ROSEMONT, ILL. — Dow Chemical Co. is happy to see resins the company produces being stored in silos around the world, but working in a silo is a whole different matter altogether.
That's why the company is out trumpeting a message of collaboration, innovation and acceleration in a push to work with partners throughout the so-called value chain. From start to finish, the Midland, Mich.- based company wants to become part of the process that sees its resin put to use.
Suppliers, convertors, machine manufacturers and brand owners alike need to be in the same universe, talking, exploring ideas and working together.
Simply put, the company isn't satisfied with simply being a polyethylene resin supplier that peddles pellets and moves on.
“If we're working alone in a silo developing resins and pushing them to the market, we're not going to be as successful as if we're working with our partners and our customers and brand owners to help us understand what they are trying to achieve,” said Stephanie Kalil, marketing manager for rigid packaging and durables at Dow.
“I think, over the years, we really have gone from a products offered company to a markets served company,” she said. “So if you think about it from that aspect, that's what really started all of this.”
As a senior research scientist for performance packaging at Dow, it's part of John Sugden's job to champion the message of working together.
“It's a 100-year-old plus company. It's really easy for us to sit on our laurels and look at the marketplace as ours and only ours. That would be very easy to do,” he said.
And that would be a mistake, he said.
“What we're saying is that we can no longer afford to take any of our customers for granted, none of them. So how else do we approach the marketplace?” Sugden said at the recent Plastics Caps & Closures 2014 conference organized by Plastics News in Rosemont.
Working together, Sugden said, is in the entire plastics industry's best interest.
“If we don't continue to accelerate the industry and make sure that we innovate solutions to accelerate the industry, there's probably alternatives that are out there,” he said. “And so, we're trying to protect our franchise and the market segment and make sure we're successful in the long-term. And how best to do that than through collaboration,” he said.
“We're all competitors in this room in one aspect or another,” Sugden said during his conference presentation. “But, at the same time, we all need to collaborate to ensure that plastics closures are here for the long term.”
One way Dow collaborates is through its Pack Studios approach, four meeting places around the world where stakeholders can come together to talk about their needs and develop products and solutions. That's where Dow can share its expertise and learn from others as well.
But the Pack Studio approach also involves more than just the physical locations and represents a sharing of information all along the way, Dow officials said.