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Creating Customer Value

K 2016: Anyone Could Be The Next Big Customer For Celanese 

Every three years the whole plastics industry meets in Düsseldorf, Germany for the world’s largest plastics tradeshow: the K. In 2016 more than 218,000 trade visitors from 108 countries came to the city on the Rhine. But what’s so fascinating about this fair?

Let me try to explain it from my viewpoint. For me, it was the second K attending for Celanese after 2013. But my very first experience with the K started in 2007, while I was a young man studying plastics engineering, and honestly, I didn’t know too much about the size and the power of the industry. Our professors just told us we definitely can’t miss that show, and so I took three of my fellow students and we went to Düsseldorf without knowing what to expect…

Creating Customer Value

Why Our Spondon Site Went Minion Mad 

Do you know the Minions? These little yellow guys have been famous all over the globe thanks to the movie “Despicable Me.” Being awfully cute and terribly clumsy at the same time, especially Kevin, Bob and Stuart, have won the hearts of millions. Earlier this summer, the story of the Minions also made their way to Celanese. Even if it weren’t Kevin, Bob and Stuart ringing my phone, I wouldn’t have minded if they actually did.

On a Wednesday afternoon in July, I received a rather panicky phone call from a printing company based in Leeds, UK, enquiring if we supplied a clear red film, which could be used for a goggle application. Their previous supplier had let them down at the very last minute and they had just four days to create 14,000 pairs of goggles for the UK supermarket chain ASDA.

Creating Customer Value

Framing Innovative And Sustainable Customer Solutions In The Building Materials World 

In a recent blog, Stephanie Daigle, vice president of U.S. Public Affairs for Celanese, introduced us to the important work being done in the American Chemistry Council’s Value Chain Outreach (VCO) initiative and explained the leading role Celanese is playing. Beyond staying informed, the ACC (and by extension, Celanese) is actively working to influence key stakeholders so that we can better anticipate the needs of our customers regarding important evolving issues. These stakeholders in the area of building materials include architects, building owners, contractors, environmental NGOs (non-government organizations) and government organizations at the federal, state and local levels.

Building materials is an exciting and dynamic segment. Over the last decade, many building codes, environmental mandates and voluntary green building rating systems have had an extraordinary…

Creating Customer Value

We’re All Part Of The Celanese Brand 

I recently read an article “Your CEO Is Part of Your Brand, Whether You Like It or Not”. The article described how a CEO’s actions or comments can have an impact on a brand’s perception.

The article made me think:  the CEO is the most visible reflection of a company’s brand, but they are not the only one who impacts a brand.  We all reflect Celanese; whether it is with customers, suppliers, our communities and with each other.

Wait, don’t only customer-facing employees represent our brand?  The reality is in…

Collaboration, Creating Customer Value

The Last 10% Makes All The Difference 

It just so happens that this is the right time to give my 14-year-old son the “last 10% speech.”  Anyone who’s been around a young teenager knows, they simply don’t understand what it means to get something done…completely done, leaving no strings, or mess left over. As your children learn to be responsible, and even begin to do their chores, and even help others (wow!), there is still one last instruction to give.

It is that no matter how much the 14-year-old thinks he has done, what matters is that he has finished the job.  Or better yet, that he has solved or performed a task to his parent’s liking. The only thing parents see is the last 10 percent of the effort.  For example, he may have gotten his own juice glass then the juice from the refrigerator, poured it, drank it, returned the juice to the fridge, and…

Creating Customer Value

Are You Glocal? How We’re Creating Customer Value 

Celanese wrapped up an incredibly successful Chinaplas® (Asia’s biggest plastics trade fair) exhibition in Shanghai last month.  I won’t know the final count of visitors and meetings for a little while, but based on the latest information, there were more than 2,000 visitors to the booth, over 60 scheduled meetings and countless ‘on-the-spot’ information exchanges.  Our engineered materials, Clarifoil and EVA teams were certainly busy.  A common theme for the show was how Celanese is helping create customer value.

One of the most exciting announcements we had during the show was Celanese’s plan to begin…

Collaboration, Creating Customer Value

A Little Creative Tension Is Fun! 

If you didn’t run away from the title, you’re probably still thinking, “Come on!  Really?” or something along those lines.  But, really, it is fun, and if you stay with me for a few more minutes, I’ll show you why.

“Creative tension” or “healthy tension” is the catch-phrase of the day.  It refers to the tension that forms as a result of different groups or people trying to achieve the best result while going about it in different, sometimes disagreeable, ways; and that can lead to tension or conflict, which ultimately results in a more creative solution.

I’m in the Global Sales organization for Celanese, and I can tell you that we have our fair share of…

Collaboration, Creating Customer Value

How Can Your Social Network Help Celanese? 

In today’s social media world of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, the personal networks are vibrant for everyone; and this vibrant network, when used by our employees, can also be used to drive new growth avenues for Celanese. 

We are in the business of solving customer problems by driving “the chemistry inside innovation” at our customers.  We also serve every industry that one can imagine.  We are in paints, we are in housing, we are in cars, we are in medical equipment, and we are in human bodies.  This diversity of applications and uses of our products provides an avenue for…

Creating Customer Value

Less Is More 

One of the common challenges we face in every aspect of our business is to provide more value at less cost. We have been on this journey for several years in Information Technology (IT) at Celanese; and as much of the low hanging fruit has disappeared, we are now facing a significant enemy that we must take on: complexity.

As we zero-in on a target total cost of IT services for the company, we have multiple paths. One path is to change services and sometimes service levels. Another is to be more productive in supporting all we have. But the most compelling path is to…

Creating Customer Value

The Era Of Ambiguity Leadership 

Why is it that we discuss our need to “deal with ambiguity?”  Ambiguity is approached with a similar level of disdain as we have for garbage – “we’ve got a lot of ambiguity – can someone take care of it?”  Ambiguity should not be seen as a negative, rather it is truly empowering.

Ambiguity is a “grown-up” sandbox.  As children we were literally given a box of sand and left to our own devices.  Think about it, there were no instructions, but we still built amazing things.  From mystical castles to major excavation projects, the sandbox gave us…

Creating Customer Value

Mumbai Milestones 

All roads seemed to lead to Mumbai, India recently. And not surprisingly, therefore, the streets were  overflowing with people. We were hosting several Celanese executives – Todd Elliot, Scott Richardson, Mark Oberle and Eddie Luen – who had joined us for a much-awaited customer appreciation event.

We finally got agreement for Thursday, Sept 19th – the day after “Ganesh Festival,” to hold the event. On this day, the always chaotic Mumbai traffic is further burdened with hundreds of people taking part in long street processions, for the final ‘elephant god’ idol immersion ceremony, chanting Ganapati Bappa Morya…

So yes, it got a bit crowded. As they say here in India, if you had thrown a stone, you would…

Creating Customer Value

Two Long Nights And Many Exciting Experiences 

I am currently a work/study BA student and now in my second work phase for Celanese. The “two long nights,” in other words, the “Long Night of Industry” and the “Night of Science” were a very special part of it.

It all started on June 18 – first with the “Long Night of Industry.” At this event, industrial facilities open their doors to the public for one evening to present themselves to interested visitors.

Our tour included a visit to the Ticona Technical Center and the new POM plant. In addition to the guided plant tour, a tour of the Hoechst Industrial Park was also offered in celebration of 150 years of operations at the Hoechst Industrial Park.

The size alone of the Ticona plant impressed all…

Creating Customer Value

Celanese Poised For A Mexican Resurgence 

For a long time, Celanese and Mexico have enjoyed a successful and rewarding relationship with almost 70 years of continued presence as one of Mexico’s most notable companies. It all started in 1945 when Celanese began manufacturing cellulose acetate yarn for the textile industry at Ocotlan, Jalisco. The 1950s and 1960s marked an important growth in the areas of synthetic and artificial fibers (e.g., nylon, rayon) as well as the plastic film industries (e.g., cellophane).  During the 1970s, Celanese Mexicana established a polyester manufacturing plant in Queretaro and started the production of acrylic esters at Cosoloeacaque. In 1982, the Cangrejera Chemical complex began operations, catapulting Celanese Mexicana into the role of the largest secondary chemicals and fibers producer in Mexico. It was also during this time that Celanese Mexicana became a major exporter with sales outside Mexico representing 37 percent of its production by volume. These goods were being shipped to the United States and Canada, Western Europe, North Africa, China and Hong Kong, and, in South America, to Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela.

In 1987, Celanese Corp. became Hoechst Celanese AG when the U.S.-based corporation was acquired by the German pharmaceuticals manufacturer Hoechst. In 1997, Hoechst spun off its Industrial Business as part of its strategy to concentrate in…

Creating Customer Value

Celanese Sings The Praises Of Qorus™ To The World 

In my last blog, I shared what we learned about the importance of branding, even in a business-to-business environment, and discussed how we were developing a new brand for  our innovative new sweetener system.  But, I left the brand name secret.   Well, here it is: Qorus™ sweetener system.

Why Qorus?  As we developed this product, even we were surprised by the huge impact of allowing the right ingredients to work together versus the individual parts alone.  We had discovered a revolution in…

Creating Customer Value

Branding Gives A Voice To The New Nutrinova Innovation 

A brand can do wonders for a product, company or service.  Whether we agree or not, a brand speaks loudly about us.  A strong brand can help us communicate to the world what our product or service is. A brand can create a personal connection that is individual and special. With the right brand voice and message it can help us stand out and ensure that we are recognized and remembered for the value we bring.  

We are in the process of creating a brand for the new innovations in our food ingredients business, Nutrinova.  We created a name early on and then realized that it did not fully represent how we wanted our customers and the industry to see us. It didn’t send the clear message that the industry can…

Creating Customer Value

A “Brand” New Day At Celanese 

We are transforming Celanese in big and small ways. In just a year’s time, we’ve made changes that allow us to naturally act as one team working toward the same goals with passion and purpose.

Here are just a few of the things we’ve accomplished:

  • Created and shared a common vision and mission, building to Vision 2016
  • Established global sales, technical and manufacturing organizations
  • Streamlined work processes
  • Communicated better
  • Reinforced the importance of employee development and social responsibility

And while we’re changing a lot, it’s important that we retain past strengths while embracing the challenges and opportunities of the future.

Recently we began looking at how we could make our brand…

Creating Customer Value

A Breath Of Innovation In The Energy Industry 

Democrats, Independents and Republicans alike support a bill being re-introduced in the House today. It’s the Domestic Alternative Fuels Act of 2013 that, once passed, will push America closer to energy independence.

This act modifies the outdated Renewable Fuel Program of the Clean Air Act to allow domestic alternative fuel, such as natural gas, to be used to satisfy a portion of the required applicable volume of renewable fuel. Passing it is Congress’ chance to fix the error they made in 2007 when they…

Creating Customer Value

Brazil: The Rising Star Of South America 

I recently returned from Brazil where I was sharing Celanese’s Vision 2016 business strategy with my Celanese colleagues, and I felt compelled to share my experiences about my visit to our facilities there.  I have a deep fondness for Brazil. It may be because I lived there in the late 1990s for three years, or more than likely, because my wife is Brazilian.  Through her and her family, I have come to know the people and culture of Brazil and am always happy to have a chance to visit and spend time with our Brazilian employees. 

Brazil is a country with great business potential and is bursting with pride these days as it plans for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.  These events, combined with significant finds of oil and natural gas, as well as being one of the leading emerging global economies, translates into…

Creating Customer Value

We Prefer Objective Miracles 

We’ve all been there….a moment with our customer, our R&D, or our business manager where they put their foot down and just say “Yes, I understand this product works…but why does it work!?”  I’ve been told I’m not to use the mechanism described in the well-known cartoon by S. Harris to explain “how it works” anymore…

Creating Customer Value

Improve Impact Performance Of Thermoplastic Composites In Auto Applications With Glass Tape 

Most auto makers feel the strong pressures to reduce carbon emissions and improve fuel economy for passenger vehicles and commercial trucks throughout the world.  The interest and use of composites by transportation OEMs is growing. As a result, composite material suppliers are working hard to improve thermo-mechanical performance, increase processing speeds, reduce part mass and costs and enhance surface aesthetics with fewer post-mold operations.  Generally, they want to make it easier to position composites against high-strength steel and aluminum. 

Last year, a study conducted by European and American organizations looked at…

Creating Customer Value

Getting Bullish On Indonesia 

Over the past several months, I’ve been spending a lot of time in Jakarta.  Partnering with Pertamina, Indonesia’s state-owned oil and natural gas business, we’re advancing a Joint Statement of Cooperation to develop Celanese’s proprietary technology to make fuel ethanol for use in Indonesia. I have also had the opportunity to get to know our other businesses there as well as we have a long history of doing business in Indonesia with our Acetate and our Acetyls businesses. 

From where I stand, there are several reasons to be bullish on…

Creating Customer Value

The Search For Truth 

Not so long ago, before I traded in my bench for a desk, you were more likely to see me in front of a mass spectrometer than a laptop. My pre-Celanese life was spent as an analytical chemist and my daily routine was, at first glance, rather different to my reincarnation as a new business development guy. I implore you, however, to cast aside the obvious differences and explore with me the notion that both business and science, boil down (pun intended) to a perpetual search for the truth.

When I first joined Celanese, I evaluated new business ideas for our AI business. Like most fresh- faced graduates I completely missed the point. I wanted every project to be an overwhelming success and was deflated when an ROI looked unfavorable or we couldn’t justify the resources needed for…

Creating Customer Value

Celanese TCX Technology® Can Reduce Indonesia’s $12 Billion Annual Gasoline Subsidy 

I recently returned from another trip to Jakarta, the third time in as many months given the significant progress being made in the country.  The Celanese team has kicked off the work with Pertamina as defined in our Joint Statement of Cooperation and it was rewarding to see the progress they have achieved.  As a reminder, Celanese announced its intention to jointly develop projects with Pertamina, the leading state owned oil and gas company in Indonesia, to convert local coal resources to ethanol using Celanese’s TCX® ethanol technology for use as a transportation fuel in the country.  While in Indonesia, I had the opportunity to meet with the US Ambassador to Indonesia, Scot Marciel, at the Ambassador’s residence.  The Embassy has been very supportive of our efforts and has provided instrumental insight and support into the opportunity.

Ambassador Marciel hosted a reception with members of “Commission VII” of the Indonesian Parliament to discuss the fuel ethanol project between…

Creating Customer Value

Clarifoil Film Showcased At Walmart Show 

Clarifoil have just returned from the Walmart Sustainability Expo – an invite only event exclusively for suppliers and buyers of Walmart.  This is the 3rd year that Clarifoil have attended, having previously exhibited compostable envelopes and breathable donut boxes.  This year was the launch of Clarifoil’s thermoformed packaging in the form of sushi boxes.

Traditionally, PVC has been used for this type of packaging however, there is strong drive to eliminate this from the supply chain due to its contribution to landfill, difficulty to recycle and the fact it is not made from sustainable sources.   RPET (recycled PET) is becoming increasingly popular, however this product has a finite lifetime due to…

Creating Customer Value

China, Celanese And This Summer 

One of the ever-present views of the economic climate is the slowing of China’s economy and the impact it’s having on the world. Celanese has major investments in Asia and China which represents about 20% of our annual revenues. So it has been a priority of mine to get a firsthand look at what’s happening there, to hear from customers, suppliers and to spend time with our employees.

Having just returned from four weeks in Asia I want to share some highlights of this trip. But before I do, let’s start with…

Creating Customer Value

Perception Can Be The Elegant Missing Key 

I have for a while now successfully replaced TV watching with watching TED videos. It makes me feel virtuous, although I do spend equal amounts of time on the couch — and by extension — not exercising.

Recently, one particular stream of thought spread across a few videos resonated with me strongly. It is this notion that often times what you should be solving for is the perceived problem and not necessarily the “described” problem. Let me give you a few examples (courtesy of TED and my own experiences).

Example: Six million pounds were spent on Eurostar to reduce the transit time between London and Paris by 40 minutes. For 0.01% of the money they could have instead put Wi-Fi on the train making…

Creating Customer Value

Busy And Loving It 

This is always a busy time for marketing professionals because there are many trade shows. As marketing communications manager for Celanese Emulsion Polymers, part of my job is the organization and oversight of our trade shows.   I was in India, Russia, Germany and Las Vegas – all within four weeks this year.  And, I loved it all. Well, maybe not that cancelled flight out of Delhi at 3:30 AM, but I digress.  

Trade shows are critical activities in our integrated marketing communication strategy to build awareness of our company, bolster our brand initiatives and communicate our…

Creating Customer Value

Innovation Tastes Sweet At Celanese 

Frankfurt – Last week I was in Europe visiting with employees and customers. I met many talented people and am learning more about Celanese’s innovation capabilities. I like what I see. The teams there are enthusiastically developing solutions for customers that address the needs of our society today and in the future.

Take beverages for example. In 2011, five out of the top ten carbonated soft drinks in the US had zero calories thanks to artificial sweeteners. These “light beverages” are gaining popularity because consumers these days want less