Careers at Dow Chemical
The Dow Chemical Company’s mission is to passionately create innovation for its stakeholders at the intersection of chemistry, biology, and physics.
The Dow Chemical Company is a provider of chemical, plastic, and agricultural products and services. The firm operates five reportable business segments:
- Agricultural Sciences – Provides crop protection and seed/plant biotechnology products and technologies, urban pest management solutions, and healthy oils.
- Consumer Solutions – Provides ingredients and formulations designed to add value to products in the food, pharmaceutical, home care, and personal care industries.
- Infrastructure Solutions – Provides construction and industrial products such as architectural and industrial coatings, building insulation, construction material ingredients, adhesives, water technologies, and microbial protection for the oil and gas industry.
- Performance Materials & Chemicals – Provides products in three technology categories: Chlor-Alkali and Vinyl, Industrial Solutions, and Polyurethanes.
- Performance Plastics – Provides products in five categories: Dow Elastomers, Dow Electrical and Telecommunications, Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, Energy, and Hydrocarbons.
In 1890 Canadian-born chemist Herbert Dow persuaded three businessmen to financially back a project of his involving underground reservoirs of brine in Michigan. His goal was to extract bromide and other chemicals from the brine, which at the time was only being used for salt. The businessmen invested and Herbert formed Canton Chemical to carry out the activity, but the business failed.
Herbert spent a few years improving his process, and was eventually able to extract bromide through the use of electrolysis. In 1897 he founded another company to perform the task, called Dow Chemical. It began selling potassium bromide and bleach to industrial customers, eventually achieving an output of 72 tons of bleach per day by 1902. One of its top clients was Kodak.
Dow garnered significant success, and used it to expand its product line, diversifying into plastics, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural chemicals. In the 2010s it began shedding its commodity chemical businesses, focusing on specialty chemicals. In December 2015 it said it would be combining with DuPont to form DowDuPont, which would split into three firms within two years of the merger.
Business model of Dow Chemical
Dow has a niche market business model, with a specialized customer segment. The company targets its offerings at manufacturers of products using specialty chemicals, advanced materials, and plastics. These include firms in the food, transportation, medicine, personal care, and construction sectors.
Dow offers one primary value proposition: brand/status.
The company has established a powerful brand due to its success. It is known as the “chemical company’s chemical company” due to the fact that it sells more items to other industries than end users. It is the third largest chemical firm in the world by revenues, after Sinopec and BASF. It markets more than 6,000 product families and sells its offerings in 180 countries. In 2015 it generated $49 billion in revenues and employed 53,000 people globally. Lastly, it has won many honors, including seven R&D 100 Awards from R&D Magazine, two Agrow Awards for its Dow AgroSciences unit, and two Golden Mousetrap Awards, all in 2015.
Dow’s main channel is its direct sales team. The company promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, sports sponsorships, and participation in expos and conferences.
Dow’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service nature. Customers utilize its products and services while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website features the “Dow Answer Center”, a self-service database providing technical information about its products.
It also features the “Dow eLibrary”, which provides Safety Data Sheets for its products. The site enables visitors to sign up for an e-mail newsletter offering recent news, reports, and information about the firm. That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of phone and e-mail support.
Dow’s business model entails designing, developing, manufacturing, and distributing its products for customers.
Dow’s key partners are the suppliers who provide the raw materials it uses to manufacture its products – primarily chlorine-based and hydrocarbon-based raw materials.
Dow also forms alliances with various groups for differing purposes, as follows:
- Academics – Academic institutions the company works with to advance research and develop the next generation of scientists.
- Industry – Chemical trade associations and professional organizations the company supports in order to promote the importance of chemistry. It provides funding and shares technical expertise and best practices. Specific partners include TRANSCAER, the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the Materials Research Society.
- Government – Governmental agencies and institutions the company works with to advance the role of chemistry in solving the world's top challenges. It forms research partnerships through which it shares insight into scientific applications and collaborates on breakthrough solutions. It also lends support for the development of science-based regulations, laws, standards, and practices. Specific partners include the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the European Commission, Fraunhofer, and the China Association for Science and Technology.
- Non-Governmental Organizations – NGOs the company works with to share information, develop research projects, and collaborate on innovations in the area of sustainability. Specific partners include The Nature Conservancy, Habitat for Humanity, the Clinton Global Initiative, Acumen, the Global Water Challenge, and CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project).
Dow’s main resource is its intellectual property, which includes 4,651 active United States patents and 19,541 active foreign patents. The company also depends heavily on physical resources, namely the 179 manufacturing sites it operates in 35 countries.
Lastly, it relies on its team of 6,000+ scientists who have expertise in Analytical Science, Catalysis & Synthesis, Engineering Science, Formulation Science, High Throughput Capabilities, and Materials Engineering and Modeling.
Dow has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through low-price value propositions. Its biggest cost driver is cost of sales, a variable expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of sales/marketing, research/development, and administration, all fixed costs.
Dow has one revenue stream: revenues it generates from sales of the products and related services to its customers. They are sold through short- and long-term contracts.
info: Andrew N. Liveris earned a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Queensland. He previously held several senior leadership roles at Dow, including President, Chief Operating Officer, and Group President for Performance Chemicals in the U.S.
info: James R. Fitterling earned a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Missouri - Columbia. He previously held several senior leadership roles at Dow, including Vice Chairman, Business Operations.
info: Joe E. Harlan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Finance at Indiana University. He previously served as Executive Vice President of the Consumer and Office business at 3M Corporation and as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of GE Lighting.
info: Howard Ungerleider earned a Bachelor's degree at the University of Texas and an MBA at UCLA. He previously served as Executive VP of Dow’s Advanced Materials division and as President of its Performance Plastics division.
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