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Driving Sustainable Futures

December 13, 2021

Constructing Premium Products Starts with Selective Sourcing

Jeffrey Li, APAC Commercial Leader, CASE

Manufacturers should be selective about the products they purchase. Selective materials sourcing can add customer value and differentiate you from your competition. While selective sourcing might be more expensive in its upfront cost, the quality and sustainability of materials elevates the final product beyond the standard. It enables manufacturers to provide a premium product that sets them apart from their competitors.

Why Selective Sourcing?

When manufacturers use selective material sourcing to demand higher quality products, it creates a new expectation within the marketplace. Demanding better quality can influence suppliers to develop better products.

For some regions, selective sourcing can not only improve what the client and their customer receive but can also impact the sustainability of everyday projects. A prime example is a leading manufacturer of premium construction materials in China that was seeking to improve the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that were released during waterproofing. Trinseo was able to meet this company’s demands with a low-emission latex binder.

What are VOCs?

In China, ingredients are judged on the individual product’s ability to create emissions, but not when mixed with other materials. This is problematic for waterproofing because it does not account for how the mortar is made. During the application process, workers mix traditional latex with inorganic materials like cement or sand and the chemical reaction creates VOCs.

According to the American Lung Association, long term exposure to VOCs has been shown to cause a variety of health problems, including difficult breathing; eyes, ears, and nose irritation; nausea; and nervous system damage. At high levels of exposure, it could cause cancer.

China Case Study

Understanding the issues with VOCs, Europe and the U.S. have stringent requirements on the emissions created by waterproofing mortar. Materials are combined in an enclosed space, and the emissions are measured over an extended period to evaluate a product’s VOC levels.

For our client in China, they were seeking a waterproofing product that showed a better performance than what their competitors were using that met European and U.S. standards. Trinseo was able to supply them with a latex binder that met these elevated requirements, which enabled them to create a better product.

By leveraging western standards, they have established a reputation as a high-end manufacturer with products that offer premium performance properties and a lower environmental impact. Through selective materials sourcing, this company is not only diversifying the marketplace with a better, more sustainable product but also improving their competitiveness.

The lesson here: do not be afraid to ask for a better product. Suppliers will provide materials that are demanded by their clients and customers. While these products might have a higher cost, it will improve your market value against competitors.

Trinseo specializes in developing innovative materials that meet client’s individual needs, such as low-emission latex binders. We are one of only a few companies that can provide materials like this for increased VOC control.

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