Detroit — Resin distributor M. Holland Co. has seen improved demand during challenging times in 2022.
"Resin demand is very strong, but this is the third year of saying, 'We've never seen this before," Executive Vice President Marc Fern said in a May 25 interview at Injection Molding & Design Expo in Detroit. "First we had COVID, then the ice storm and now supply chain issues."
He added that increases in fuel and logistics costs have impacted customers this year, along with availability of truck drivers.
"If the driver doesn't show, we have to spend more to get the same delivery done," Fern said.
For Northbrook, Ill.-based M. Holland, availability of polyethylene resin has improved in 2022, according to Fern. Availability of polypropylene resin also has improved, but he said the firm "still isn't getting everything we wanted."
Looking ahead, Fern said that M. Holland would look to add more engineering resins to its lineup and to expand its international distribution into Latin America and Europe. The firm also will look to increase automation in its warehouses.
"Automation is less labor-intensive and requires less manual touches," he said. "Amazon has changed what we expect."
M. Holland also has seen more requests for recycled-content materials. "Sustainability is a long-term trend that's impactful to us and to all distributors," Fern said. "We're getting more recycled content requests, but there's not an unlimited supply of that material."
He added that the firm, which has made five acquisitions since 2012, "is always looking at acquisitions, but we need to see what kind of economic environment we're going to be in."
In late 2020, M. Holland formed a distribution partnership with JL Goor Materials, a materials supplier based in Ireland. The move was the first formal business venture in Europe for the firm. JL Goor distributes commodity and engineering resins mainly in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
M. Holland also has added 3D printing and laser sintering materials from five suppliers since late 2020. Most recently, the firm in April 2021 began offering materials from Infinite Material Solutions, Kimya by Armor and taulman3D.
Earlier this year, M. Holland received a bronze rating for its business sustainability programs from EcoVadis. M. Holland improved its rating from 2020 because of progress in its diversity and inclusion program, wellness benefits, career development and other areas.