With it's recent acquisition of Becker Underwood now finalized and in its rear-view mirror, BASF made news again today with the announcement of a reorganization of its specialty products businesses.
The company is combining its pest control solutions (PCS) and professional turf and ornamental (T&O) businesses, along with secondary businesses including professional vegetation management and market business development, into a single collective business unit that will be known as the BASF Specialty Products Department. The company will continue to serve each respective market, but will do so as a single business unit under the direction of Jan Buberl, the director of specialty products.
"We've had a clear strategy in our operations in recent years that has centered on two things: innovation and end-user orientation," Buberl told GCM this morning. "We've been pretty successful in implementing those two things and are pretty pleased with where we are. But as we've moved forward, we continued to ask ourselves how we could get better, how we can fulfill customer needs better and how we can stay ahead of the curve. One of the results of that re-examination is the news we've announced today."
As a part of these changes, the business manager roles in both the PCS and T&O groups are being consolidated. Dan Carrothers, formerly the PCS business manager, and Brian Lish, who filled that same role in turf and ornamentals, will be assuming the newly created roles of specialty products department marketing manager and strategic accounts manager, respectively. Both men will report directly to Buberl.
There will also be structural changes in BASF's sales efforts in this market, although end-users like superintendents should see few changes in who they buy product from. Specialty product sales will feature both an inside and traditional field sales approach divided into three regions. Each of those regions will have regional sales managers overseeing operations, and will have both PCS and T&O field sales reps reporting to them. Those sales reps will continue to serve their respective individual markets. All sales teams will be led by Jim Derbyshire, national sales manager.
Finally, this move will also result in the PCS business, currently located in St. Louis, Mo., relocating to Research Triangle Park in North Carolina.
Buberl told GCM that today's announcement and the recent acquisition of Becker Underwood, a manufcaturer of biological seed treatments, seed treatment colors and polymers, and a host of biological prodcuts for the turf industry, were not necessarily a cause-and-effect situation, instead calling the Becker Underwood move "another piece of the puzzle.
"We really came to the conclusion that this new structure was in our best interest on a parallel path with the acquisition. Really, it just made these changes more attractive. It broadens the pool of potential innovation available to us and, ultimately, available to our end-users. It will just accelerate the way we can make innovation happen."