By the end of February, PolyOne Corp.'s resin distribution unit will complete a year in which the business added more than 130,000 square feet of warehousing space at four locations.
In that stretch, the business moved into a 70,000-square-foot warehouse in Statesville, N.C., and a 60,000-square-foot warehouse in St. Louis. It also opened a new warehouse in Chesterfield Township Mich., and will occupy a 70,000-square-foot site in Ayer, Mass., sometime in February.
In Statesville, St. Louis and Ayer, PolyOne is moving into leased spaces that are significantly larger than the leased spaces it previously occupied in those cities. The Chesterfield Township site is PolyOne's first in the Detroit area.
Its next move will be to open a warehouse measuring at least 100,000 square feet in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., by fall.
``We're expanding not only to support larger distribution volumes, but also for storage of other PolyOne products like compounds, color concentrates and engineered films,'' Michael Rademacher, PolyOne Distribution group vice president, said in a recent telephone interview. ``We want to be a complete universal logistics network.''
PolyOne Distribution gained a significant chunk of volume in 2002 when it reclaimed PVC compound business from competitor General Polymers of Dublin, Ohio. GP had a longtime relationship with Geon Co., which merged with M.A. Hanna Co. to form PolyOne in 2000. Hanna had its own distribution business, making the Geon/GP deal redundant.
Rademacher said most of the 12 percent volume growth PolyOne gained last year when it combined its PVC and engineering resin distribution businesses came from switching accounts over from GP. PolyOne Distribution saw an additional 5 percent in volume growth from core business, he added.
Through the first nine months of 2002, PolyOne Distribution's sales were up 11 percent to $394 million. That total represented about 20 percent of PolyOne's total sales.
The expansion activity in distribution is in contrast to the performance of PolyOne's other businesses. After nearly completing a program that called for the closing of 14 less-efficient plants, the firm warned Dec. 18 that it expected to lose as much as $20 million in the fourth quarter of 2002. It had lost more than $41 million in the first nine months of the year.
Job cuts and selling of ``noncore assets'' are expected as PolyOne tries to lower its debt by at least $200 million. Officials said those moves will not affect the distribution business.