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Agrimarketing : November December 2009
58 Agri Marketing November/December 2009 AM: What is Fuzion and why the name choice? MS: Fuzion Holding has two divisions, a chemical company and technology business. Fuzion Technologies, LLC, the chemical company, has a broad line of products that we market direct to retailers. Second, we have our technol- ogy business that contains XSAg.com and FuzionB2B.com. Both operate on a patented system, and the FuzionB2B system has been created for indepen- dent retailers and cooperatives to uti- lize. The Fuzion name is a play on the word "fusion" or to fuse. In this case we are fusing suppliers with the market and retailers with each other. AM: The crop protection product market is about a $7B market, but very competitive. Do we really need another generic chemical manufacturer like Fuzion Technologies? MS: You could argue that the market really does not need another traditional generic chemical company. However, Fuzion goes beyond products and the standard "buy/sell" relationship. Our objective is to create a partnership with both the manufacturers and the retailer. And, yes, our model is designed to do both very effectively and efficiently. By bringing innovative and patented technology as well as several unique product offerings, we think we go beyond being just a new entrant. AM: So, if Fuzion Technologies is a chemical manufacturer, aren't you a competitor to existing manufacturers? MS: Our regulatory strategy is designed to allow us to work with many manufacturers and their manu- facturing plants. Like many other chemical companies, we do not own our own manufacturing facilities. Excess capacity and oversupply of product dictates that we should not be plant owners at this time. This decision allows us to work with manufacturers and give them what they are looking for --- market access and capacity utilization. On the surface, we look like competitors, but in reality, we align very well with manufacturers. The Fuzion B2B network along with the XSAg grower base can provide manufacturers a very direct, specific and transactional marketing oppor- tunity. Fuzion can become their target marketing instrument. AM: Why purchase XSAg? MS: Originally we intended to be a traditional chemical company. However, when the opportunity arose to buy the XSAg business, we discovered an amazing technology that could be a true asset to retailers. XSAg and its patented double blind, turn-key regulatory, financial management/escrow, freight and logistics management system not only became the backbone for Fuzion Technologies but could also be adapted for manufacturers and retailers to utilize. That is how the Fuzion B2B.com manufacturer and retailer network/system was born and that is how we intend to bring more than just products to retailers. AM: Retailers have been upset with companies trying to go around them directly to the grower. How does the FuzionB2B network change that? Or does it? MS: First of all, where retailers offer information, service and value to their growers, NOBODY will go around that retailer. In fact, that is the retailer we would like to have participate in the Fuzion B2B net- work and he should find tremendous value in Fuzion B2B. On the other hand, there are many areas in the U.S. where growers are not satisfied with their service or they believe they can get necessary information through other sources. Therefore, XSAg busi- ness is designed for the grower who is more transactional in nature. The exponential growth curve that XSAg has seen the past 21/2 years is proof that segment is growing. Our Fuzion B2B model and the XSAg model allow manufacturers to target both customer types. To deal with XSAg competing with retailers, our plan is to coordinate with B2B retailers and help them benefit from XSAg sales that occur in their trade territory. This is another benefit to participating in Fuzion B2B if you are a retailer. AM: Is there any way for a major manufacturer to participate in the Fuzion B2B network without upsetting their existing distributor and dealer set up? MS: Many manufacturers already sell "sideways" to other manufacturers. Each manufacturer has his own market access strategies, market strengths and product portfolios. One company may focus on the channel while another may focus on portfolio breadth in a specific segment. By selling to another chemical manufac- turer, they get the benefit of their peer's strategy. Fuzion Technologies is no different. A manufacturer of any size may see Fuzion and its strategy as complementary to whatever strategies they currently employ. They may choose to work with us to enhance their molecular share through a Fuzion Technology brand or utilize the B2B network for brand share expansion. We are indifferent to their strategy and are flexible --- what is important is that they know Fuzion can complement whatever strategy they employ in a very focused and concentrated manner. AM Name: Mike Steffeck Title: President/CEO Fuzion Holdings Career: Began with FMC, joined Loveland Products/UAP, most recently with Agrium Retail Education: B.S., agri-business, University of Wisconsin---River Falls; M.B.A., Drake University : Fuzion Technologies, LLC GOING DIRECT TO RETAILERS, FARMERS
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