Focusing on the best products and services for today’s ice melting demands has been Innovative Surface Solutions expertise for over 15 years.
“We spend most of our time on the problem, and once that is well understood by both parties, the product choice is easy,” Innovative Surface Solutions’ Angela Steigerwald explains. “We have most liquids in bulk or packaged formats, as well as almost every dry product known in the industry.”
This product offering includes the company’s traditional Innovative Brand dry rock salt commodities and liquids; ProMelt Ultra dry packaged blends; Caliber M1000 & M2000 PNS States-Approved Agriculturally Enhanced Liquid Deicers; and MAGic SBE & Ice B’Gone II, which are agricultural-based liquid enhancers recognized with an environmental designation from the U.S. EPA.
Also available are: calcium liquid, flake and pellet; Meltdown Magnesium liquid, flake and pellet; NC 3000 Liquid Acetate deicers; a complete line of temperature-enhanced, low corrosion treated salts in bulk and packaged formats; and now featuring ProMelt Ultra in a 40-pound English and Spanish language bag.
Getting Ready For Winter
If last winter was any indication, it’s good to be prepared for anything Mother Nature has in store. Fortunately for Innovative Surface Solutions, the company’s large geographic territory and a diverse customer base enables it to mitigate soft winters in some areas and harsh weather in others.
“It did not snow much last winter in southern Ontario and western New York, while it would not stop snowing in southern New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia,” Steigerwald said. “All other territories had average winters. Business overall was good.”
She advises distributors to look for reputable suppliers that offer a wide range of products and a substantial and reliable infrastructure to support their needs. Distributors should also provide incentives to prospective clients to order early.
“It’s good to find additional ways to bring value to a relationship,” Steigerwald said. “(End-users) can be educated on how the proper use of ice melt can help avoid exposure to legal liabilities. Maintenance personnel can be shown how certain ice melters should be selected to avoid staining on interior walkways. They can also be counseled to look for damage caused from the over-use of salt on door trim and walkway areas, while recommendations can be made promoting better quality products and more appropriate application rates.”
Recognizing a client’s biggest fear when it comes to ice prevention is also essential. Steigerwald said once distributors learn about a particular fear, they must find the right product to satisfy the problem.
“It’s important to make sure the product you recommend is appropriate to the climate and conditions experienced in the client’s region. Always bring value first,” Steigerwald said. “If you understand the strategy a client uses in dealing with snow and ice, and then educate him/her on new innovative solutions, the product choice becomes easier.
“Choosing the wrong product could be a tremendous drain on company resources, will fail to meet the client’s objectives, or worse, lead to disastrous results, accidents and costly insurance claims.”
Innovative Surface Solutions’most effective method of training is through seminars, she explained. The company also plans on launching a series of online webinars that can be shared with distributors and end-users.
“We also write articles published in several trade magazines to promote industry-best practices,” Steigerwald said. “In addition, we take part in environmental sustainability focus groups sponsored by the likes of Environment Canada and various state and provincial agencies.”
The Value Of Customer Service
Our philosophy at Innovative Surface Solutions is “Ready When Nature Strikes. Guaranteed.” Steigerwald said this translates into treating every customer’s need as a matter of life safety, helping to provide safer walking and driving solutions in the event of a snow or ice event.
“We have dedicated inside sales and customer service personnel trained and ready to respond,” she explained. “One of our major focuses is to provide various government agencies with guaranteed levels of service. We extend this commitment to all our customers through our products and our service.. It’s vital to guarantee the same level of safety at home and at the office as we would for our nation’s roads and highways.
“Innovative Surface Solutions has been keeping North Americans safe — from highways to driveways — since 1986, and take this responsibility seriously.”
The company also supports several leading industry buying groups, such as Distributor Partners of America, in the United States and Canada; and Indica, which is a group dedicated to serving industrial products and safety suppliers in Canada.
Adding Value With Liquid Deicers and Smaller Packages
Increased use of premium liquids by government agencies has led to a renewed interest in smaller application equipment fit for use by facilities and maintenance managers. An entire new generation of personal “walk-behind” spreaders, for both granular and liquid products, have been featured at recent landscape shows in the United States and Canada.
Steigerwald said liquids provide good protection from snow and ice, forming a bond to asphalt and concrete surfaces. This makes it easier for plowing. However, these benefits have not been easily adapted to smaller settings — until now.
“Additionally, there are new supplies of calcium and magnesium chloride in flake and pellet — premium products at very attractive prices introduced to compete with some of the products being brought in from Asia,” she added. “These premium products have been priced efficiently to remain cost competitive with their offshore counterparts, and meet smaller and more expedient needs that best serve the North American market.”
Recognizing changes within the ice melter marketplace remains very important at Innovative Surface Solutions. For example, customers are telling the company that the aging North American population requires smaller-sized and easier to handle packages.
“While we still offer several items in 50-pound or metric sizes, we have introduced several packages at 40-pounds or less,” Steigerwald said.
Taking Care of the Environment – Sustainably
Another key issue within today’s ice melt industry concerns environmental sustainability. Officials at Innovative Surface Solutions believe that truly “being green” is linked to sound economic stewardship. This is dependent on three things.
n No. 1: A product must actually work. All the green seals, labels and intent in the world will not compensate for a product that fails to perform;
n No. 2: If purported to be green, a product must be certified as such by an independent and impartial body. Certification programs maintained by Underwriters Laboratories, Green Seal, Ecologo and the U.S. EPA offer the best indication of a product’s claim to having been designed on sound environmental principles; and,
n No. 3: A product or service must make financial sense. That doesn’t necessarily mean it must be the cheapest game in town. Frequently, premium products, offered at higher prices, deliver performance efficiencies many times greater than their cheaper conventional competitors. The total cost of ownership or use over the years is often far less.
“Economic sustainability also means using the product in accordance with a manufacturer’s guidelines and making decisions that allow the company to maintain its own economic viability. The old axiom of, ‘If a little is good, than more must be better’ certainly does not ring true,” Steigerwald said. “The over-use of any product exposes the environment to a greater load and stress. Over-use is quite simply environmentally inefficient, most likely detrimental and a complete waste of money.”
Innovative Surface Solutions has been at the forefront of servicing municipal and commercial road maintenance requirements since 1986 with the introduction of its permanent pothole patching material known as ProPatch. In 1994, the company diversified to dry packaging and importing magnesium chloride. It also pioneered the introduction of cutting edge surface technologies such as corrosion and dust inhibitors, performance enhancers, and road stabilization, anti-icing and prewetting products.
Innovative Surface Solutions’ infrastructure is the largest and most sophisticated in North-East USA and Canada, and has grown exponentially. This has allowed it to better service its client base, with warehouses and stockpile locations found throughout the northeastern seaboard. The company recently opened a second office in Glenmont, NY.