Our Logistics Specialist, Heath DeLaRoche, Talks NACD Workshop, Responsible Distributions

Article by Jane Gibson London, Chemical Distribution, page 74

Insight Onsite

Heath DeLaRoché of Palmer Holland, the North Olmsted, Ohio-based specialty chemical and ingredient distributor, learned a lot from attendance at NACD’s recent Responsible Distribution workshop in Providence, Rhode Island

Being handed the job of a Responsible Distribution code coordinator may, at first sight, seem somewhat daunting. A newcomer to the role, Heath DeLaRoché has recently attended the NACD code coordinator workshop to gain a little more insight.

“The whole workshop was filled with helpful information and offered the opportunity to ask questions. The discussions relating to verifications, changing requirements and continuous improvement were particularly helpful,” says DeLaRoché.

DeLaRoché found the optional training for the incoming code coordinators offered on day one very useful. New information was discussed, including any changes to the program’s require-mens. “It was good to learn what has changed and what is coming down the pipeline, giving companies the opportunity to change their processes,” he says.

The implementation of Code XIII, for example, with documentation now stored in an electronic format, means that cyber security is emphasized.

“People asked many questions – there were attendees from new member companies and also code coordinators entering the role, who wanted to come on board. They all wanted to know enough to be able to do it right the first time,” he says.

The course also introduced DeLaRoché to the mentor scheme. Mentors are available to all NACD associates, with members able to call them and pick up one-on-one time. “It’s amazing that potential competitors are ready to help,” says DeLaRoché

“It’s clear the feeling is that it is better to have consistency within the industry. Responsible Distribution has an impact on our community, and everyone feels it’s important to help others keep up to speed,” he adds.


On the second day, the course went over self-assessment reports and internal audits. “We looked at how to assess strengths and weaknesses of senior management commitment, Code I, down to Security, Code XIII. We also looked at assessing public warehouses so that the chain of custody remains intact,” he says.

”It was good to discover that rather than the audit being some surprise test, it is something that you work together on to build up. This gave a feeling of relief. As long as you integrate Responsible Distribution into your daily business plan, it will come as a welcome verification, rather than a surprise test,” says DeLaRoché.

DeLaRoché says the first thing he did on his return to work, was to sit down with his fellow code coordinator at Palmer Holland and look at where the company stood on Responsible Distribution. “I was eager to see how we had implemented Responsible Distribution. We went over each code to assess how it was mandated and documented in our system,” he says.

“I also wanted to see how the chain of custody, from the supplier to the carrier to the customer, was verified. Product stewardship means that you should be aware of how you are receiving a product and how your customer is using it. I didn’t see any gaps, but I saw that we have the opportunity for continuous improvement,” says DeLaRoché.

DeLaRoché also asked employees what their processes were to see what was happening and how. “The documentation was there, but it wasn’t necessarily labeled as NACD code documentation.” About customer service, DeLaRoché was keen to see what the employees saw as a red flag. “It came straight out of product stewardship – we are already doing it.”

DeLaRoché got the impression that new member companies felt that failure was the ultimate end, but the course taught them otherwise, especially given the clear support offered by NACD to those experiencing any difficulties.

“It just means you need to improve where necessary. If you miss a couple of things, then you go back and address them – and then come back even stronger. There is no reason that a company that is really trying, should fail a verification twice,” he says.

As a new code coordinator, DeLaRoché was also under the impression that it would be easy to stay verified, but discovered that there are always verification changes and continuous improvement is required to pass. Evidence of this is in the attendance of “veteran” code coordinators on the course, says DeLaRoché. “Having them there was amazing. It shows that it is a continual learning process,” he adds.

He also benefited from networking opportunities, meeting suppliers, other code coordinators and even some of the verifiers. “I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the cooperation and the drive to make it a better industry. There are now so many layers of people I can turn to, from internal staff members to the NACD, our mentor or other members in the code coordinator role,” says DeLaRoché.

DeLaRoché plans on keeping in touch with the other code coordinators he met, to support one another through their next verifications. He is also keen to use more of the online NACD resources presented and is taking an NACD U course online.

“I walked away with a better understanding of how important Responsible Distribution is – and how we mitigate risk by being part of it,” he says. ■


NACD often highlights the efforts of its members and their positive contribution to the industry – and this is your chance to share your achievements, thoughts and experiences. Each issue, this will be your forum. We want to hear about your experiences as a code coordinator. If you or one of your colleagues would like to be featured in the next edition of Chemical Distributor, please email Matt McKinney at mmckinney@nacd.com.

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Palmer Holland Named 2018 Smart Culture Award Honoree!

On an annual basis, Smart Business Magazine selects a number of northeast Ohio companies as honorees for its Smart Culture Awards. The evaluation is based on each company’s ability to maintain a culture that bolsters productivity, enhances job satisfaction, and creates a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

We are truly honored to be selected as a 2018 Smart Culture Award honoree! Thank you to Smart Business Magazine for this recognition and to everyone who makes Palmer Holland an amazing place to work! 


From SBN Online:

Palmer Holland Inc. supports a healthy lifestyle for its employee, and has implemented a company wellness program that promotes all areas of well-being — physical, mental, community, career and financial health.

Employees can earn free health, dental and vision benefits by participating in different healthy living activities. But, in order to earn the reward, people must complete at least one activity in each of the well-being areas the company lists. It is Palmer Hollands’s way of encouraging employees to have an all-around healthy lifestyle, which means more than just going to the gym every day.

Under the leadership of CEO W. Bryn Irvine, the company places a high significance on maintaining a work-life balance. To encourage employees to spend time with their families, they are allowed to have flexible work schedules and work remotely. The company has “use it or lose it” paid vacation and personal days to assure that employees spend quality time away from work. Employees are even encouraged to welcome their families to the home office.

The Palmer Holland kitchen often has spouses and children visiting over the lunch hour.
There is also a policy that prohibits employees from eating at their desks, which encourages people to get away from their work and eat lunch without a computer screen in front of them.

Palmer Holland Announces New Vertical With The Addition of Three Health & Nutrition Professionals


(L to R: Mike Barnes, Bret Horace, Charles Barber)

Cleveland, OH – Effective March 1, 2018 – Palmer Holland, a leading specialty chemical and ingredient distributor, is pleased to announce that it has added Mike Barnes, Bret Horace, and Charles Barber to helm its new health & nutrition vertical.

Mike Barnes, Business Director – Health & Nutrition, brings over 25 years of experience in the chemical industry to Palmer Holland. Previously, he held the position of Central Region Sales Manager at IMCD (formerly M.F. Cachat). He began his career in sales with Ashland Chemical Distribution (IC&S and Fine Ingredients Divisions) and Witco Corporation (Oleo Chemicals Division).

Bret Horace, Sales Director – Health & Nutrition, touts an extensive food and beverage industry background along with supplementary experience into pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals. In his most recent role before Palmer Holland, Horace held a similar sales position with Cargill Inc. He started his career as an account manager with Innophos (formerly Rhodia, Inc) before moving on to manage its Corporate Accounts program. From there he became the Business Director – Life Sciences for Brenntag Specialties, Inc.

Charles Barber, Technical Director - Health & Nutrition, carries a resume of 20+ years of experience in the food and nutritional ingredients space from industry leaders BASF Corp. and Archer Daniels Midland Co. He has held positions in a development lab, managed technical sales, and, most recently, worked as strategic oversight of science, regulatory, applications, and quality. Barber is also a professional member of the Institute of Food Technologists.

“Palmer Holland is ready to bring our depth of distribution and logistical knowledge to the food & beverage, pharma, and nutrition markets. This is an incredibly exciting time for our current and future partners,” says Barnes.

For more information, please email Mike Barnes at mbarnes@palmerholland.com or visit the Palmer Holland health & nutrition products page at https://www.palmerholland.com/healthandnutrition.


About Palmer Holland
Established in 1925 as Palmer Supplies Company, today Palmer Holland is a national specialty chemical and ingredient distributor with its headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio and 40+ account managers stationed across the United States. We are a private, employee-owned company which allows us greater flexibility in the marketplace and a dedicated platform for long-term success. This flexibility allows us to provide our customers and principals with the most effective and efficient solutions. Our partners are rooted in the areas of CASE (coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers), lubricant, personal care, agriculture, health & nutrition, and plastics markets. For more information about Palmer Holland, please visit our website at www.palmerholland.com.