Dutch-owned DSM Resins U.S., Inc., is as American as apple pie. Michael Terreri weaves the tale.
Georgia-based DSM Resins U.S., Inc.’s operation is of Dutch ancestry, but its spirit is purely modern entrepreneurial American. As North America’s leading producer of saturated polyester resins for the powder-coating industry, DSM Resins U.S. draws upon its European family to garner the expertise, synthesis formulations and production technology of the century-old parent. In North America, DSM Resins U.S. blends this foundation with the energy, style, innovative thinking and focus on customers that has established this raw material supplier as a stabilizing force in the powder-coatings market.
DSM Resins U.S. was founded in Augusta, Ga., in 1983 by DSM Resins BV to supply the North American paint industry with essential raw materials. Since then, DSM Resins U.S. has expanded its operation dramatically. The company now offers a wide array of products, made of both solid and liquid resins, for applications in dozens of industries including appliance, architectural, aerospace, automotive, lawn and garden, and general industrial products. DSM’s market is comprised of the major paint and coatings manufacturers — which, in turn, serve original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of appliances and household goods, heating and air-conditioning equipment, automobiles, architectural applications, rolling stock and myriad other miscellaneous industrial applications.
DSM polyester resins act as the binder for the various powder-coating formulations that improve the properties and performance of conventional paint.
Coloring for Safety
There is increasing pressure from environmental and safety regulations on the coatings industry to adopt more environmentally friendly systems, such as water-based products. DSM Resins U.S. is ready to meet any new challenge, in part because of its ability to respond quickly to any requirement, whether from government or customer, and in part because of its concern for employee safety.
Speaking of safety, the company enjoys some bragging rights. DSM Resins U.S. considers its safety record as its crowning achievement: On January 1, 2000, it celebrated the end of a decade without one lost-time accident, almost unheard of for a production facility, and is on track to achieve 11 accident-free years in December. This milestone indicates DSM’s total concern for the safety, health and well-being for all its employees and employees’ families.
Another feather for DSM’s cap is its QS 9000 certification. The company has also been ISO 9002-certified since 1994. DSM realizes that being the market leader requires setting new standards, and it has done that. Management feels that it is better to bring added value to the total business relationship, rather than just a competitively priced product.
The company is run by Gerard Hardeman, its president. Assisting him are Marketing and Sales Manager Stewart McKenzie, Site Manager Earl Sasser and Financial Controller John Hayes. All are located at the firm’s U.S. headquarters in Augusta. The total work force numbers about 35, all of whom contribute to the strong bottom line the company continues to maintain. In 1999, revenues topped $45 million.
The Augusta facility contains more than a quarter of a million square feet of manufacturing floor space. Associated warehouses and distribution channels now dot the map. From these sites, the firm ships to many of the countries in the Western Hemisphere, a market broadened since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
An emphasis on quality pervades the entire operation. DSM’s successes are the collective results of team effort. All of the company’s sectors — management, sales, production, administration — use a cooperative teamwork concept and credit is given to the team, rather than the individuals involved. The quality shines through.
Quality to the DSM people translates into four definitions: excellent product performance, batch-to-batch product consistency, customer-driven product development and innovation. Couple these goals with strong research-and-development capabilities, top-level logistics and technical support, and the powder-coatings manufacturers get a strong bang for their resin buck with DSM.
Local customer support is the No. 1 priority for DSM Resins U.S. The company recognizes that customer support means more than just the consistent commercial supply of product. DSM’s culture of “no compromise” care and responsiveness to customers governs the work of the sales team — which consists of two national account managers, Steve Jenkins and Richard Miller — and the Augusta-based customer-service department, coordinated by Levonne Burnett. All North American technical service is managed by Manuel Tyler, a veteran of the powder-coatings industry. His coordination of the technical application managers (led by Margien Storm van Leeuwan at the headquarters in Zwolle, The Netherlands) provides the needed resources and information to address all customer inquiries. This team is always ready to answer customers’ questions and to attend to customers’ requirements, combining test data and research results with a true sense of caring and focus.
Innovative research and development is a cornerstone in DSM’s position as a market leader. Business Development Manager Tom Lewis targets cooperative agreements with key accounts in all applications of ultraviolet (UV) light-curable powder-coating resins, as well as liquid polyester resins for the coil-coatings industry. Lewis focuses on finding quality, cost-effective custom solutions to the customers’ problems. He is active in industry associations and organizations such as RadTech and the National Coil Coating Association. DSM’s sponsorship of initiatives such as Team UV, a consortium of coatings suppliers dedicated to developing a totally UV material-coated racing car, is an important part of Lewis’ overall responsibilities. More information on this can be found at www.teamuv.org.
Pushing Ahead for Growth
DSM’s future will center on its continuing and consistent efforts toward manufacturing the highest-quality products and its focus on customer service, both technical and non-technical. Minimizing cost, maximizing innovation and holding onto its competitive position are the ongoing goals of the company. The procedures already in place and the attitudes that have been adopted by all the members of all the teams should ensure the achievement of those goals.
An illustration of this continuity and consistency is the stability of DSM in maintaining its identity throughout the rapidly consolidating marketplace. While almost all of its competitors — and many of its customers — have been either bought, sold, merged or divested over the last three years, DSM has maintained its singular presence and focus on the North American market through the autonomous, organic growth of the business. This has been a standout effort by DSM, in light of the reselling of many of the same companies after they failed to meet their owners’ expectations. No less than Fortune magazine itself has recognized this accomplishment by ranking DSM in the top 10 of the Most Admired Global Chemical Companies.
Given its rock-solid foundation and attentiveness to customers, DSM Resins U.S., Inc.,will continue to be a supplier that is making ideas work.