Cerexagri is the crop-science business unit of Arkema with annual revenues of about EUR 200 million. The company specializes in plant protection products, mainly fungicides and post-harvest treatment products for fruits and vegetables, where it is market leader. Cerexagri has over 70 years of experience in the global market. Headquartered in Trenton, NJ, UPI is the North American division of United Phosphorus, Ltd., a premier global supplier of post-patent technologies for more than 30 years. Today, United Phosphorus ranks fourth in the world among post-patent chemical manufacturers, producing more than 100 different herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides for use in agricultural and specialty crop markets in the United States and around the globe. For the purposes of Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) creation, management, and distribution, Cerexagri/UPI were using two separate legacy solutions, one for France and the other for the United States. The US division used in-house tools, while France used a third-party vendor, Promethues, no longer being supported. Additionally, limited support existed from the internal information technology group.
Cerexagri/UPI had a number of specific challenges that needed to be overcome by a new global MSDS solution.
Specifically these included:
- Limited IT resources and a strong preference for a “hosted” solution to allow the solution provider to function as the IT resource for maintaining the application.
- The need to distribute MSDSs real-time in conjunction with ordered products by interfacing with SAP sales orders systems.
- The varying requirements of customers in both the United States and Europe.
- The ability to expand outside the Safety Data Sheet scope by providing the ability to generate other HSE documents (tremcards for transport, exposure job profile, EU labeling, etc.).
- A phrase library capable of supporting all European languages (including Eastern Europe).
Cerexagri evaluated numerous commercial SDS solution vendors from around the globe over a period of many years. After careful review of all options, in 2006 Cerexagri selected The Wercs, Ltd. as their global hazard communication partner. A key advantage was the ability of The WERCS® hazard communication software to provide a worldwide solution in a “hosted” environment. Cerexagri determined that The Wercs had the established infrastructure and, importantly,
the real-world experience of managing customers in a hosted environment. The Wercs demonstrated a growing base of customers successfully taking advantage of this service and the most experience in the industry to support Cerexagri. Additionally, The Wercs had proven its ability to technically support the sharing of data necessary with SAP R/3 in this environment.
After selecting The WERCS, Cerexagri was acquired by United Phosphorus, Inc. (UPI). An additional requirement was added to the scope of implementation mid-project. This requirement included the need to have an additional SAP R/3 instance located at UPI’s facility in Mumbai, India, also communicate sales order data with The WERCS for MSDS distribution purposes. The WERCS software’s scalability and hosting simplicity and the implementation team’s flexibility allowed Cerexagri/UPI to quickly have a production system meet their initially identified business requirements as well as new requirements as the business expanded.