PolyOne Corp. has opened a new distribution center and sales facility in San José, Costa Rica, to serve a region where more than 30 contract manufacturers and medical-device OEMs now have manufacturing plants.
“We are the first large [materials] distributor to have a location in Central America,” said Larry Johnson, health-care marketing director for PolyOne, a global compounder and distributor based in Avon Lake, Ohio.
The compounder is also “the first full-array distributor” to invest in a distribution center in Costa Rica specifically to serve the medical market, according to Johnson.
The center became fully operational in May.
“Costa Rica has been a hot medical area for some time,” Johnson said at the Medical Design & Manufacturing East show, held May 22-24 in Philadelphia.
“We will now be able to streamline logistics and be the supply center for our customers there by holding inventory for them in Costa Rica,” added Kurt Schuering, president of PolyOne Distribution, which accounts for roughly one-third of total company's sales. “We can now offer them more speed in delivery, better logistics, just-in-time deliveries and minimize their risks by warehousing materials for them.
“The big thing is that customers will not have to order full-container loads from the U.S. This will help them with their cash flow and inventory management, and they won't have to tie up their working capital in raw materials,” Schuering said.
Both Schuering and Johnson said PolyOne's customers pulled the company to Costa Rica.
“Last year, we visited our current customers in Costa Rica and other companies who are there,” Johnson said. “We saw the need to put a location down there to start to develop the market. And we decided to do it quickly.
“We feel that South America is going to be a growing market,” he added. “It gives us a beachhead that will allow us to get our brand down there. It is also infrastructure, and service from that infrastructure is where we can make an impact.”
Schuering agreed: “Health care is a focused market for us, and this distribution center is an opportunity for us to achieve strategic growth. It gives the ability to make market penetration in the [original equipment manufacturers] who are down there.
“The first phase will be to support the health-care market in that region,” Schuering said. “But ultimately, [the Costa Rica facility] could be the export center for us for the Latin America region. That is certainly in the scope as well.”