Specialty chemical products make other products more efficient, durable, safer and cleaner. With manufacturing facilities on six continents, Chemtura Corporation is a leader in this highly competitive market, earning more than $2.2 billion in annual revenue in 2013 by selling a broad array of products in more than 100 countries – primarily in the transportation, energy and electronics, and agricultural markets.
For Chemtura, success hinges on continuous product innovation and the pursuit of new business opportunities. In 2012, Chemtura generated nearly 10 percent of its revenue from products that are less than five years old. By 2016, the company aims to increase that proportion of its business to approximately 30 percent.
Chemtura's leadership team sees market-focused innovation as a key way to accelerate growth in revenue and profitability because new products carry higher margins and differentiate their company from the competition.As a result, they need credible and relevant market intelligence so they can make informed product decisions.
"We're looking for information about how markets are trending and what kinds of new customer needs are emerging," said Dr. Venkat Madabusi, Market Scouting Manager in the Industrial Performance Product Division at Chemtura. "Are there different markets where we can sell our existing product lines or can we formulate new products to gain entry to new markets?"
Where Market Trend Searches Begin
Since 2006, Madabusi and his team have explored business development opportunities for Chemtura across evolving global markets by connecting to a wide range of information sources – both inside and outside of the company – using powerful knowledge search software called Goldfire®.
With this IHS Markit solution, Chemtura researchers have been able to conduct searches that are broad scope yet sharply focused. They can access a wealth of worldwide patent information (WIPO and USPC), reference books, standards, journal articles, competitor information, specifications and more.
More importantly, they find relevant
information more readily and bring it together into internal knowledge bases, so it can be leveraged more quickly and effectively for strategic planning.
"We use several tools and other resources, including consultants, to support new business development but each search begins with Goldfire," Madabusi said. "Before I do everything else, I jump onto the system to quickly get up to speed on a new topic. Then our team continues using Goldfire to fine tune the research – digging deeper to collect more information and make additional connections – so we can uncover new market trends and opportunities that we never considered before. Goldfire plays a central role throughout our market research process."
Today, our team is able to get business development research done faster, which can help the company reduce our time to market. Without Goldfire, it would take us months to pull together all of this information. We do it now – with the system – in just a few weeks and we get results that are much more useful.
Since 2013, Madabusi has served as Market Scouting Manager, providing business development research to the Industrial Performance Product (IPP) division at Chemtura. IPP makes petroleum additives that enhance the performance of automotive lubricants and industrial fluids and castable urethane prepolymers, polyurethane dispersions and urethane prepolymers for a variety of applications.
Business development research previously began with an "inside-out" approach, looking for new markets for existing products. Madabusi and his colleagues had developed a four-step process for each project. First, they identified product technology characteristics, relying heavily on patent codes in Goldfire. Second, they looked for markets for those characteristics. Third, they screened for a market fit. And finally, they conducted detailed market studies of the most promising findings.
Now, the Market Scouting Group is taking more of an "outside-in" approach. They set out to find and define new market needs and then determine which ones represent real business opportunities for Chemtura. Madabusi and his colleagues use Innovation Trend Analysis™ within Goldfire, a set of analytic tools that examine patent activity for a specific technology, company or inventor. This enables the team to quickly understand emerging market and technology trends and scope the competitive landscape.
"Once we've identified and analyzed a promising market trend, we ask our folks if one of Chemtura's existing products can meet a different customer need or we talk to R&D to see if we have the technology resources and capabilities to develop a brand new product. Again, it's an outside-in approach." With this perspective, the Market Scouting Group provides Chemtura decision makers with greater clarity for IPP product innovation strategies.
Achieving Faster Results, Deeper Insights
"Today, our team is able to get business development research done faster, which can help the company reduce our time to market," Madabusi said. "Without Goldfire, it would take us months to pull together all of this information. We do it now – with the system – in just a few weeks and we get results that are much more useful."
With better direction in the early stages of research, Madabusi and his team save time gaining insight to set a course for the rest of the process. They create custom knowledge bases to maintain a centralized, searchable place for all the information they collect, such as emails, documents and web content.
"We use Goldfire nearly every day. The system is easy to learn but its impact can be huge," Madabusi said. "It helps us step back and redirect our entire focus – understanding customer issues and then finding connections to innovative solutions outside of our current space."
Proven Value for Future Growth
Over the years, Chemtura market researchers have also routinely identified potential sales leads while using Goldfire.
Chemtura's leadership team clearly recognizes the immediate business value and the long-term strategic importance of best-in-class market research for driving innovation and growing their business. Their most recent annual report said:
"The world is changing fast, and so are we. We know that our future is linked to the major global trends that are driving our market sectors, and that's why we're moving confidently now to align Chemtura with these trends."