Ice Melt Shortage Possible
Winter began with a bang this season with cold temperatures gripping the majority of the country for much of December and heavy snows blanketing areas from the Plains to the Northeast. The snowy, icy and cold conditions may already have taken a sizeable bite out of ice melt supplies, especially in the Northeast.
Alby Frye, president of Bard Industries, Portland, Maine, said his company is having its biggest year ever in its 25 years of selling ice melt, but so far the company hasn’t encountered any shortages.
“I have not heard about any shortages,” Frye said. “But this is only December and before March, I think you’ll see possible shortages. I wouldn’t be surprised because we’re selling far more than we ever have.”
David Nagel, general manager of Maintenance Products Corp., Canton, Mass., said his company, like many companies, preordered trailers before the winter season began to ensure enough stock was on hand. In August, he ordered 20 trailers of ice melt. Last year, the company sold about 40 trailers by season’s end.
He believes this year will be comparable to most other years. Every year, there is talk of shortages of magnesium chloride, Nagel explains, as well as talk that ice melt isn’t coming in at the right times and there aren’t enough trucks to haul it.
“There’s always that going around, but somehow we’re always able to figure it out without bumping up prices too much,” said Nagel.
David Holtzman, president of TEC Products Co., Inc., Carteret, N.J., said the challenges he sees this season stem from Hurricane Katrina. The New Orleans-based acid supplier for one of the largest manufacturers of ice melt was knocked offline during the hurricane. This has strained other companies that were already allocating product.
“Most people have used up their December allocation and are working on January’s,” Holtzman said.
Add trucking issues, including fuel prices, to supply constraints, with the possibility of a continued snowy forecast, and that could spell a shortage.
While there is still available supply, Holtzman said there are several issues surrounding the trucking industry that could affect it. Many trucks are being used in hurricane-affected areas, and new federal laws have been enacted that limit drivers’ time behind the wheel.
“That is putting additional strain on the Northeast because we have heavier congestion, and since many of these trucks get paid per mile, they would rather be driving than sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic,” Holtzman said. “A lot of truckers don’t even want to come into the Northeast any longer.”
NEWS MAKERSCanada ‘Goes Green’
Canada’s government recently officially adopted the Go Green Comprehensive program, which sets standards for environmentally preferable management of office buildings.
The Go Green Comprehensive program initiative was launched in May 2005. Its purpose is to assess and establish benchmarks for buildings in several areas, such as energy, water, indoor environment and environmental management.
The program is administered by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA Canada) and is one of many initiatives that comprise Canada’s Project Green, a set of policies and programs aimed at promoting a sustainable environment, healthy population and competitive economy.
Customers Struggle To Find Pricing Info Online
Though industrial buyers visit the Internet for information on products more than twice as often as turning to offline information sources, their pricing needs are not being met by online suppliers.
This is the finding of a recent study sponsored by Google and ThomasNet.com, an industrial procurement Web site. The study found that 74 percent of buyers expect sites to provide product prices, but only 23 percent of suppliers list them.
Increase Expected For Flavor, Fragrance Sales
The Freedonia Group, Cleveland, Ohio, recently released a report that predicts that demand for flavors and fragrances will increase 3.5 percent each year through 2009, when sales are expected to reach $4.6 billion.
Freedonia expects to see an increase in many innovative air freshener products designed to control odors in living and working areas, which will increase the demand for fragrances.
Jan/San Marketplace To Get New Green Certification Standard
A new “green” certification is in the works for commercial and residential cleaning products. Currently called Greenstar, it’s in the initial stages of development, according to Steve Beicos, a representative.
While there are a number of organizations that certify green products around the world and in the United States, Beicos sees opportunity in the U.S. marketplace for stricter standards.
Greenstar may eventually compete with the nation’s most well known green certification standard, Green Seal. Beicos says Greenstar will first focus on certification of chemicals, then may go on to address paper products and other disposables.
The process of developing the standard began in December, and Beicos says Greenstar will have some programs available “in the next two to three quarters.”
Funding has not yet been secured, and Greenstar has not yet been incorporated. But Beicos expects Greenstar to be a non-profit organization. Work is underway to put together a group of people to help develop the standard, and Greenstar must also secure government and/or industry sponsorships.
“You need alternatives. There are organizations that want to be more environmentally conscious. They need to have more options and they need guidance, too,” Beicos said. “Having a better standard will make it easier to use environmentally responsible products.”
JohnsonDiversey Hires New Leader
JohnsonDiversey, Sturtevant, Wis., recently appointed Edward F. Lonergan as the company’s new president and CEO. He will assume the position February 13, 2006, replacing current president and CEO Gregory Lawton, who announced his retirement in September 2005. Lawton will continue to serve the company until Lonergan is on board to ensure a smooth transition.
Lonergan has spent the past four years as president of the European region for the Gillette Co. Before joining the Gillette Co., Lonergan served in several leadership capacities for the Procter & Gamble Co.
Lonergan has the skills necessary to lead the company, said John Matthews, vice president of corporate affairs for JohnsonDiversey. “Mr. Lonergan has demonstrated his strong sales and operational skills in numerous business settings around the world,” said Matthews. “Most recently, he led a dramatic turnaround of the Gillette business in Europe.”
Lonergan was directly accountable for $3.8 billion in sales revenue at the Gillette Co., generating double-digit compound annual growth during his time with the company, according to JohnsonDiversey.
As president and CEO of the company, Lonergan will be responsible for global business. “JohnsonDiversey’s mission is to be our company’s customers’ best partner for providing safe, healthy, high-performing facilities,” Matthews said. “Mr. Lonergan’s strong customer focus and leadership in sales force excellence will be a catalyst to the company achieving its mission.”
N.Y. Faces New Green Requirements
In September 2006, a new New York state law will go into effect that requires the use of environmentally preferable cleaning products in all state facilities.
As the state’s Education Department and the Department of Health, Labor and Environmental Conservation continue to begin to develop green specifications, guidelines, and a list of environmentally preferable products, distributors should prepare for sweeping change.
Distributors need to start asking their customers if they are even aware of the legislation, said Gary Nass, director of sales for Cleaning Systems Co., New Rochelle, N.Y.
New York’s definition of “green” is still relatively vague, so distributors should do their research to determine what does and what doesn’t fit the guidelines.
Then, distributors need to be prepared with product offerings and marketing plans to help customers understand the best plans of action for dealing with the legislation.
“I think it’s our job to help customers understand what these products are all about, and what the best avenue is to get them from where they are to where they need to be,” said Nass.
Distributors can educate themselves through resources like the U.S. Green Building Council, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Green Seal. Focusing on products endorsed by these agencies will also help distributors determine whether their offerings comply with the new state regulations.
MERGERS & AQUISITIONS
Southeastern Paper Group, Spartanburg, S.C., recently acquired all assets of RM Chemicals, a distributor of paper disposables and cleaning chemicals based in western North Carolina. Southeastern operates in seven states from its warehouses in Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas.
Homax Holdings Inc., Bellingham, Wash., has acquired the stock of Stone Care Intl., Baltimore. Stone Care is a manufacturer of cleaners, sealants, polishes and stain-removal products for a variety of surfaces.
Homax Holdings Inc. is a supplier of specialty cleaners and odor-control products and is owned by Olympus Partners, based in Stamford, Conn.
Portsmouth Paper Co., Portsmouth, N.H., was acquired by Buhrmann NV, Amsterdam. Portsmouth Paper is a distributor of packaging, janitorial and safety supplies in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts. Buhrmann sees the acquisition as a way to sell a wider selection of products.
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