BASF reorganizes pest, turf businesses

January 11, 2013 -  By

Jan Buberl explains the reorganization plans in a conversation during the recent Purdue Pest Management Conference in West Lafayette, Ind.


Tom Hill, left, communications manager of BASF Specialty Products, chats with Jan Buberl.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.—BASF is merging its U.S. non-crop market segments and centralizing related operations in Research Triangle Park (RTP) by March 31.

The involved primary businesses known as BASF Pest Control Solutions (PCS) and Professional Turf & Ornamentals (T&O), and secondary businesses including Professional Vegetation Management and Market Business Development, now collectively will be known as the BASF Specialty Products Department (SPD).

BASF’s Jan Buberl will serve as SPD director. Dan Carrothers, formerly PCS business manager, and Brian Lish, formerly T&O business manager, assume the newly created roles of SPD marketing manager and strategic account manager, respectively. Carrothers and Lish will report directly to Buberl.

BASF will continue to employ about 70 people in St. Louis—formerly the base of its PCS operation—so it can keep growing its manufacturing of pest control and T&O solutions there. The company has offered positions in North Carolina to approximately 30 PCS staffers currently based in St. Louis; the individuals handle research and development, regulatory and commercial market responsibilities. Redundancies resulted in the consolidation of just a few administrative positions.

“We’re very pleased to report that, based on initial responses and early acceptances, it looks like most of our PCS team in St. Louis will be joining us in RTP,” Buberl said.
In addition to a strategic account sales structure and approach, SPD sales also includes an inside sales force and a traditional field sales approach that’s divided into three regions for both key businesses. Three regional sales managers overseeing these territories will have both T&O and PCS field sales representatives reporting to them, and those sales reps will remain dedicated to the respective markets they serve. Both the inside and field sales teams will be led by Jim Derbyshire, national sales manager, who also will report to Buberl.

During the recent economic downturn, a growing number pest management professionals (PMPs) and lawn care operators (LCOs)—especially professionals in the Southeast, West and on the Gulf Coast—branched out to serve both markets. Buberl said merging BASF’s pest and turf market operations will place the company in a position to better serve professional customers.

Another consideration for BASF is “post-patent events.” The company has several active ingredients in the pest and turf markets that already have gone or will be going off-patent within a few years, prompting additional competition.”We’re already in a full post-patent event for Termidor on the pest control side, and we have been for three years,” Buberl said. “We’ve successfully maintained and managed that active ingredient by bringing new innovation to that product.”

It’s similar on the turf side, with a post-patent event approaching in the fungicide category. “We want to proactively apply a similar
innovation strategy there,” Buberl said.

Buberl said the reorganization will foster increased cross-pollination of ideas, as well as drive cost savings that will be reinvested in innovation. For the pest management market, BASF’s four-pillar promise is to:

  1. decrease labor costs on termite jobs 30 percent to 80 percent;
  2. further reduce callbacks 15 percent to 20 percent;
  3. introduce a minimum of one to two related innovations every year; and
  4. support the industry (national, regional and local industry associations, as well as professionals on a local level).

“Having these businesses come together as one strengthens BASF and its commitment to the specialty markets, and the acquisition of Becker Underwood, underscores a continued commitment and investment to grow,” said Nevin McDougall, senior vice president, North America for BASF Crop Protection. “The new SPD unit will be built to last for the long term, while meeting the needs of customers in these markets.”

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