• Case Study

Michelman

Teams around the World

Michelman provides the testing and engineering behind innumerable products, like paper, film, inks, and adhesives, from everyday household goods to specialized industrial ingredients used all over the world. Since their laboratories and product development teams span the globe, Michelman’s employees were frequently held back from cross-laboratory collaboration by geography. To bring their ideation teams across their technology, supply chain, and marketing departments into a global conversation, they turned to Kindling.

With a presence in Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Mumbai, Singapore, Shanghai, and the United States, sharing and tracking ideas in real time was nearly impossible for Michelman researchers and engineers. Through its focus on global collaboration from both usability and architecture perspectives, Kindling helps Michelman’s team members to cope with the language and physical barriers to collaboration in an efficient and effective manner.

A Roadblock in Europe, Solved in the US

A European Michelman lab team had a problem with a dye that was holding up development on one of their products: the dye in the product had a tendency to yellow under certain conditions, which made it unreliable for some use-cases. The European researchers weren’t coming up with the solution as fast as they needed to, so they launched a Campaign in Kindling to solicit ideas from other Michelman R&D teams across the world.

In the conversation that followed, participants all over the world contributed ideas and helped to develop the suggestions of others, drawing on their own experiences and specific knowledge to participate in a multilingual exchange about the yellowing issue. Some ideas sparked others; some were quickly found to be unworkable solutions. Soon, someone posted a suggestion that solved the problem, and the person who offered the solution turned out to be a researcher in an American lab.

Shortly after launching their campaign, the European R&D team was able to test and implement a new iteration of the dye that didn’t yellow, and the product went into production and onto shelves worldwide. Without the ability to collaborate with teams on other continents, the conversation that produced the solution would have been limited to the researchers in just the European lab—costing them valuable time and resources and holding up production indefinitely.

Global Goals, Global Conversations

For Michelman, the dye conversation wasn’t just a one-off success. Michelman’s primary use case for Kindling is to post challenges in the form of Campaigns around issues that a project’s assigned technologist has not been able to overcome alone. Kindling Campaigns open up the collective wisdom and experience of the global Michelman community.

In addition to organizing employee brain power around specific goals, Michelman also uses Kindling to streamline their business globally and create cultural cohesion across a planet-wide operation. Kindling allows leadership to maintain and communicate goals, objectives, and crucial information to the community. To that end, Michelman uses Kindling as a global forum to give all employees a voice for feedback about the processes that govern production and development. In return, Michelman is able to bring superior products to consumers, identify gaps within their internal processes, and ultimately improve the company’s overall performance.

By being forward-thinking, driven by healthy competition, and continually striving to improve and innovate, Michelman prides itself on quality. Because of their commitment to customers, their care for the community, their global reach, and their employees, Michelman's core asset is the creativity that helps them solve problems quickly. With Kindling, Michelman can ensure that these priorities are at the forefront of company culture, worldwide.