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Dow Corning ‘transforms’ business with online push

By Katie Bird , 10-Jun-2009
Last updated the 10-Jun-2009 at 17:21 GMT

In what it calls a transformation of its business, Dow Corning is enlarging its internet selling platform to improve efficiency and targeting the ‘megatrend’ sustainability.

In a press briefing yesterday, the silicone supplier announced it will be offering more of its products, and improved flexibility, through its online sales platform Xiameter.

“Until now Xiameter has been like an elite club reserved only for those few who order in high volumes,” said executive director for geographical director John Lyon.

Dow Corning is now expanding the choice of products on offer and allowing purchases of lower volumes, as well as pushing the online selling method in emerging markets with online documents in Chinese and Korean.

One of the major ways Xiameter differs from the Dow Corning brand is that it offers significantly less technical support to customers.

The Ryanair approach

Lyon referred to the move as the Ryanair approach: “If a customer knows what they want then its [Xiameter] the cheapest and most convenient way to do it.”

In addition, the company hopes that this will free up many of the Dow Corning’s experienced chemists to innovate, rather than responding to customers order-related enquiries, improving the efficiency of the company.

Junior chemists will be on-hand to deal with the more basic requests and those who desire a more comprehensive service can stick with their Dow Corning distributor, Lyon told CosmeticsDesign.

In emerging markets the Xiameter service will offer more support. “Culturally in the Asian market talking to people is very important. In addition, hiring the technical support staff is obviously cheaper in these markets,” he said.

In addition to focusing on innovation and efficiency through the Xiameter platform and related changes, the company said it would be concentrating on sustainability.

Sustainability

The silicone supplier is looking to its end markets to identify areas where it can serve this ‘megatrend’.

“We are looking to markets like personal care, building and transportation in order to see which Dow Corning offerings could make our customers’ products more sustainable,” said Lyon.

Sustainability in the personal care industry is leading to increased use of natural ingredients, the benefits from which can be combined with silicones to improve products, Lyon argued.

“There are issues with natural ingredients. They may not be consistent year on year and the ingredient can feel or behave differently.”

“Combine the benefits you get from the rainforest or botanicals with the power of silicones and you get a better feeling product,” he said.

Although making the silicone ingredients themselves is a very energy intensive process, Lyon argued that the company is continuing to invest in renewable energy to fuel this process, for example using hydroelectric energy from Brazil.

Outside of personal care, Dow Corning will concentrate on products that will help solar energy become economically competitive, and develop more green construction materials.

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