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logo huntsmanThe chemical industry faces fierce competitive pressures in international markets. One result of this is that mergers and acquisitions, investments and divestments are as familiar to chemical companies as combining and splitting molecules is to their chemists. The story of Huntsman Advanced Materials shows how this can affect a business equation.

SBE: A simple structure for complex chemistry

The story starts with a divestment by CIBA. One of its former divisions, dedicated to delivering high value advanced materials, became a company in its own right. The company was called Vantico, and it soon realised that the separation from CIBA had left it with a less than ideal company structure in Europe. Former synergies had been lost and as a result its business processes were too complicated to be competitive. Simplification was essential and Vantico decided that the solution was to create a Single Business Entity (SBE) in Europe to cover all its commercial processes and data. Remaining companies would act as toll manufacturers or sales agents. A study of this option concluded that the project was feasible and could meet the objectives of simplification and cost reduction.

Once an SBE is set up, things are simple, but getting there is more complex, calling for a company- wide redesign of all business processes, legal structures etc. So Vantico turned to Voorne Partners for help. Voorne advised them on setting up a European project team and played an active role in the project management team.

Pragmatic approach

To generate a blueprint for creating the SBE the project teams used Voorne Partners' Delta Methodology. That included evaluating all the business processes and adapting them as necessary. Voorne Partners' experience has involved international processes in a wide variety of business areas so it was in a prime position to offer advice and hands-on assistance needed.

Change was not confined to the business processes. All the roles of the different legal entities inside the group had to be redefined. Voorne Partners provided advice in areas from VAT to legal implications. In addition, when a company adopts an SBE structure, most of the sales staff has to operate as agents for the SBE. This is sometimes seen as a step too far. Voorne could draw on experience here, too. Common sense, a practical approach based on a real understanding of European business, makes it possible to operate in this way without losing any competitive strength.

An integrated design: Key for success!

All these elements of change were brought together in the blueprint, together with the changes in IT systems necessary to support new ways of working. That blueprint was the basis for implementing the SBE. Then the complex equations of the chemical industry introduced a new element - Vantico was acquired by Huntsman and renamed to Huntsman Advanced Materials. So certain areas of the blueprint had to be redesigned to ensure that Huntsman Advanced Materials could be successfully integrated into the Huntsman group.

At that point the business faced a dual challenge: setting up the SBE, and becoming integrated into Huntsman. Voorne Partners was able to guide and support the company in successfully managing the complex changes involved in both developments.

As Rob Lunn, Project Manager of Huntsman Advanced Materials said: 'This project was always one of the most critical and most important projects for the business and one which will enable further simplification of our business processes. We were very pleased to have Voorne Partners on board to deliver their unique skill-set and practical knowledge of Single Business Entities (SBE).'

Today, Huntsman Advanced Materials has an SBE that gives it a simple, cost-effective operating base. Business process costs have fallen and future changes to IT systems or business processes will be simpler, faster and less expensive. It's a firm foundation for future success as Huntsman Advanced Materials.

Huntsman Advanced Materials is a leading global manufacturer and marketer of advanced epoxy resins, adhesives, coating systems, electrical insulating materials, printed circuit board technology, tooling materials and structural composites. They service end use markets that include the aerospace, automotive, telecommunications, electrical and electronics, recreation, and appliance industries. The business serves customers around the world, through a heritage of pioneering technological excellence and by adding value through tailor-made and innovative solutions. They have a long history and heritage and, today, the business continues their proud service through technological innovation, quality products and services, understanding the customers' needs and long-term commitment to the industries being served.