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Blizzard Shuts Down Cities and Opens Doors
When a late-January blizzard created whiteout conditions and pummeled Northeast states with more than 2 feet of snow in one weekend (Massachusetts had the most with 38 inches), Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney declared a state of emergency and even activated the National Guard in case rescues or coastal evacuations were required.
John Campedelli was back to work on Tuesday, two days after the blizzard. “The schools are still closed,” said the purchasing agent for the Boston-based distributor Atco Supply Co. “You have to work hard because you’re really two days behind on orders, and people need their ice melt and shovels to dig themselves out.”
Atco Supply is one of several jan/san distributors that have benefited from diversifying their product offerings to include shovels, gloves and other outdoor equipment.
“We do a lot of business with contractors of all sizes, and many of them have branched out to do snow removal, so we have to supply the new items they need,” said Barbara Casse-Bender, president and owner of BCB Janitorial Supply, Hackensack, N.J. “They started out cleaning buildings, then they added some landscaping and mowing lawns. The next step is snow removal. After all, no one needs you to cut their grass in December.”
Most contractors that do snow removal get their ice melt orders in well before winter, but every once in a while a brutal storm comes that no one can predict, says Casse-Bender.
You’re buried in more ways than one,” she says. “Even if you do preseason selling which we do a lot of with this kind of snow, people are running out of supplies faster than we can get them out the door,” she says. “It has gotten so bad that we’ve told several customers that we have what they need, but we can’t get out to make a delivery, so if they can come to us then we’ll sell them the products.”
Orders for seasonal items, such as ice melt and rock salt, can skyrocket during a blizzard, but there can be negative consequences as well, says Robert Mandala, president of Alco-Chem Inc., an Akron, Ohio-based distributor. “We once calculated that it cost us $1,000 per day when schools are closed not just in Akron, but around the region,” he says. “Ice melt sales are good, but that doesn’t compensate for the chemical and detergent sales that we could be making to the schools. When they’re closed, they don’t buy.”
When customers do come in for ice melt and rock salt, BCB Janitorial attempts to sell other related products by placing scrapers, shovels and similar items in the same area. Customers almost always end up leaving with a few more items than they originally intended.
“They come in for ice melt, but then they see the scrapers and the orange gloves a lot of the plowing is done at night, so you have to have reflective or blaze orange clothing and they pick those up, too,” says Casse-Bender. “It’s just like when people come in to buy a bucket wringer. All my employees know to load up that customer with a mop, a mop handle or some floor chemical, too.”
K-C Announces Profit Decrease for 4th Quarter
Kimberly-Clark Corp., Dallas, a manufacturer of paper products and other jan/san product lines, recently announced that the company’s fourth-quarter net profit slipped from $459.5 million in 2003 to $445.3 million.
Sales, however, rose 8 percent to a record $3.9 billion, which the company attributed in part to the weaker U.S. dollar stimulating sales outside the United States.
CCP Increases Polymer and Resin Prices
As of February 1, Cook Composites and Polymers (CCP), Kansas City, Mo., one of he largest producers of coating resins, has implemented a 5-cent increase (per pound) for acrylic solution resins, acrylic emulsions and polyester-based coating resins.
ISSA Membership Voting
Voting ballots for the International Sanitary Supply Association’s (ISSA) bylaw amendment to expand the association’s existing membership to end users have been sent out to member distributors and are due back by February 22.
G-P, Disney form Alliance
Georgia-Pacific, Atlanta, an international manufacturer of paper products, recently announced a 10-year strategic alliance with Walt-Disney Parks and Resorts. According to the agreement, all of Disney’s family entertainment destinations will feature G-P’s line of tissues and towels.
The agreement includes marketing and promotional rights for both parties, as well. G-P will also have access to attraction sponsorship and an on-site promotional presence at Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort and Disney Cruise Line.
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONSMemphis Chemical and Janitorial Supply Co., Memphis, Tenn., recently announced a business partnership with Corporate Express, Broomfield, Colo., a business-to-business (B2B) supplier of office and computer products.
Memphis Chemical is now the chief jan/san supply channel for Corporate Express’ STAR Consortium Alliance, the company’s national network of suppliers.
Under the terms of the agreement, which went into effect in November 2004, Corporate Express and Memphis Chemical will combine strengths to help customers meet supplier diversity purchasing goals.
Harper Brush Works, Fairfield, Iowa, a manufacturer of brooms, brushes and cleaning products, recently announced the acquisition of a 50-acre manufacturing site and 377,000 square-foot facility in Greenville, N.C., where it will eventually employ up to 250 workers.
Sanitary supply distributors must post a summary of the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred during 2004, as required by U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) regulation on Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.
Under OSHA regulations, manufacturers and distributors of cleaning products and other employers with more than 10 employees are subject to the record-keeping regulations.
Employers must post the summary of job-related injuries and illnesses (OSHA Form 300A) from February 1 until April 30, 2005, in a conspicuous place where notices to employees are customarily posted. The summary must list 2004 job-related injuries and illnesses that were logged on the OSHA 300 form. Employers that have no recordable injuries or illnesses are required to post the form with zeros on the total line.
The OSHA Form 300A must be certified by a company executive and signed and dated by the preparer. The company executive who certifies the annual summary must have a position that meets certain criteria. Click here for copies of the OSHA record-keeping forms.
The International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) has announced that its State Phosphate Survey is now available. “Approximately half of the states in the United States have enacted phosphate restriction laws, and it is crucial that companies that manufacture, use and sell cleaning agents and detergents understand precisely what the restrictions are and how the various state laws differ,” said an ISSA legislative representative in a recent press release. “The ISSA State Phosphate Survey aims to provide some guidance in this area.”
A complimentary copy of the ISSA State Phosphate Survey may be obtained by contacting Dan Wagner or ISSA at 800-225-4772.
Merger and Acquisition Activity Up in 2004
Mergerstat, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based M&A research firm, recently reported a 40-percent jump in mergers and acquisitions for small- or mid-market companies (those worth up to $500 million) in the first three quarters for 2004, compared to the same period for 2003.
Equity valuations surged ahead by 68 percent, and almost 3,400 new mergers and acquisitions were reported in the 2004 period, says the Mergerstat report.
“Low interest rates and a healthier economy have fueled the rise in activity,” according to the February ismsue of Inc. magazine. “It didn’t hurt that large numbers of both buyers and sellers have crowded the field.”
New York Governor Signs Green-Product Mandate
New York Governor George Pataki signed Executive Order #134 in early January, mandating that all state agencies procure and use environmentally preferable cleaning products. Specifically, the Executive Order states that “all state agencies shall procure and use cleaning products having properties that minimize potential impacts to human health and the environment consistent with maintenance and effectiveness of these products for the protection of public health and safety.”
The mandate became effective immediately on the day of its signing, January 5, but state agencies have six months to complete the full transition to purchasing full lines of environmentally friendly, or “green,” cleaning products. The six-month transition time was implemented so that end users can be trained adequately, and so that existing cleaning products can be used up.
New York’s Office of General Service (OGS) is set up by the Executive Order to be the main procurement authority for the state. However, OGS is directed to work with the commissioner of the Department of Health, as well as the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. The commissioners and OGS will provide consultation and guidance to all state agencies for product procurement.
Jan/San Industry Left Out of IAQ Policy Planning
The important role of cleaning and maintenance was excluded from an indoor air quality (IAQ) conference sponsored by the U.S. Surgeon General and the National Institute of Health (NIH) in late January.
The NIH/Surgeon General’s conference, “Workshop on Healthy Indoor Environment,” reportedly shunned jan/san IAQ experts because they say there is a lack of concrete research linking cleaning with the health of building occupants.
Dr. Jonathan Samet, a participant at the conference and a professor in the department of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, said that the cleaning and maintenance of buildings would have been discussed at the conference if pertinent data was available. Samet urged the jan/san industry to collaborate its efforts with other industries and to provide funding for future research into this topic.
However, several organizations and individuals, such as the U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, D.C., and Dr. Eugene Cole, a microbial remediation expert from Brigham Young University, have conducted research that shows a link between cleaning and public health. The University of Arizona and the University of North Carolina both devoted significant research to the cleaning-health relationship.
“Cleaning and building maintenance have been proven to have an important impact on the indoor environment and on the health of those living and working in those buildings,” said Jim Harris, a founder of the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI), Albany, NY, a new organization created to promote industry guidelines.
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