Jan Leow's Press Blog

At My Wits End

My boss has asked me to develop new chemical product for sales into the market. Now, what are the products that I can develop? Previous endeavors were not successful. I am having a hard time here.

The Talc Masterbatch which Japan HQ has developed does not seem to have much success over here or even in other south-east Asian countries. Maybe in Japan the PP is expensive and using the Talc Masterbatch can significantly lower their cost. But over here, the PP cost was about US$1.31/kg, and the talc m/b after bringing it from China or Japan stock, with the usual mark up to cover for cargo clearance and profit margin becomes approx slight less than the PP price which does not contribute much value for customer at an add in dosage of 20%.

The talc m/b may improve the rigidity if it is needed but it also reduces the Izod impact strength. From what reference material that I gather, fillers does not necessary reduce the cost. But over here reducing cost by the manufacturer is always in their priority. If it doesn’t then it is best they keep the processing structure simple by just using the PP resin without mixing with any additive, since the addition of mixing other things into their production process makes it more complicated.

HQ may take pride that they are able to make the highest talc composition in compound at 80%. But they have lost the point of marketing concept where first you find out what the market wants before making the product to meet the demand. Instead they went for the product concept which is to make the best product and then see whether the market has any demand for it. Much akin to the idea, by making the best mouse trap, the customer will surely beat a path to your doorstep scrambling to buy your product. Nope, it doesn’t work this way.

It seems the plastic industry way of manufacturing and rubber industry way is different. Concentrating on the end-user customers does not seem fruitful.

I found out that for those customers that does use the talc m/b into their production process has someone supply to them the complete compound that not only includes the talc but other additives as well.

So I tried a different approach, by promoting to the local compounder. Checking the market, there seem to be quite a number of them around. Since we have other plastic additives, I tried to make a package by including flame retardant Aluminum Hydroxide and Magnesium Hydroxide. This too did not have much headway because the Japanese origin products are just selling at such a high price that I am out of the market price range. I also included additives such as UV absorbers and anti-oxidant.

But after a whole year of running around with not much luck, I too, lost my interest to promote it.

Next, were the Silane Coupling Agent and Mineral Black for the rubber industry. Well my boss intention was to use these products so that I can visit the customer and hopefully dig out information from the customer. But this I guess is a thinly disguise to check how well I could sell this product. But when I went round looking for customers, those that were interested have very low usage consumption. Thus my boss rejected all the inquiries. So no sale.

And finally my last straw, around early 2005, Japan made the mistake of sending the cargo into the port before receiving L/C instruction from customer. This was the biggest blunder from Japan and it caused me the most problem not only with Japan HQ and my customer, but it was especially so with my boss. Of course since this item and customer was under my charge, I am fully responsible for solving it. But the interference and accusation really breaks my heart. Eventually after a long eight months of agony the situation was resolved. But the stress and strain left me pretty exhausted. And now, whenever comes working day, it fills me with dread, stress, migraine and unhappiness.

I have decided I cannot continue in this company anymore. No, my career in sales and in this company is at an end. I had just about enough of cold calls selling products that I do not believe in. It also seems like the Japanese products are expensive than other European source thus developing customers is near impossible.

My boss successes seem to stem from Japanese customers who are willing to pay premium for the product. He knows many suppliers while I know nobody. He has contacts and good networking amongst the Japanese suppliers and customers.

Me? Where am I? Now I not about to look down at my skills. They are good. But my skills are worthless in this company and in this chemical industry. Where the success seems to be for whoever can supply the cheaper material wins the sales. Not much creative flare here.

So what’s my next step? My pay is rather high here, but I need to step out of my comfort pay zone. It may be necessary to get less pay to jump into another industry where I can exercise creativity like brand marketing manager. I have always wanted to try my hand at handling FMCG or consumer product where there is the implementation of marketing mix for pushing the products and doing all kinds of promotion is more to my liking. Don’t like to do personal selling, but would prefer mass communication.

Ah, my price to pay because I didn’t know much during my younger days. No proper career counseling and guidance. Didn’t have any good mentors contribute to my woeful existence. Too late for regrets now.

Still not too late to go on. Jump I must. Head out for new beginning. Should pick up entrepreneur skills too and start up some kind of side business that will supplement my income. Passive income is the best, but not easy to find. Have to keep going and got to do something different or I will never grow and find satisfaction in work and life. Have been thinking really hard and searching around for opportunity. What are the things I could do? What do I like to do? Where can I set up a business? Do I have enough capital? Can I get the support from my spouse and family members?

Many question and many directions. Which one is right for me? Only God knows and my prayers may be answered but I can’t get a clear connection for affirmation and guidance. I only got vague answers so far. I need to rest in God’s will but can’t seem to find it. So I have no choice but to forge on ahead by my own strength, which makes me ever more tired.

Never give up, never give in to life! Look through my options and make a bold decision to quit my job and carry on to the next level! There are dreams, and I should make a clear target for my goals. Let the fog of life part so that I can see the direction clearly!

Now go!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Blue Captcha Image


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.