In this interview, Jeff Cassidy from Evonik Jayhawk talks about their capabilities for production of custom specialty chemicals, and Jayhawk Custom Manufacturing's position in the evolving chemical industry.
WS: Please can you give a brief introduction to Jayhawk Custom Manufacturing - what are the types of services you offer, the types of materials you can make, etc.
JC: Jayhawk offers a wide range of custom-manufacturing solutions, providing essential flexibility to customers in specialty and agricultural chemicals. We practice complex chemical synthesis, managing anything from high-purity solvents to advanced chemical intermediates and active ingredients.
Our strength lies in offering our customers the continuous quality, efficiency and cost improvements that they expect within their own manufacturing operations. Doing this allows our customers to focus on asset allocation and dedication to their own priorities.
Agrochemicals enable the optimization of crop yields. Image credit: Shutterstock/Stockr
WS: Do you have any particular specialities in terms of chemicals you make or services you offer?
JC: Jayhawk is strong at handling highly hazardous materials including both raw materials and finished products. Core chemical competencies include acylation, alkylation, azo chemistry, carbonylation, chlorination, Grignard chemistry and nitric acid oxidation.
WS: What does Jayhawk offer that is unique in this space?
JC: Jayhawk takes pride in the relationships that have been built with our customers and the continued repeat business that has followed.
We offer an environment of trust, IP security and continual process improvement to enhance our cost position and deliver savings that keeps customers competitive. This has been demonstrated time and time again by our team of local and international experts.
WS: What are the challenges of running contract manufacturing projects within the modern chemical industry, with concerns such as resource efficiency and international competition?
JC: First, it’s necessary to focus on strategic areas of specialty chemistry. Too many competitors claim broad competence in handling any project thrown their way. If we feel we cannot offer the customer a timely, economical or beneficial solution, we will inform them promptly and propose other options that could be better alternatives.
Second, it was important to retain and upgrade assets during the peak period in years past when customers looked eastward toward low-cost-country-producers for their sourcing needs. Over that period there were many domestic manufacturers that divested assets or simply discontinued operations. Through the patronage of our valuable customer base, we managed our way through the difficult time, while still securing attractive new projects for our pipeline.
The business environment has since changed and today we are perfectly positioned toward significant growth with underlying support from the larger Evonik organization.
Finally, our creative management of co-product streams has led to minimal waste and an optimized cost positions for our customers. Customers greatly appreciate our ingenuity, innovative approach and our system for managing our business which includes ISO 9001, ISO 14001, Responsible Care and cGMP/FDA certifications.
Asset deployment is vital to effective custom manufacturing. Image credit: Evonik Jayhawk
WS: Are there any other trends within the industry that you have seen develop over the last few years?
JC: An emerging driver is security of supply. With customers gaining greater comfort in outsourcing key intermediates and multi-step syntheses, any potential disruption to their supply chain becomes increasingly critical.
It is highly important for custom manufacturers to demonstrate mastery of production planning and logistics to service customers on a global scale.
WS: How do you think these trends will evolve going forward?
JC: Further customer integration means that custom manufacturing partners are gaining access to projects much earlier in the planning phases. Custom manufacturers that have earned the trust of their customers will be relied upon to do more and more so that asset and capacity utilization are optimized. This is an ongoing evolution within our industry.
WS: Does Jayhawk Custom Manufacturing have any short- to medium-term plans for development that you can share with us?
JC: I can simply share that our business is strong, has an excellent diversity of projects and is poised for growth. Jayhawk is dedicated to serving as Evonik’s custom-manufacturing hub for complex chemical intermediates and actives in specialty and agricultural chemicals.
About Jeff Cassidy
Jeff Cassidy manages Evonik Jayhawk Fine Chemical Corporation’s Custom Manufacturing business. He has 27 years of experience within specialty chemicals in multiple roles that include Engineering, Plant Operations & Management, and Commercial Operations.
Cassidy holds a BS in Chemical & Petroleum Engineering from the University of Kansas and a MBA from Pittsburg State University.
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