Chase Plastic Services Inc. has launched a program with Mid-America Plastics Partners Inc. that offers MAPP members discounts on Chase's private-label polycarbonate, ABS and acetal resins.
The program eventually could lead to aggregate resin buying among MAPP's 140 members, according to MAPP Executive Director Troy Nix, but there are some hurdles to clear before that goal is reached.
"[MAPP's] board of directors has been looking at raw materials since the group's inception," Nix said in a recent telephone interview. "But once you get the shovel out, you find there's a lot of digging to do."
The main challenge is finding overlaps in materials usage among the injection molders, blow molders, film extruders and other plastics processors that make up the ranks of the Indianapolis-based association. Many MAPP members use specialized grades of material for a host of applications.
"Even with 120 processors, the overlap in materials isn't as great as you might think," Nix said.
Though MAPP already uses aggregate buying among its members to purchase factory supplies and office supplies, it has not been able to extend that strategy into the resin market.
But Chase, an engineering resins distributor based in Clarkston, Mich., may be providing the first step to finding a solution to the issue.
Nix said Chase, which joined MAPP in 1997, was a natural choice, since most of its business overlaps the 13-state region from which MAPP members hail. Chase's ability to do business with smaller processors also was a plus.
"A lot of big resin companies and distributors don't want to talk to smaller companies," Nix said. "Most of our members range between $5 million and $20 million in sales, and they don't always have access to a significant number of resources. So a program like this can really help their buying."
Chase regional sales manager Alan Arduini agreed that the MAPP/Chase program is "a good match."
"This is a chance for us to develop a relationship with a community of processors," Arduini said. "We've enjoyed a lot of successful growth as a Midwest-based organization, and working with MAPP is another opportunity for us to try to channel our distribution."
Chase has no current plans to add aggregate buying to the MAPP program, but Arduini added that the firm "is evaluating the pilot program."
Arduini declined to specify how much MAPP members could save by purchasing private-label PC, ABS or acetal through Chase, but he said savings would vary based on purchase volumes and types of material.
Currently, MAPP members can buy clear PC, natural or black ABS, and natural or black acetal from Chase. Chase recently added a reprocessed grade of black ABS to the MAPP offering and may add additional grades and resins as demand warrants.