As the global market leader, Brenntag can offer its partners numerous benefits and an extensive portfolio: our network spans more than 530 locations in 74 countries around the globe. We supply more than 10,000 industrial and specialty chemical products to around 185,000 customers.
Brenntag’s core business is focused on less-than-truckload volumes and we typically supply local customers with small and very small quantities of chemicals. But what happens when a customer is very large, has multiple locations across the globe, and wants to coordinate how the various sites procure chemicals? This is the market space that the Brenntag Global Key Account programme addresses.
BOB, ON WHICH CUSTOMERS DOES THE KEY ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT FOCUS AT BRENNTAG?
BOB The key account programme aims at multinational customers that want to increase their efficiency in their raw material procurement. Buying products locally is not tremendously difficult for these customers, but being able to bundle their chemical spend, ensuring that they are receiving raw materials of the quality they need, and handling the materials in a safe and regulatory compliant manner, are all issues that become far more difficult for them to manage. This is where Brenntag’s Global Key Account programme provides many of the answers.
HOW IS KEY ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT SET UP AT BRENNTAG?
BOB Each of Brenntag’s four global regions has a “Director Key Accounts” who is responsible for managing the activities with our key account customers. Each region has a team of Key Account Executives, Specialists, Business Managers and Administrators, who focus on our customers. Our Key Account Executives manage those customers that need and want ‘one face’ for Brenntag. I believe our team is really something special. Due to the complexity of our customers’ global needs, it takes a unique person to be effective. For that reason, our team is made up of long tenured and highly experienced people from within Brenntag.
HOW DO KEY ACCOUNT CUSTOMERS DIFFER FROM OTHER BRENNTAG CUSTOMERS?
BOB All customers expect us to provide reliability, safety, product availability and topquality execution. However, with key account customers the orders of magnitude are different in many respects. At our key account customers, we are often faced with a very complex situation initially – and we help those customers to reduce the complexity in their processes and increase efficiency.
Bob and his team develop individual business plans for our key account customers.
MULTINATIONAL CUSTOMERS INCREASINGLY NEED TO HARMONIZE THE PROCUREMENT OF THEIR CHEMICAL REQUIREMENTS. WHY?
BOB Key account customers often have a presence in several countries or on different continents even. Uniformity of incoming product quality, handling and packaging safety, coordinated with understandable pricing processes allow these companies to better forecast their costs and improve their efficiency through reliable quality standards. We work closely together with the customer so as to better understand their needs. We offer our key account customers solutions that govern and simplify a wide variety of aspects. The aim here is to implement a centralized procurement system, for example, to simplify terms of delivery and payment, and agree other commercial arrangements.
WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE ARE THE KEY FACTORS THAT BRENNTAG OFFERS ITS KEY ACCOUNT CUSTOMERS?
BOB In short, it is communication, coordination and flexibility! It is a matter of maintaining continuous and constructive dialogue with customers and showing them that they can rely on Brenntag entirely. A global account expects an aligned approach. Internally, we have to ensure that the Key Account Executives coordinate their work with the regional and local teams and industry experts. Our key account management structure allows uniform implementation of issues important to our customers counterbalanced with an appreciation of locally important cultural, governmental and regulatory issues. And our key account customers benefit from the flexibility we provide.
BOB, WHAT WILL BE SOME OF THE NEW CHALLENGES FOR THE GLOBAL KEY ACCOUNT PROGRAMME AS WE MOVE INTO THE NEXT SEVERAL YEARS?
BOB Keeping pace with customers’ growth into emerging markets such as the Middle East and Africa. As consumer demands grow in these areas, many of our customers follow by building facilities close to their customers. The Global Key Accounts programme will need to adapt to this trend. I also think that customers wish to outsource their entire spend of midsize and small items to distributors, to reduce their personnel costs and time, and to allow their procurement teams to focus on the large and strategically important raw materials. But more so, they want the technical support, market knowledge and personal support for these materials as well. Brenntag is one of only very few chemical distributors that can provide such a complete set to customers.