Materials

40 Years of Experience Within the Industry

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With almost 40 years of experience, SAI has analyzed all sectors of the materials industry, including plastics, metals, ceramics, advanced composites, paper and nonwovens. In addition, SAI has analyzed such critical issues impacting the industry as intra- and inter-material competition, internationalization, vertical integration, and government funding and support. Furthermore, SAI has evaluated all the major end-use markets for materials globally. Our team has technical and business degrees, as well as years of commercial experience to understand key technology and business subtleties impacting the materials industry. Our experience, knowledge base and highly trained staff positions us well to explore your growth options, address challenges within your industry, analyze investment and acquisition opportunities, and support your corporate decisions.

Each year, SAI successfully completes over a dozen projects involving ceramics and high-performance ceramics (HPC), ranging from powders to fabricated shapes. As a result of its project experience, SAI is fully aware of the important suppliers of key ceramic raw materials and major customers worldwide.

CASE EXAMPLE: CERAMICS

OBJECTIVE: 

For a client that developed a new ceramic raw material, SAI undertook a study to characterize customers’ needs for and attitudes toward the material

APPROACH: 

SAI characterized the decision-making process utilized by potential customers and identified possible product-development partners to evaluate our client’s material during the course of the study

RESULTS: 

This real-time feedback enabled the client to tailor its material to meet the needs of the potential customers, retain its value proposition, and approach specific customers to initiate its sales process

CASE EXAMPLE: HIGH-PERFORMANCE CERAMICS – GLOBAL

OBJECTIVE:

SAI’s client had developed novel technology to produce powders for high-performance ceramics (HPC).  In fact, the client had brought the development project to the pilot plant stage with the hope of penetrating the market worldwide with its new materials.  Based upon its preliminary feedback from government laboratories, the outlook for the quality of its material was favorable.  SAI was asked to undertake a worldwide assessment of the market potential for this material

APPROACH:

As part of its proven approach to strategic market assessments, SAI prepared and mailed to potential customers an information package describing the new materials, including particle-size distribution analysis, X-ray defraction pattern, comparison of impurity levels, TEM and SEM micrographs, and chemical analysis.  SAI used its existing extensive network of contacts among commercial users of the target materials to evaluate the client’s powder compared with competitive alternatives.  SAI analyzed the feedback by geographic region, type of material and application.  In contrast to the client’s initial feedback from government laboratories, commercial users rated the material no better than what was commonly available and clearly no better than the leading material commercially available from a Japanese producer

RESULTS:

Since SAI’s client was not an ongoing participant in the HPC business and this new powder technology was to be its base for entering the market, SAI recommended that the client minimize its further investment and attempt to sell or license the technology.  This is the course that the client pursued.  In fact, SAI found a company to purchase the client’s equipment

SAI’s experience in composites ranges from reinforced plastics to advanced polymer and ceramic- and metal-matrix composites.

SAI has analyzed various aspects of this industry, including:

  • Outlook for new composite materials
  • Current and potential competitors
  • Future role of subcontractors
  • Outlook for specific applications
  • Potential acquisition candidates
CASE EXAMPLE: ACQUISITION ANALYSIS

OBJECTIVE: 

SAI completed a complex full-scale assessment of a major supplier of advanced polymer composites in two weeks because of the demands of the acquisition bidding cycle

APPROACH: 

SAI interviewed dozens of customers and key competitors to assess the outlook for the market and the target acquisition candidate

RESULTS: 

As a result of the study, SAI’s client became aware of potential problems with the target operation’s market position and lowered its bid accordingly

CASE EXAMPLE: FABRICATOR

OBJECTIVE: 

For one large publicly-traded company interested in acquiring a small privately-held fabricator of advance polymer composites, SAI undertook a study to:

  • Assess the market in which the target company participate
  • Analyze the target company from an acquisition perspective
  • Evaluate synergies between the target and the client companies by interviewing a representative sample of the client’s customers

APPROACH: 

To successfully complete this project, SAI conducted numerous interviews with the target company and its competitors, customers and other knowledgeable industry participants in order to assess the market, industry dynamics, key success factors, and the current and likely future competitive position of the target company

RESULTS: 

As a result of its analysis, SAI concluded that the future annual growth for the target company was only approximately two-thirds of what was projected by the target company during its initial discussions with its potential suitor. In addition, SAI accurately determined the level of synergy between the target company’s business and the client’s current customer base. As a result of these two items, the client adjusted its financial analysis of the target company and the structure of the offer. Ultimately, the client successfully acquired and integrated the target company

SAI has successfully completed over 200 assignments assessing the market, the industry participants and/or the strategic issues related to many different metals and alloys, ranging from raw materials to finished products.

SAI has analyzed the markets for many fabricated metal products, including aircraft and automotive components, pipe, fittings, shelving, cans, containers, cylinders, vessels, lamps and fixtures, specialty metal cabinets, wire, and many others

CASE EXAMPLE: COST BENCHMARKING PROJECT – CHINA

OBJECTIVE:

A leading global producer of premixed Carbonyl Iron Powder (CIP) approached SAI to assist with their market intelligence in China. Metal injection molding is a key application for Carbonyl Iron powder in China, however there is a competing process (Investment Casting) which may threaten the commercial potential of CIP. The client required an understanding of the market potential and popularity of each method (metal injection molding and investment casting). The client selected three target metal injection molding producers and three investment casting companies to use as an example study of costs and processes used

APPROACH:

SAI developed information and analysis through over 250 interviews mainly with CIP and MIM producers and also with industry experts and raw material suppliers

RESULTS:

Provide detailed analysis of each target company including cost model (detailed manufacturing cost breakdown and sales and marketing), company background and plant and investment descriptions

Identified the relative importance of decision factors for selecting MIM and IC as a process and an overall industry SWOT analysis of each

CASE EXAMPLE: COPPER - SOUTHEAST ASIA

OBJECTIVE:

A leading organization for the promotion of copper would like to analyze copper density, consumption and growth opportunities in the electric fan market in Southeast Asia, and the correlation between energy efficiency of electric fans and copper usage. SAI was asked to provide analysis of:

  • Current market status of electric fans in Southeast Asia
    • Market size
    • Leading players
    • Product types
  • Total copper consumption and overall copper density of electric fans in Southeast Asia
  • Correlation between copper consumption and electric fan energy efficiency
  • Current electric fan energy efficiency standards and labeling status in Southeast Asia and expected future trends
  • Electric fan energy conservation potential in different Southeast Asian countries and forecast demand for fans and related copper consumption
  • Recommended tactics and measures for ICASEA to increase copper usage by facilitating development of higher energy efficiency in electric fans

APPROACH:

SAI developed information and analysis through 150 interviews with electric fan suppliers, 92 interviews with component suppliers and 43 interviews with government agencies, industry associations etc.

RESULTS:

SAI analyzed the electric fan markets in selected countries, concerning:

  • Electric fan supply/demand 2009 and market demand for electric fans
    • Energy efficiency standards for residential fans, electric fan supply and supply chain
    • Copper consumption 2009 and current and projected copper density of electric fans
    • Copper consumption forecast 2014
  • Profiled key producers of electric fans in selected countries

SAI’s extensive experience in nonwovens extends across consumer, industrial and healthcare applications. SAI has analyzed markets, companies and technologies involving roll goods and finished products for clients around the world

CASE EXAMPLE: LOW-COST COUNTRY SOURCING - CHINA

OBJECTIVE: 

SAI’s client, a major consumer of chemicals and fibers used to manufacture paper and nonwovens, challenged SAI to find low-cost but qualified producers of these key raw materials in China to support its growing Asian operations

APPROACH: 

SAI undertook a three phased approach to identify and screen potential suppliers, evaluate the most attractive candidates and introduce them to the short list of candidate suppliers

RESULTS: 

The client formed a contract with one supplier

CASE EXAMPLE: OPPORTUNITY ASSESSMENT - JAPAN

OBJECTIVE: 

A client that had developed a microporous nonwovens product for one successful application in Japan asked SAI to identify and analyze other applications in Asia in order to increase production levels and, subsequently, lower manufacturing cost through economies of scale

RESULTS: 

SAI identified a dozen opportunities and narrowed the list to the three most attractive based on fit, market size and growth, competitive environments, and profitability

SAI has a strong understanding of the paper industry, including both the qualitative character of the business and such quantitative aspects as size, growth, profitability and market shares. This knowledge base extends to all domestic, European and Far Eastern markets. The company has completed various projects involving topics ranging from finished paper products to raw materials, manufacturing processes and capital equipment, as shown on the following pages

In the paper industry, SAI has completed a number of market studies and company analyses involving specialty-coated paper stocks, carbonless paper, newsprint and so forth

Also, SAI has completed dozens of studies involving minerals and raw materials used by the paper industry

CASE EXAMPLE: ADHESIVE TAPE – CHINA

OBJECTIVE: 

For a Western manufacturer, SAI assessed the Chinese market for paper-based pressure sensitive adhesive tape used in masking applications in China, including automotive, general purpose, etc.

APPROACH: 

To complete the assignment, SAI conducted about 170 interviews throughout the value chain, including paper producers, converters/PSA tape suppliers, OEM customers, etc.

RESULTS: 

SAI provided a detailed analysis of the market size and growth, value chain, key competitors, unmet needs and opportunity for a new supplier.  SAI made specific recommendations regarding its client’s preferred product, price, location and promotional activities to successfully penetrate the market, which the client followed

CASE EXAMPLE: COATED PAPER

OBJECTIVE:

SAI undertook a focused survey of select customer groups to develop insights into why its client, an international paper producer, had experienced recent loss in market share

APPROACH:

SAI interviewed appropriate decision makers/influencers (e.g. Purchasing Manager/Buyer, Paper Coordinator, Plant Manager/Supervisor, Marketing/Sales Manager) within three customer groups (large national printers, commercial printers and merchant distributors) to gain insights into market, customer and competitive dynamics impacting customers’ paper purchases, selection of paper suppliers and their perceptions of SAI’s client and direct competitors

RESULTS:

SAI identified specific market-related factors (outside the client’s control) and client-specific factors (within the client’s control) that helped explained the market share decline and, thus, provided direction on what issues for our client to address to fix the problem. The client was so pleased with this insight that it commissioned a follow-on study with SAI to help set performance criteria for its customer service group and to identify unfulfilled needs based upon additional in-depth interviews with customers

SAI’s experience in the plastics industry includes fabricated parts, films, and allied products manufactured from a variety of polymers, as well as related equipment and processes, as indicated on the following page. Each year, SAI successfully completes over 35 assignments in the plastics industry worldwide

CASE EXAMPLE: ABS ENGINEERING POLYMERS - CHINA

OBJECTIVE: 

SAI’s client, a leading ABS producer in the world, wanted to establish a ABS manufacturing base in China and also wanted to understand the positioning of key competitors in this rapidly expanding market.  The client asked SAI to provide:

  • General information for China economy
  • ABS/SAN industry overview
  • ABS/SAN supply and demand in China by region and application
  • Profiles of key competitors in China/Taiwan

APPROACH: 

SAI conducted analysis on the Chinese ABS market using 250 field interviews with key ABS producers, customers, and knowledgeable industry sources

RESULTS:

  • The project provided a China macroeconomic overview and a future growth trend in the next seven years
  • SAI investigated the overall ABS production and consumption by regions (Huanan, Huadong, and Huabei and others).  Based on current producers’ expansions and the entry of new players in the market, SAI estimated the ABS production in the next seven years.  SAI also forecast key ABS consumption regions in the next seven years
  • And then, the project profiled fourteen key domestic ABS suppliers and estimated their production capacity in the next seven years
  • The client chose one of the key ABS application industries and SAI analyzed and forecast the ABS consumption in the target application industry in the next seven years
CASE EXAMPLE: FOOD PACKAGING - ASIA

OBJECTIVE:

SAI’s client, a world-leading supplier of innovative plastics solutions, and is among the world largest producers of plastics used in the food packaging industry. The client required an in-depth understanding to assist in their strategy for pursuing opportunities in flexible packaging in the food and beverage sector in Asia (China, Japan, Indonesia, and Vietnam)

APPROACH: 

SAI developed information and analysis through 750 interviews in the target regions (China, Japan, Vietnam, and Indonesia) with suppliers, producers, packaging converters, processors, and distributors in the target industry

RESULTS:

  • Identified key trends in key market segments in relation to their impact on PE resin demand
  • Developed key project information, such as target material demand volume by segment, forecast demand for target materials by segment
  • Analyzed results from each target region and advised client on potential opportunities and value propositions for plastic products in Asia’s food and beverage industry