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Ferris Chemicals Limited.

Incorporated in January of 1999 as Ferris Chemicals Limited, the company actually began in 1995 as Ferris Chemicals and Consulting, brainchild and namesake of Kevin Ferris, BSc, MCIC, cCT. Kevin wanted to stay in the Maritimes in spite of the difficult job market in his chosen field of chemistry and so chose to essentially make his own job. The original concept behind the business was to provide quality reagents through local, personal service to customers, rather than the faceless approach that is so often the norm.

The company began as a simple one man, one-room operation, a combined laboratory-office producing reagents for the pulp and paper industry, and providing basic laboratory technique training to customers.

After almost 5 years in business, during which the company has maintained a steady growth rate of approximately 40 percent per year, Ferris Chemicals has expanded to comprise two laboratories, a general office, separate balance room, lunchroom, and storerooms. The products now provided include pulp and paper chemicals, soil testing reagents, pewter darkening chemicals, pH and other buffers, and most common laboratory reagents. The vast majority of these chemical products are manufactured on-site in Saint John, NB. In addition to reagents, Ferris Chemicals also supplies products such as laboratory glassware, analytical instruments, safety equipment, and WHMIS training to customers, providing the convenience of one-source buying.

The rule of the company is judicious, steady growth and expansion, without incurring substantial debt, and thus going the way of so many small businesses. This policy has made it possible for the company to hire one additional person full-time, a co-op student, and casual labour on an as-needed basis.

The company has expanded product lines and customer base using the traditional Maritime method of face-to-face contact. Developing relationships with customers and, therefore, providing a comfortable avenue for feedback on service, and the ability to request additional services, has been of prime importance. Small customers are a specialty, with a friendly face and no request or question considered too small or peculiar being the rule. Ferris Chemicals has been pleased to satisfy requests for diverse things ranging from tote tanks of specialty chemicals, through to pest control and vitamin advice (these last two referred to specialists in those fields!).

A new area of endeavour for Ferris Chemicals is analytical testing. Following a steady stream of requests from established customers, analytical instruments such as an atomic absorption spectrophotometer, bomb calorimeter, and gas chromatographs - FID, ECD, and tritium source have been purchased. These instruments and others already in service for chemical production are currently being commissioned to fill this need. The estimated increased workload is expected to create at least one additional full-time position for a chemical professional in the immediate future.

With steady growth in chemical production, and analytical testing coming on-line, it has become necessary to have an internationally accepted quality control system in effect. To that end, Ferris Chemicals Ltd. has recently embarked on the road to ISO 9000 certification, the goal for certification being September 2000.

As Ferris Chemicals Limited moves onward into the new millennium, the corporate goal remains the original vision of Kevin Ferris: to supply reagents and laboratory products with quality, service and price second to none, to continually expand product lines to meet customer needs, and to provide these goods and services in a personalized way.

Beth Dunphy is the ISO coordinator with Ferris Chemicals Limited, Saint John, NB.

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Author:Dunphy, Beth
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Oct 1, 1999
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