First results after the launch of new product grades at the plant in Yuncos
Earlier this year, Clariant expanded its offering of high-quality bleaching earth for the edible oil and biofuel markets in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. With new product grades manufactured at the plant in Yuncos, Spain, the investment further strengthens Clariant’s ability to support customers with an enhanced portfolio of flexible solutions, and on-hand expertise.
In a recent Interview, Anil Sönmez, Head of Business Group Purification and Functional Adsorbents EMEA at Clariant, reported on initial results of the Yuncos investment, and explained challenges, such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic, and its effect on production capacity.
Q: You recently launched a new production line in Yuncos to upgrade your portfolio. How did the start of production and implementation go?
Anil Sönmez: The launch of the new product grades was very successful. We were pleased to receive positive feedback from the market, confirming the total cost of ownership (TCO) advantages proposed by the new portfolio. Moreover, the investment and new product launches helped us minimize disruptions created by the current COVID-19 situation. It was proof that flexibility is essential for adapting to dramatic changes in demand and supply at short notice. Due to our uniform product portfolio, and production capabilities at four plants in EMEA (Spain, France, Germany, and Turkey), we were able to respond quickly, and provide flexible supply options and solutions for our customers.
Q: What are the challenges you are facing lately?
Anil Sönmez: As nobody has a crystal ball to predict a situation like this, it was not easy for us to foresee the sudden fluctuations in demand. However, as a reliable and responsible partner of choice for over 114 years, we are always prepared for worst-case scenarios by securing raw material supply from both internal and outsourced operations in surplus of our regular plan.
Q: Were you affected by COVID-19 in your production, and how did you resolve the situation?
Anil Sönmez: Just as everyone else, we were also affected by this pandemic. During these difficult times, our priorities are to protect our colleagues, and engage with our customers even more. We immediately and proactively contacted our customers, regularly informing them about all the changes in a timely manner. These guiding principles helped us overcome this extraordinary situation with only minor effects on our production and supply capabilities.
During the pandemic, not only did we rely on our production capabilities in our EMEA plants, but also sought help from our colleagues in Indonesia and Mexico on an exceptional basis. In record time, they were able to adapt their production plans and specifications to meet the requirements of our EMEA customers.
Another success story worth mentioning is one from our colleagues at our plant in Moosburg, Germany. In just one week, working tirelessly, they redesigned one of our production lines to increase capacity significantly. It was almost a miracle. This helped us fulfill almost all inquiries we received.
What is also important to mention here is Clariant’s history of working with strong logistics providers. This was definitely an asset for us during the hard times. A special thanks to them, who also did their best to get our products to market in time.
Q: What is the current status of your production capacity?
Anil Sönmez: We have successfully managed the situation by being flexible in our production, staying in close contact with our customers, and having extraordinary support from our colleagues. We are very grateful for their exceptional teamwork. We were able to supply potential short-term demands punctually. With the insights we have gained in the last three months we are coming out of this situation stronger than ever.
Clariant is still keeping a close eye on all aspects of its supply chain, including raw materials, production, and logistics. From an overall perspective, we are not currently experiencing serious shortages that could impact our global production or supply chain network in any significant way.
Q: What are your mid- to long-term plans for this and the following year?
Anil Sönmez: Our plan is to reinforce our goal of being close to our customers and providing first-class service. We are pushing ahead with our strategy to invest further in flexibilization of our assets in Yuncos, in addition to our four plants across EMEA. Currently, we are in the pre-study phase of adding two more locations and one more facility. There are also further options under consideration, from greenfield projects, to enhancing current assets. Regardless of what comes, we will continue to advance our products and services for our customers.