SPC-GEON VENTURE STAKES OUT ASIAN MARKET

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SPC-Geon Pte. Ltd. of Singapore, a PVC resin compounder that began production three months ago, is part of Geon Co.'s plan to supply standard PVC resins to manufacturers worldwide, for nearly any application, faster and more exactly than its competitors.

That is according to Joe Muhs, general manager and chief operating officer of SPC-Geon, which is owned by Singapore Polymer Corp. (Pte.) Ltd. and Geon of Avon Lake, Ohio.

Here's an example of the company's plan in action:

Muhs said his company heard of a contractor in Hong Kong that was issuing materials specifications for a part to be molded in China.

The contractor worked for a computer components manufacturer in Palo Alto, Calif.

``Within 24 hours, we had people calling at all three locations to answer their needs and to try to land the application,'' he said.

``Then, we coordinated a global contract for Europe, Asia and North America with quotes for each of the three areas and plans to work with the major molders and assemblers in each of those three areas within a week.''

The work was a success.

While SPC-Geon and its agents handled the calls in Hong Kong and China, Geon coordinated the calls in North America.

In Europe, Hydro Geon of Newton Ayclyffe, England, handled the work. Hydro Geon is a 50-50 joint venture between Geon and Norsk Hydro AG of Oslo, Norway.

``In manufacturing, guys want to be out with product in days,'' Muhs said by telephone from Singapore.

``Speed to the market is the competitive advantage of the future, and the answer to getting to the market fast is getting raw materials on a just-in-time basis,'' he said.

To take the disorder and frenzy out of the hustle, Geon set up SPC-Geon and other global joint ventures. Its worldwide network is 85 percent complete, Muhs said.

Geon has reduced its order-to-delivery time from an average of 10 weeks to two to four weeks, he said.

``Our objective is to cut that to 14 days anywhere in Asia,'' he said.

SPC-Geon gives Geon a proverbial toe-in-the-water in Asia, Muhs said. The firm began compounding PVC in November, and shipping it in December.

Current production is 20 million pounds a year, but it plans to produce nearly 60 million pounds by the end of 1997.

The markets for PVC, especially Geon's M-Series products designed for injection molding, are booming, he said.

Geon developed the M-Series for applications in the computer, business equipment and appliance industries, where they would compete with ABS resins and ABS/polycarbonate blends.

``You can fill molds with these resins that you couldn't fill with other PVC compounds,'' Muhs said.