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Building and retaining relationships with the senior executives of international businesses remains an important feature of our work. Rockwood Specialties is a global chemicals manufacturer formed in 2000, following a major divestment from Laporte.

It is based in Princeton, New Jersey and has 88 production facilities throughout Asia and Europe as well as North America. Sales are in the order of $3bn and there are 10,500 employees. The company has strong market positions in additives and materials processing. We worked with the management team both before and after the creation of the new company.

Rockwood's competitive advantage comes from its record of manufacturing excellence and its leading shares in pigments, specifically compounds and electronics. The company has benefited from strong leadership and a clear direction in times of significant change.

Our contribution has centred on helping managers to sustain performance and clarify the options for growth. We supported senior managers on creating a worldwide manufacturing and marketing strategy for the compounding business. Our work focused on a careful analysis of global supply chains – examining costs, technical capabilities, capacities and demand – for different product groups and in different continents.

The results demonstrated that supply chain costs could be reduced significantly while capacity was actually increased by the same proportion. This allowed managers to bring together more coherently the diverse plans for growth and prompted a substantial new investment in the UK. Meanwhile, we worked to create and keep up-to-date a manufacturing strategy for the pigments division.