Tote Notes - Summer 2018 - Vol 30, Number 3
Penetone is moving
By Jean Richard
As many of you know, in an effort to lower our manufacturing costs, the decision has been made to terminate our manufacturing operations in Carlstadt. The lease and other fixed costs associated with our building made it difficult to reach the profit levels desired.
This by no means that Penetone will not continue as an operating entity. During the last few months of 2017 discussions were held with our long-term toll blender in St-Louis, Chemisphere Corp. and thanks to some very attractive pricing and a strategic location (middle of the U.S. hence closer to some of our larger customers in the southern states) we have entered into a manufacturing agreement with this organization. While many of our products will be transferred to Chemisphere, we have also undertaken discussions with other toll blenders in the Carlstadt area and Texas in an effort to respond quickly to local customers’ needs and minimize freight costs.
All administrative services (customer service, H.R., payables /receivables /accounting) and technical services will be relocated in the same general area where we currently have our offices.
Our current lease in Carlstadt expires on December 31st 2018 at which time we have to be out of the building and have restored it to its original state.
This decision represents a major challenge and an extra workload for all involved. We have started to transfer some products to Chemisphere and should have terminated in the next 12-14 weeks.
While these situations are never undertaken with joy, our main objective is to attain a healthier bottom line thus insuring the long term viability of the company that has been in existence since the 1880’s.
Consolidated strength in South America
By Francisco Cerrillo
(Latin American Sales Manager)
Copec SA from Chile is Petron’s largest distributor in the world, and for over 20 years they have had a strong commitment to sell our specialty products in Chile’s highly competitive OGL market.
Two important events have recently taken place that consolidate Copec SA as the leading lubrication distribution company in South America:
- The designation by Copec SA of Terpel, who managed fuel operations for Colombia to additionally sell mining lubricants not only in Colombia but in Ecuador and Peru.
- The recent successful winning of a tender process with Codelco in Chile-- one of the largest copper producers in the world.
These two events open the door for Petron to grow substantially in a very dynamic part of the world by working hand in hand with a strong, committed partner like Copec SA.
For many years, Copec SA and Petron Corporation have been very successful introducing open gear lubricants where many other companies have failed. The success is sustained on very strong pillars: focus on customers, quality products, highly skilled support (people) and continuous improvement. This formula is part of a corporate philosophy that has allowed our companies to succeed together for over two decades and point to an even more promising future.
Congratulations and thank you to all our friends at Copec SA
Adaptation a key to longevity
By Jim Boyle
In an ever constraining age of emission control regulations, the petrochemical industry is called upon to adapt by improving technology and applications to meet new standards. Since 2000, chemical plants and refineries have been a major contributor to the 17% reduction of ozone concentration in the US. Additional regulations, continuing the advancement of these efforts, were finalized in 2015 with adaptations to the CAA, MACT I & II, NSPS, & NESHAP, to name a few. As we approach the end of a 3-year grace period, allotted to facilities operating flares, to install continuous monitoring systems (CMS) and meet operational requirements, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed amendments to the regulations set in 2015. The proposed amendments re-emphasize the EPA’s focus toward minimizing the use of flares, redefining the terms and limitations. While certain changes to definitions are advantageous; allowing operations to use fuel gas to improve combustion, as opposed to solely natural gas, one can only assume such changes will be accompanied by supplementary monitoring requirements and restrictions.
In response to the current and imminent emission control regulations, West Penetone’s STAR Team (Shutdown TurnARound) has formulated multifaceted, specialty chemistry to address emergent regulations. Emphasis of our research has been focused on advancing chemistry for scrubbing systems, effectively ensuring compliance with respect to H2S, VOC’s, SO2, and hazardous air pollutants (HAP) limits. Specialty products have been tailored to address application concerns including, but not limited to; static arcing prevention, foaming controls while promoting mass transfer, and mitigating and removing crystallization within caustic scrubbing vessels.
West Penetone, maintains over 100 years of adapting to meet the needs of our customers through developing state-of-the-art chemical products. Working hand-in-hand with your team to understand the specific requirements of every project, our team of engineers and chemists live by our slogan, “Your Cleaning Solutions Resource.” The West Penetone Family offers in-depth knowledge, reliability, and experience while cultivating new perspectives on chemical applications. Our STAR Team’s capabilities with lab testing, project monitoring, field expertise, and project planning will ensure success at every opportunity. Enhance your team, with West Penetone as your resource!
A new mining opportunity
By Jim Bittner
Petron got its start in the hard rock mining industry. But there’s a new mining opportunity sitting right on our desks. All of our computers are connected to the internet and our company’s networks where years of relevant data lie in a multitude of spreadsheets, data bases, and other data sources, waiting to be exploited for insight and profit. This data offers the opportunity of data mining.
Data mining is the process of finding anomalies, patterns and correlations within large data sets to predict outcomes. Using a broad range of techniques, you can use this information to increase revenues, cut costs, improve customer relationships, and reduce risks.
Few of us are able to live our lives without coming in contact with the ubiquitous spreadsheet. The old-timers amongst us will remember and probably will have worked in Lotus 123. The rest of us “youngsters” will only know of Microsoft Excel as it has become the de facto standard of the business world. Microsoft has continuously improved the functionality of Excel over the years but the Excel 2010 release saw a revolutionary change in functionality. The 2010 release included a free add-on called Power Pivot which has laid the foundations for data mining.
My first encounter with Power Pivot was when a customer sent me a spreadsheet that had several different worksheets and some contained pivot tables. I’d never seen a pivot table before but, when watching how quickly he could manipulate the data to extract different information from the data, it was clear that pivot tables have incredible power to summarize data.
I signed up for an online class to figure out how to create Pivot tables and found that projects that took hours of data manipulation and formatting now take only minutes. It’s an incredible tool that once mastered, can make report generation and modification incredibly simple. I now use Power Pivot almost every day.
Another recently released (if 2010 is recent) Excel function is called Power Query. Power Query is a tool used to import data from other sources (like a csv file, an Excel file, a database, even websites like Facebook and Yahoo Finance). The Power Query tool extracts data and puts it into a table that can then be manipulated with Power Pivot. The legacy Excel workbooks, with all of their different sheets that we’ve spent years generating, can quickly and easily be imported into one data table that allows the user to work with the entire data set. Say goodbye to copying the data from one spreadsheet to another to look at multiple years’ worth of data. Power Query can do it with a few clicks.
The next tool for data mining that Microsoft has released is Power BI (Business Intelligence), introduced in 2015. Power BI offers capabilities that include data preparation, data discovery and interactive dashboards that can be manipulated by the end users rather than relying on database administer or IT staff to extract the data sets for the user. There are a couple of key points about Power BI. First of all, it doesn’t modify the underlying data – its default is read-only so the underlying data isn’t changed. Secondly, Power BI has many options for visualizing the data to help make trends more apparent. It offers many different chart types with a library of user created forms available for free download from the Microsoft website. Finally, Power BI can send data to a variety of platforms, including Android and iPhone so that the users can get updated data wherever they have internet access. I now get a daily update on my phone with my pounds packaged and my labor costs on the prior day to help make staffing decisions in a timely fashion. There are thousands of uses far more valuable than what I am doing but I’m just learning how to work the tools.
So, how do you learn about all of these great Excel tools? I learned by taking an online class at https://www.excelcampus.com/ and watching YouTube videos. ExcelIsFun, ExcelCampus, Bill Jelen, and Leila Gharani all have great YouTube channels that I watch while my wife watches Netflix. I’d encourage all of you to poke around on the YouTube channels mentioned above. You might just find something that makes your job easier.
Kaurice Peters joined Petron this past quarter as a Compounder/Packager. Welcome.
- Tyler Kuiper – Petron– 3
- Dave Von Duhn –Penetone – 5
- Diane Broz – Petron – 5
Congratulations to all.