Rohm and Haas- Vignesh Sivaguru Kathon 886 MW is a liquid biocide used in large metalworking fluid tanks

Rohm and Haas- Vignesh Sivaguru

Kathon 886 MW is a liquid biocide used in large metalworking fluid tanks (above 1,000-gallon capacity). Very small quantities sufficient to treat large tanks. It is 10x more effective than competitive biocides. Customers who asked for a biocide to use for smaller reservoirs (50-gallon to 100-gallon). Market survey shows this was the most common reservoir size for small machines. This led to the development by Rohm and Haas, of Kathon MWX.
Kathon MWX was a new biocide that killed microorganisms in metalworking fluids and is able to be used in smaller reservoirs. However, it underperformed in terms of sales expectations.
In the first 5 months, 74 boxes were sold against the first-year target of 1,350 boxes.
Joan Macey had identified a market potential of $20 million, saying that lack of awareness among small users was the problem. “We do not have enough competition to build demand”.
Both can be used in only 70% of metalworking fluids. Competitive biocides are only compatible in 45% of commercial metalworking fluids. This is a huge benefit of the Kathons.
There were a few products put out by competitors for central systems, including the Triadine-10, Gluteraldehyde, and Proxel. Rohm and Haas conducted tests to demonstrate that Kathon 886 MW was still most cost effective among competitors for central systems. The Sump Saver tablets were considered less effective against bacteria/fungi, and only worked for three days. Again, the Kathon MWX is a much more effective product. Dowicil 75 worked against bacteria and fungi but produced a horrible odor. Any attempts to rectify the odor generally backfired.

The main problems in this case were easily identifiable via the survey that Joan Macey conducted. According to the results, customers discarded used metalworking fluids after three weeks, which is about how long Kathon MWX works to keep fluid usable- however, compared to competitive products, less Kathon is required for the same effects. This information should be common knowledge among potential customers. Only 20% of participants remembered the Kathon MWX information packet, and even after being reminded were still apprehensive about safety issues. After an explanation, these fears subsided. This is a problem- the safety aspects, easiness of use, and benefits of the product should be first and foremost in consumers’ minds. If the information packet is not memorable, that is also a problem. The majority of users got their metalworking fluids from two or more small, local tool or supply shops within 30 miles of their businesses, as well as “one of the large national formulators.” This is also something worth noting.

The marketing strategy of Kathon MWX does not stress or put forth the values it offers enough. Customers should be given repeated exposure to the cost effectiveness, efficiency, and easy usability of the product, rather than a crowded information packet which end-users will not read. Customers need to have a sense of the brand- since Kathon 886 MW is a popular and well trusted product, associating Kathon MWX with its large reservoir counterpart is a good marketing strategy. Customers who asked for a small reservoir version should be contacted directly and offered two sample packets of Kathon MWX.

Overall, Rohm and Haas, like Joan Macey said, have a good product that has great potential. They simply need to make the potential customers aware of the benefits and value the product has to offer, the economic value of which is only one.