To Overview

Oct 01, 2020



IMCD at 25: Our formula for success

Piet van der Slikke, Chief Executive Officer

In 1995, we took a look at the business of speciality chemical distribution and knew there had to be a better way.

As we celebrate 25 years of innovating and creating value, we look out on a whole new landscape shaped by our vision of transparency, trust and partnership. Early on, a management buyout established IMCD as its own independent company. That entrepreneurial spirit is what has brought us this far and continues to drive us forward today. 
From go-between to go beyond
Back then, a speciality chemical distributor was a go-between — a local buyer-and-seller in an increasingly global marketplace. We were one of many, with a limited footprint limiting our potential. That’s when we asked ourselves “What if…?” 
What if doing business was more than just a transaction? What if we brought knowledge and expertise in-house, so we could be a true partner? And what if these partnerships went beyond individual market borders?
IMCD headquarters - Rotterdam, The  Netherlands
As we celebrate and reflect on a quarter of a century, we see our vision has come to life. Today, we are an increasingly digitised distributor on the cutting edge: a formulation expert and solutions provider continuously adding value. With 3,000 team members across six continents and more than 50 countries, we have helped transform the business model of our whole industry.
A catalyst for change
Twenty-five years ago, distribution was disjointed. Manufacturers sold to us, not through us. We were a middleman, and we saw the opportunity to evolve. That’s why we were one of the first specialty chemical distributors to share information transparently. We built relationships of trust by delivering local expertise, sales data, and market intelligence through a single point of contact. Together, we modernised and became a true partner in sales and marketing.

From the very beginning, we’ve looked to innovative IT solutions that simplify our suppliers’ operations and support their growth. Coordinated inventory management, business process integration, and the digitisation of transactions are all examples of the benefits we’ve introduced over the years. Combined with our global reach, it allows us to build long-term value for suppliers and customers alike.
The right chemistry 
From coatings and lubricants to nutrition and personal care, we’ve grown to provide our customers the technical expertise they need to turn market trends into products that benefit the lives of consumers.

For example, we work extensively with key partners to develop plant-based foods to meet rapidly growing demand. We’re also collaborating on a new generation of more sustainable fabric conditioners, as well as reducing and replacing the solvents used in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Our global network of 49 technical centres actively provides analysis, formulation advice, and product development. Customers can test product performance, run stability and application tests, and experience new finished products with the support of our research scientists and technical managers.
Formulating the future
As we look to the future, we’re confident in the connections we’ve established and the relationships we’ve built. They’re what allowed us to grow from a small, regional player to a global leader in just 25 years.

Moving forward, we will continue investing heavily in technology to lead the industry forward. Our new B2B portal represents a leap forward in the transformation of how customers do business with us. It provides 24/7 access to product data, one-click interaction with sales managers, and a seamless experience across devices.

For our customers, we have developed an ambitious plan to increase awareness of sustainable alternatives. Our Sustainable Solutions app provides detailed product data on energy consumed, raw materials used, and waste produced, so we can all make the right choices.

In the end, our approach has not fundamentally changed. We remain focused on the value we can add to our partners. And we continue to ask ourselves every day, “What if…?”