Materials supplier Diamond Polymers Inc. has licensed a specialty styrenic resin from Ineos Group, and has made other changes to boost the firm's performance as well.
The global license allowing Akron-based Diamond to produce Ineos' Centrex-brand acrylonitrile styrene acrylate took effect in January. The deal includes formulations and customer lists, Diamond officials said Aug. 20 in Akron.
The Centrex brand has bounc- ed around in recent years moving from Bayer Corp. to Lanxess Corp. to Ineos and now to Diamond but it remains well-recognized in sheet and capstock applications in the construction and automotive fields.
This was a strategic investment that's brought us new chemistry, new products and new markets, said Bill Woodyard, Diamond commercial services director.
Diamond already produced several ASA grades, but not for the markets targeted by Centrex.
One of the requests we had from customers was for an ASA that colored well and could handle exposure to weather, said Jeffery Beach, marketing and new business development director.
The additions of experienced pros Woodyard, Beach and operations director Lynn Rossmeissl in the last 18 months also signal an increased focus on the future for Diamond. Chief Financial Officer Michael Neumann also became the company's chief operating officer in mid-2008.
Diamond shares an office and staff with resin distributor Network Polymers Inc. Both firms are owned by industry veteran Alan Woll, who serves as CEO of the companies. Woll co-founded the business in 1986 with partner Marvin Becker, who passed away in 1995. Diamond operates 60 million pounds of ABS capacity in Akron, where it also makes alloys based on ABS and similar resins.
Inventory management also has undergone major changes at Diamond.
We spent time reviewing every aspect of inventory, Neumann said. In tough times, you need to sweeten your balance sheet, and we had a lot of assets tied up in inventory.
We tied in to better projections from our sales staff, and as a result, we reduced inventory by 42 percent between November [of 2008] and July of this year. And we did that with no deterioration in shipping to our customers.
The silver lining in a recession is that you have to look inward, Woodyard added. We've worked hard on aggressive cost reduction and we're committed to operational excellence.
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