May 29, 2017

Reinventing with a Customer Focus


Paul Kirsch, President of Fluoroproducts, shares his thoughts on reinventing existing products for new applications.

An image of Paul Kirsch, President of Fluoroproducts of The Chemours Company.


What drives Chemours to reinvent products?

We refer regularly to our mission of being a Higher Value Chemistry company. This mission springs from a foundation of proven products and technology. But it also means we neither produce nor reinvent products—no matter how unusual or interesting—just because we can. Instead, we work to develop products that offer value and reflect our commitment to being Customer Centered. Within Chemours, we’re the strongest advocates—the greatest champions—of our customers’ needs and goals.

How do you go about reinventing products?

We believe, first, in being listeners. We listen carefully to our customers. And, together with our customers, we also listen to their customers to determine how our chemistry can make their products better. We achieve this through our ability to expand our core technology into new applications and adjacent markets.

Second, we strive to be forward thinkers. We believe it’s important to devote time and effort to anticipate market trends and the regulatory environments that affect them. Such thinking ultimately serves our customers and enables them to get ahead of the changing environment.

Combining listening and forward thinking at Chemours has led to several reinvented products. For instance, we originally developed Nafion™ in the 1960s as a fuel cell membrane. Today, Nafion™ membranes store alternative energy. And Viton™ fluoroelastomers—originally launched in 1957 for the aerospace industry—have become an essential ingredient to make wearable devices more durable.

Who in your company leads the way for innovation?

We listen to our own, outside-the-box thinkers: our insatiably curious Chemours employees. Collective Entrepreneurship is another one of our core company values. It means we want to treat the company as our own. It means all ideas will be considered.

So as we strive to be a Higher Value Chemistry company, we’ve found we’re most guided by listening, forward thinking, collective entrepreneurship, and customer-centeredness. They’re powerful forces.

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This content was featured in the Chemical & Engineering News 05/29/17 issue.