What should converters consider when looking for a genuinely strategic-thinking and acting polymer supplier? Here are some key factors that can help you make the best choice to optimize your operations:

3 Key Considerations: Location, Location, & Location

All converters have a polymer supply, obviously. But do they have a strategic polymer supplier?

One that does more than just funnel pellets but also considers the challenges, wants, and needs in providing a reliable supply beforehand? One that can keep a steady resin stream going amid daily logistical challenges that pop up regularly?

In business, location matters. Proximity mitigates several concerns.

Shorter shipment distances mean fewer opportunities for problems to sneak in along the way – whether those problems are mechanical, staff-related, or geographic in nature. Your shipment can’t get stuck in Nowheresville, USA if it never has to go through there in the first place.

Plus, shorter distances between a converter and its polymer supply can expand the number of viable shipping options, allowing converters to leverage what works best for their given situation. For example, trucking may be less feasible than rail if there’s a vast distance between Supplier A and a converter. And it’s harder to find truck drivers willing to do multi-day drives.

But if Supplier B is a shorter distance away, a converter might see a truck trip as having advantages worth taking. And it’s much easier to find and recruit drivers to make one-day trips.

Reliable Polymer Supply Is by Design; Not Coincidence

Reliable polymer supply doesn’t just happen. A reliable supplier helps make it happen by thinking strategically about their techniques, technology, and teams.

For example, a good supplier doesn’t wait for issues to develop. They run a robust preventive maintenance program to identify problems before they become disabling and ensure their systems keep running well – and that converter supply remains uninterrupted.

A good supplier also uses the latest tech – like analytics, and data analysis – to optimize operations and ensure both reliability and efficiency, along with better processes like innovative top loading silos that can have trucks ready to ship product within an hour.

Plus, a good supplier empowers its team to help its customers keep product moving along by monitoring shipments and making sure converters know the whats, whens, and whys of their shipments promptly – not well after the fact (and long after mitigation opportunities have passed by).

Don’t Put All Your Eggs (or Resin) in One Basket

Different parts of the country present different challenges at different times that can impact supply. Challenges like weather. Traffic bottlenecks. And other regionally focused events. Those challenges can affect polymer production and transit.

Having suppliers in different areas allows converters to maintain supply, no matter what happens in any particular region. So if Supplier A in Region X faces lousy weather that slows shipments, a converter can still get timely polymer supply from Supplier B in Region Y, which has no current weather issues.

Not only can supply be impacted by issues in a supplier’s region, but there can also be headaches caused by problems in regions between suppliers and converters, through which supply must pass in transit. That’s something that’s mitigated by having suppliers that are nearer to converters, as well as having supply sources in more than one region.

Having strategic supply spigots spread out from one another means converters can adapt, adjust, and overcome many challenges, both anticipated and by surprise, while minimally impacting a converters’ own production.

Shell Polymers Is a One-Stop Shop for Strategic Polymer Supply

From our location to our systems and staff, Shell Polymers’ new polyethylene plant in Monaca, Pennsylvania, was designed, built, and operated with strategic polymer supply in mind.

For example, our location in the Northeast puts us within 700 miles of most resin consumption in North America. For many converters, that means dealing with a single climate zone for our shipments. For trucking, that means customers could receive shipments the same day they’re sent.

Our plant will use preventive maintenance to maintain your continuity of supply. We’ll use AI, analytics, and data analysis to optimize operations and prevent problems from taking root.

We’ll also offer multimodal shipping. That will allow us to tap into either railways or trucking to ship product – whichever is the most efficient and effective for any particular scenario. Plus, each of our railcars are GPS equipped, allowing for accurate real-time shipment tracking.

And our Customer Relationship Coordinators (CRCs) will be around to help monitor your shipments. If there’s any holdup, they’ll be the first to tell customers so they can mitigate any related issues.

All in all, Shell Polymers will give converters the strategic supply option they need to optimize business opportunities through a resin stream they can count on.

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