Article | July 20, 2022
Individual consumers expect tailored products and services. Color, size, quantity, payment method, and delivery channel options abound. The chemical sector is also now following this suit of action. The global chemicals supply chain has grown steadily for three decades. Chemical businesses are improving their supply chain capabilities to handle complexity and meet client demands. This includes implementing advanced data-driven and cloud-based technologies that enable faster, more flexible, and tailored customer interactions.
Areas of innovation for chemical companies
Living segmentation can help chemical businesses better serve clients and satisfy their expectations. This entails adapting supply chain capabilities to each customer's needs.
An asset-light network involves developing an ecosystem of partners to add capabilities and value to your supply chain beyond standard co-manufacturing, co-packing, and third-party or last-mile logistics providers. In addition, it should include technology partners that help chemical businesses innovate and be adaptable.
Data and Applied Intelligence
Improving speed, agility, and efficiency in global supply chains demands comprehensive visibility and the correct information. Data provides visibility and insights. The key to providing excellent customer service is gathering the appropriate data and using it strategically to get important insight. The industry generates a ton of data, which is excellent news.
In response to last year's supply chain delays, corporations are building supply chains with geographically spread shipping/supplier choices. Real-time visibility and enhanced analytics can be used to track delays by providing revised ETAs and analyzing downstream implications. Data-driven insights can alert organizations of a delay almost immediately and help them acquire raw materials from another supplier to reduce the domino impact downstream. Chemical businesses must rethink their supply chains to implement living segmentation, asset-light networks, data, and AI.
Article | July 14, 2022
ONE OF THE GREATEST achievements of the last 30 years has been the fall in the number of people living in extreme poverty.In 1999, 1.9bn of the world’s population were living on less than $1.90, the Word Bank’s definition of extreme poverty. Despite setbacks caused by the pandemic, this had fallen to 698m by October 2020.
Income levels alone are not enough to escape the life-threatening agony of extreme poverty. There is no point in having money if the essential goods and services to spend your money on are not available.
Critical to poverty alleviation has been sufficient supply of all the things that people in the rich world take for granted. The raw materials to make the vast majority of manufactured goods include petrochemicals and polymers.
Nearly all the major manufacturing chains would not have been able to function without petrochemicals.
Think of medical equipment, syringes, blood bags, hospital gowns, face masks, pill bottles and medicine blister packs. None of the above could have been produced without petrochemicals.
As people emerged out of extreme poverty and as economies became wealthier, modern-day medical services became more widely available.
Article | August 2, 2022
Over the next five to seven years, the chemical sector will place a greater emphasis on sustainability, and digitization will play a significant part in this. Reducing resource use, pollution, energy consumption, and waste are some of its main applications. Additionally, it will increase demand for a circular economy supported by IoT, AI, and other digital technologies.
Some of the systems now in place or being used in the sector include autonomous solutions that enable lower energy usage, dispatching systems for effective logistics and strategies for sustainable power and fuel consumption.
Chemical players making the switch to digital platforms have a chance to triumph if they move swiftly and update their operational models in accordance with a few common success characteristics. In fact, according to our study, making the correct decisions can increase total earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization by 3 percent or more (EBITDA).
The Next Step of Operational Excellence
The same level of transformation is available with digital technology for optimal performance, together with success-enabling measures. The same level of corporate participation and realignment will also be necessary for the effective implementation of digital technology.
Finance and telecoms were early leaders in adopting digital technology faster than the chemical sector, which has just recently started to move in more significant numbers toward digitalization.
A circular economy in the sector is also being enabled by the use and evaluation of digital technology. The "Right to Fix" movement is being driven by governments and legislators in Europe and the US, and small and medium-sized businesses in the industry are expected to invest in technology that makes it easier to repair electronic items with the least amount of waste.
On a side note, by enabling the re-use of resources and products throughout the supply chain, digitalization with lean manufacturing (LM) would enable businesses to improve operational excellence and create value, thereby supporting the circular economy goal.
Given its extensive safety and regulatory requirements, the chemical sector has evolved slowly. However, as the global economy changes, some skills will become obsolete and others essential.
The interconnectedness of people, processes, and technology, as well as the requirement for real-time insight at the levels closest to the action, are among the basic principles of Industry 4.0. These values have existed for some time and are an extension of our teams' current operational excellence initiatives.
Digital transformation is not a technology endpoint but rather the following stage in the process and business evolution as the chemicals industry advances continuously.
Article | June 15, 2021
IT FEELS LIKE several lifetimes ago. If you recall, way back in November-December 2019 Asian variable cost integrated naphtha-based polyethylene (PE) margins turned negative because of the increase in US capacity.
Then in January the following year, deep Asian and Middle East operating rate cuts returned some order to the market. Then, bang, as we all know, the pandemic arrived and turned everything on its head.
The pandemic has, in my view, accentuated trends that were already well underway. I believe this means that the supply-driven downturn that started in late 2019 will not return.Long before coronavirus upended everyone’s lives, PE demand was becoming increasingly divorced from GDP growth because of the shifting nature of end-use demand.
Booming internet sales was, I believe, a major factor behind the split between the growth of the overall economies in the developed world plus China and PE demand.The average product bought online is dropped 17 times because of the large number of people involved in the logistics chain, according to Forbes.
This had led to a surge in demand for protective packaging made not from PE and other polymers such as polypropylene, expandable polystyrene and PET films (I will look at their demand growth prospects in later posts).Despite sustainability pressures, the scale of demand for stuff bought online translated to a lot more consumption of virgin polymers.