2021 meant record sales for Stera Chemicals, one of the largest Romanian importers and distributors of chemical raw materials. At the end of the first 9 months of the year, the company recorded a turnover of 35 million euros, the highest since its establishment 22 years ago, representing an increase of over 120% compared to the same period last year.
Stera Chemicals sold more than 20,000 tons of goods, 55% more than the quantity delivered in 2020. The largest increase was in the segment of construction raw materials, where turnover increased by more than 250% compared to 2020, followed by the varnishes and paints industry, a segment with over 100% larger. 2021 also brought for Stera Chemicals the highest value of monthly sales: 7 million euros.
“At the end of the year, we estimate that we will reach a record level of sales of over 45 million euros,” says Alecsandru Rasidescu, CEO of Stera Chemicals.
Increases in sales of raw materials occur after 2020 when the activity has decreased in all segments. The largest decreases, over 60%, were in the rubber and plastics department, caused by stopping or reducing the activity of some local producers. To overcome this impediment, Stera chose to focus on specialties, products used in small quantities, but with a high value. For example, these are additives that considerably improve the performance of the finished product when added in a small concentration in the manufacturing process. Other types of specialties are special technical polymers, active substances with disinfectant properties, pigments, or special dyes resistant to high temperatures.
“In the last year we have expanded our portfolio with a series of disinfectants and industrial preservatives, which can be used both in the protection of materials and in the treatment of process water, resins and special epoxy or methacrylic systems, process additives, various varieties of rubber with special performances “, explains Alcesandru Rasidescu.
One of the most innovative companies in the industry
In recent years, the vision of the business has changed, the main goal now being to transform Stera Chemicals into a regional leader that will build a hub in the country through which to competitively distribute raw materials in Southeast Europe.
Achieving this goal involves a process of innovation throughout the organization, which aims at the complete transition to sustainable energy, as well as the digitalization of operational processes to transform the company into a paperless office, respectively into a “green” business.
“We have implemented a process of automation of our business ecosystem, regarding the internal circulation of documents, the reporting, and budgeting system for daily extraction of data from ERP and updating databases, as well as automation of financial processes and cash flow management,” adds CEO of Stera Chemicals.
Investments of 400,000 euros
The company has invested 400,000 euros in a data center that contains, among others, a Business Intelligence server, a tool that facilitates the internal decision-making process, and which is also a link between the logistics and commercial divisions, respectively the one dedicated to customers. The server updates information and reports every night, connecting to all internal databases, thus allowing employees to make high-performance business decisions in real-time and access customized reports specific to their activities.
To improve customer relationship management, the company is currently investing in a B2B platform that allows clients to quickly access their invoices and documents attesting to the quality of purchased products, from analysis bulletins, safety data sheets to technical documentation and miscellaneous types of certificates.
“We are currently working on interconnecting our systems so that every customer when accessing the B2B platform, can see the updated prices and stocks for the products used and can register an order in real-time. For electronically placed orders, a robot will automatically issue and send order confirmations to the customer, the order to the warehouse to be prepared, and the transport order “, says the CEO of Stera Chemicals.
Another recent investment of the company, which will be fully operational in about 2 months, is a top CRM system, that will enable customers to receive a quick response to requests, with an online chat for direct contact with the sales department. The system will soon be integrated with the company’s online platforms, the B2B platform, as well as with the ERP system. Management actions will be complemented by information campaigns related to market trends and support solutions of Stera Chemicals for the partner producers. The CRM will also integrate along the way the monitoring of customers’ orders delivery times, for the possibility of intervening in case of delays.
Stera Chemicals’ plans continue on the path of innovation, with the company aiming to allocate considerable budgets in digitization and robotics so that customers can enjoy a unique, professional, and completely digital experience. These will be complemented by the expansion of the product range and external expansion through new branches in Europe. Stera Chemicals currently covers 12 foreign markets without a presence in the territory.