As IWDC’s specialty gas program enters its second decade, PurityPlus continues construction of a strong house resting on a well-planned and well-built foundation. More than 15 years ago, several influential IWDC (Independent Welding Distributors Cooperative) members and the staff organised a series of meetings to explore growth initiatives.
One of the clear prospective pathways was an exploration of the specialty gas market. The marketplace was changing, both in increased demand and higher customer expectations. At the same time, specialty gas producers were consolidating, through both mergers and acquisitions, as well as an overall reduction in specialty gas production facilities. Many independent distributors had already recognised the opportunity and invested in some production and analytical equipment. The challenge presented was how to escape from the “me-too” individual branding association, while at the same time recognising the threat of a shrinking number of sourcing options.
The evolving plan began to crystalise. The preliminary defined needs were created around the markets many of the distributors found engagement. The resulting focus concentrated around production and quality assurance… and consistency across many individual offerings, all at the same time offering broad appeal to other like-minded participants: producers, internal distributors, and end-users. Putting the plan in motion, legacy capabilities were cataloged, specifications were agreed upon and published, and uniform local work instructions were defined and circulated. To provide a high level of customer assurance and marketplace differentiation, a programme of third-party auditing was defined and implemented.
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