A major international manufacturer of specialty chemicals figures there is an ecommerce void in the chemicals industry.
Lanxess, based in Cologne, Germany, developed the online marketplace for buyers and sellers of such chemical products as acids, agrochemicals, bio-based materials, pigments, solvents and purification agents.
So far, about 200 companies have registered to use the marketplace, although Lanxess didn’t break out the individual company names or how many are buyers vs. sellers. The CheMondis marketplace has an inventory of about 500 products, Lanxess says.
New digital business models
“Developing new business models is an important element of the Lanxess digitalization initiative,” says Matthias Zachert, chairman of the Lanxess management board. “With CheMondis, we have launched a digital marketplace that specifically targets the needs of the chemicals industry.”
For now, CheMondis will operate in Europe and over time in other global markets including North America, where Lanxess generates annual sales of about $1.51 billion, the company says. “CheMondis is focusing on the European Union for our starting phase,” the company says. “However, we are exploring opportunities to expand our network to Asia and North America … after successful growth of our network in the EU.”
CheMondis is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lanxess and part of a broader corporate rollout of digital technology and operations started in 2017 and headed by chief digital officer Jörg Hellwig. Lanxess, with 15,500 employees in 33 countries and 59 production sites worldwide, operates more than a dozen websites where customers can search for and get detailed information on its own long line of chemical products, including specialty additives, thermoplastic polyurethanes, inorganic pigments, materials for manufacturing leather, and products for liquid purification and material protection. With the launch of CheMondis, it has expanded its digital operations with an ecommerce portal shared with other suppliers.
A startup spirit—and high-tech smarts
“In the development of CheMondis, we have consistently focused on the needs and wishes of our customers—the result is a highly modern and reliable online marketplace where chemical products can be traded,” says Sebastian Brenner, managing director of CheMondis GmbH. “We are combining profound knowledge from the chemicals industry, a startup spirit and a high level of technological expertise.”
As a separate business unit, CheMondis will have its own marketing program, information technology and ecommerce systems and employee base, Brenner says. As an incentive to sign up more specialty chemical companies as buyers, the marketplace will wave registration fees for certified companies who register during the pilot phase of the launch, CheMondis says.
The online marketplace gives buyers digital tools to directly negotiate individual terms and prices with suppliers and get instant order confirmations, maintain all transactions and related documentation, view product and supplier catalogs and see instant deals, among other tasks.
Registration for sellers on the CheMondis marketplace also is free during the early pilot phase. The marketplace has yet to say what regular fees it will charge once it completes the first rollout stage.
Currently the marketplace features about 20 industries, ranging from adhesives and sealants to water treatment and adhesives and sealants and 16 product groups including acids, agro-chemicals and solvents.
“Because buying and selling chemicals is a highly intransparent and therefore time-consuming process, we believe that a state-of-the-art online marketplace will provide an attractive mix of chemical know-how and modern technology,” Brenner says. “From the very beginning, we focused on designing a user experience that is catering to the needs of professionals buying or selling chemicals.”
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