Functions Provided

The commercialization of various types of chemical products requires of the operators:

  • different levels of expertise and proficiency
  • an organization matched to the functions provided

and the targeted application fields, that do not render these professions interchangeable, and justify their respective reasons for being.

Traditional cleavages between the various independent Chemical Commerce operators are gradually becoming a thing of the past. Indeed, many companies simultaneously :

  • handle several categories of chemical products,
  • intended for various application areas,
  • operate on the national and international markets,

and work in modes that involve distribution and acting as commercial intermediate between companies :

A – Distributors

Listed by the INSEE as “Chemical Product Wholesalers” under code NAF 46.75Z, they buy and sell in their own name and for their own account,

they manage a multitude of suppliers and customers as well as a wide range of products, offering their customers alternative choices,

they handle the logistics of their products (storage, transport and delivery), sometimes with their own means but increasingly often, with the assistance of external service providers.

They are differentiated in particular by :

  • breadth of their product range in one or several of the three categories: commodities, specialties or fine chemicals,
  • the characteristics of the services associated with the supply of the products: warehousing, formulation of preparations, reconditioning, split deliveries, waste collection, and also advice for the use of the products,
  • the location of their business and operational resources and their action radius (regional, national or even international),
  • the composition of their portfolio of suppliers and clients, in France and abroad,
  •  the main targeted application fields : various industries, human or animal health or food, requiring knowledge of the corresponding cultures by sector.

 A – Distributors

INSEE designates them as “Commerce Intermediaries” with various NAF codes – in particular 46.12B, for chemical products – acting for third parties, in their own names, or in the names of their principals.

They operate :

  • either individually, without any limits on the geographical zone, type of clientele, nature of product or brands,
  • or regularly and lastingly, more often than not as part of a quasi-exclusive partnership contract, more compatible with the types of products concerned and the required technical skills.
  • They share the fact that they habitually subcontract their storage and transport logistics, and are paid on a commission basis.
  • They differ in their procedure which classes them under the various following definitions :
  • Broker : independent, facilitating the establishing of relations between potential buyers and sellers, with a view to commercial transactions,
  • Commission-earning on purchase or sale : working as important or exporter, in their own names, but for their principals, with a possible financial risk (“Ducroire” convention),
  • Commercial Agent : Acting in the name and for the account of a national or foreign commissioning entity, representing it or selling its products, through a contract, most often quasi-exclusive, stipulating the products concerned, the nature of the targeted clientele and the assigned geographical zone.