The COVID-19 pandemic has led two materials firms to change terms for some sales to customers.
EMS-Chemie North America Inc. is requiring all outstanding invoices to be paid in full before any shipment can be processed for delivery. Customers can still use their available credit line to process an order if they have no outstanding balance, officials with Sumter, S.C.-based EMS-Chemie said in an April 3 letter to customers.
In the letter, EMS-Chemie officials added that "under the current market conditions, we have had to review and adjust policies to protect our employees and the interest of EMS-Chemie." The paid in full policy will be waived as soon as the economic situation is normalized, officials said.
One U.S.-based EMS-Chemie customer told Plastics News that the policy would complicate business for his firm and would make the firm consider seeking another supplier of the materials it buys from EMS-Chemie.
In an April 9 phone interview with Plastics News, EMS-Chemie President Robert Meyer zu Westram said that his firm's letter to customers "wasn't communicated in the right way." He added that EMS-Chemie would continue to make shipments to customers, especially to those who might be making medical products.
EMS-Chemie also will work with customers to possibly receive partial payment and to develop an outlook of customers' material needs in the months ahead. Westram said.
Kingsport, Tenn.-based Eastman Chemical Co. is temporarily waiving all charges for rush orders until May 1, officials said on the firm's website. Eastman "will make every effort to process [rush orders] where we have the inventory and resources to do so."
Eastman also is implementing a 25 percent surcharge for order cancellations or requested changes inside of five business days of shipment. Officials said that step is being taken "as part of our efforts to align production and demand and ensure [customers'] supply is not disrupted by a last-minute diversion of inventories, transportation equipment, or logistics resources."
Eastman officials added that the COVID-19 situation "is unprecedented and very fluid."
"For this reason, we encourage you to provide us with as much transparency as possible to your needs," they said. "The timeliness and accuracy of orders we receive from you are essential to our planning and ability to adapt quickly to maintain appropriate operations. …We understand that many of our customers are facing a tremendous amount of uncertainty."