor and wait for the usual delivery of the same commoditized material you’ve used for years. No muss, no fuss. For some applications, truth be told, that might be all you need. However, it’s also like taking the Maserati out of the garage to go to the corner grocery store. The car can certainly get you there, but you’re seriously missing out on myriad amazing performance features.

Today’s distributors truly offer a wide-ranging breadth and scope of services designed to help companies in the adhesives and sealants industry take their businesses to the next level. One example can be found in Univar Solutions, a company that strives to build relationships with supplier companies and customers that go way beyond a simple delivery service.


Recent Growth

Though Univar has been in business for over 90 years, Univar Solutions is a relatively new entity. Last fall, Univar Inc. announced plans to acquire Nexeo Solutions, Inc. in a transaction valued at around $2 billion. The companies combined as Univar Solutions following the deal’s close, which occurred in March 2019.

“This transformational combination is designed to create the premier global chemical and ingredients distributor, with exciting opportunities for our customers, suppliers, employees and investors,” said David Jukes, Univar’s president and CEO, in the original announcement. “By combining the best capabilities, talent, and resources from our two companies we will be even better equipped to deliver superior customer service and expanded value to our customers and supplier partners.

“We expect to leverage Univar’s leading e-commerce and digital capabilities across Nexeo’s financial systems and centralized ERP platform to accelerate the digital transformation already underway at Univar and reduce costs, while enhancing the ease of doing business.”


Building Relationships

Univar Solutions considers itself a solutions provider to the companies it works with, according to Brian Herington, chief commercial officer. The company aims to develop relationships in order to discover exactly what the supplier or customer needs, and then suggests or creates technologies and services to meet those specific needs.

The company’s capabilities range from formulation and product development to custom blending, packaging/repackaging, sustainability services, and much more. In addition, Univar Solutions offers the suppliers it works with services such as data sharing, logistics aggregation, and market intelligence support.

Herington is particularly enthusiastic about the digital offerings Univar Solutions can provide, beginning with simple-to-use e-commerce capabilities. Gone are the days of faxing or phoning in an order; customers can visit the company’s website 24/7 and take advantage of a range of product sourcing and informational features. Capabilities include functionality such as real-time tracking and unlimited access to account data and product information.


Go for a Spin

Partnering with a distributor can help companies in the adhesives and sealants industry capitalize on myriad next-generation technologies, services, and growth opportunities. If you’re not developing your relationship with your distributor to its fullest, why not take it out for a real spin and find out what it can do?

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