spec chem supply chain

Collaboration in the Chemicals Supply Chain

November 14, 2019
In the world of global chemicals, supply chain efficiency is being challenged by growing operational complexity. In a Deloitte survey of process industry executives, supply chain was the top priority for future digital investment.   

Our customers strive to achieve sustainable states of alignment to close gaps between plans and actuals – and, ultimately, to improve margins. In fact, our recent white paper by Roch Gauthier, senior director product management, outlines several examples of great success here, among many other insights.

Chemicals companies can do little about complexity. They can’t control it. Instead, they need to adapt seamlessly and use it to their advantage. Roch explains how to unlock and sustain value by aligning supply chain and operations. Personally, I see more than ‘just’ bigger profits as reward for this investment and transformation. Enhanced collaboration and the latest technology have great potential to resolve other challenges too. This is especially true across three key areas: processes, people and learning and development.  

Collaborative technology can give plants advance notice of problems, thereby helping avoid them. Enhanced collaboration, leading to more informed planning and scheduling, helps reduce the inventory plants keep. More efficient supply chain processes ensure products are delivered in a timely manner; this type of collaboration can give everyone access to the same version of the plan or schedule and allow them to share information, make comments and add context about changes.

Recruiting and retaining talent is a huge problem for chemicals companies who don’t have advanced technology in place. Chemical plants are often located in industrial areas, making recruitment even more difficult. More advanced technology can help address this – providing alternatives to Excel that people want to work with. Workers want and need to have the key information to do their jobs at their fingertips. Collaborative technology can provide this. 

Learning and development
The workforce is getting older, while younger employees are changing jobs more frequently. Supply chain management and more advanced technology can help address these challenges through knowledge capture. Collaboration across global supply chains increases knowledge sharing and helps workers learn from the experience and expertise of their colleagues, while at the same time providing opportunities to Millennials who are keen to adopt and learn new technology and work in a digital environment.

When I think of supply chain two words are key: agility and collaboration. Today’s technology is able to provide actionable insights based on real plant constraints, the plant model and an optimized schedule. Full visibility across the entire enterprise enables a collaborative, agile operating environment. That is the wish list to continue to compete on today’s complex playing field.

Read the white paper “Alignment Between Supply Chain and Operations Execution: The Formula for Higher Profits in Chemicals” to learn how your organization can create sustainable states of alignment. 

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