Personal care ingredients innovators nurture industry

Personal care’s behind-the-scenes ingredients supply chain has sat pretty for a while. But with traditions rooted in logistics, recently we have seen “as-a-service” come to prominence. There is a hunger for change and Leeds personal care ingredients distributor Surfachem aim to satisfy this demand.

Surfachem have actively operated within the personal care market since 1981, with firm UK roots and subsidiary offices in Poland, Nordic countries and Brazil. Their long and short-term goals are built around scaling their infrastructure to make the move from a UK-based company to a fully international operation.

The as-a-service concept began with cloud computing and enabled software to be repackaged as subscription services alongside highly sophisticated support. Following leaders, including Adobe and Microsoft, the trend has spread throughout technology and begun to influence other industries.

During the acquisition of ingredients, a supplying company’s influence on a client’s final product tends to be limited once their product is delivered. Historically it has been the case that suppliers can only compete with each other on cost, quality or service.

We’re looking to better understand both the end-consumer and our customer’s needs

Taking a more lateral and panoramic view of the entire product lifecycle process of the industry, Surfachem have developed a new and optimised form of the customer-distributor relationship, which evolves product provision into service provision. Born of a simple re-evaluation of marketing-sales perspective, this shift immediately facilitates retroactive and proactive support, and revolves around a deep insight into their clients’ markets.

“We’re looking to better understand both the end-consumer and our customer’s needs, and trying to respond to that. Quality and service are a given; we’re moving to provide innovation and ideas, along with the technology and advice to deploy them,” says Greg Barton, sales and marketing director at Surfachem.

Stemming from the realisation that the most effective way to promote their products was to demonstrate them in context, Surfachem identified value in this discovery and integrated it into not only their customer and supplier facing departments, but also into the service itself. This results in the distribution of ingredients with their end-product directly considered and enhanced cohesion throughout the distributor-client relationship.

Perhaps the most uniquely valuable aspect of Surfachem’s service is product concept development. The UK’s premier exhibition for personal care ingredients, SCS Formulate recently played host to the unveiling of Surfachem’s four new concepts. These are:

01 Active Beauty A range of care products offering synergy with busy everyday lives

02 Honest Products Focuses on accurate labelling and contents-honest products

03 Love Down Below Seen as niche, in reality a mass market, intimate grooming requires intimate hygiene and care

04 Mother and Baby Aimed at mothers during and immediately after pregnancy, this concept has a second range of ideas for babies.

Surfachem’s product concept development strategy and all four specific concepts have been met with great marketplace enthusiasm, as evidenced by a lean 4 per cent of customers feeling that customer service could be improved.

A projected 20 per cent growth in headcount (30 per cent in the technical/techno-commercial team) shows both Surfachem’s past success and investment in the growth of their sector support team. Their team is comprised of formulation experts with industry experience of concept development for leading brands and is structured to provide support at every stage of development for a very wide range of ingredients.

This is complemented by a brand manager, who acts as a liaison between brand owners and manufacturers, and has proven to be an asset whose value is self-perpetuating for both Surfachem and their clients.

To find out more about Surfachem’s products and services or to arrange a consultation please contact or use @surfachem on Twitter