Covington, Ky. — Baerlocher wasn't out to make a single sale at the company's recent recycling summit held near Cincinnati. In fact, company representatives were specifically told not to even try.
Instead, the plastics additives maker wanted to bring together people from around the country to talk about the plastics recycling market and learn a bit from experts brought in from outside the company as well as Baerlocher officials. The idea was to simply advance the plastics recycling cause.
This holistic approach fits into what leadership describes as a change in how the company views itself, a position that has evolved in the last half-decade or so.
Baerlocher is in the business of selling additives for resin, including a significant portion of the business in PVC. But the company wants to move past a transactional relationship with customers to be viewed as a what Baerlocher officials called a trusted adviser.
By turning the traditional buyer-seller dynamic on its ear, Baerlocher sees a future where products, knowledge and relationships come together for the betterment of all involved.
Baerlocher, a half a dozen years ago, emphasized cost savings in its sales approach to selling additives for the recycling market.
But just as recycling has evolved into just part of a broader sustainability movement for so many companies, Baerlocher sees a role that is much more than just selling on price.
"When it comes to business as such — not only recycling — we're driving a move toward more sustainable systems," CEO Arne Schulle said during an interview at the recent summit, which was held in Covington near the company's Cincinnati operations.
"By positioning ourselves and making recycling more homogeneous, more usable and thereby enabling our customers to use more recyclate is a different positioning in the market," he said.
"We have to transform the whole group," Schulle said, if Baerlocher wants to be "competitive in a circular environment."