Tomorrow's chemical supply chain

As chemical become part of a range of industries, including construction, heavy machinery and food additives, the industry can no longer be considered generic. The future of chemicals is closely linked to the future of their customers, so it will change as well. The future of the chemical industry will be the result of five major transformation triggers:

1. Increase customer / supplier involvement

With the intensification of competition and the improvement of consumer awareness, customers will more and more participate in product development, which will affect the innovation strategy. In this case, customers drive product development to meet their specific needs - leading to highly specialized product development.

In addition, it will have a collaborative R & D and innovation center where customers can participate in product testing and contribute to product development. This will in turn promote cooperation with suppliers in product development and R & D, thus developing an integrated product value chain.

2. Redefine products

Chemical enterprises will provide additional services to improve customer value. Agrochemical companies have embarked on this path. They cooperate with or acquire data analysis companies to share with farmers suggestions on the optimal quantity of water, fertilizer and agrochemicals based on big data analysis.

Similarly, other manufacturers can provide technical advice through applications or software to help customers determine the effective application of their products.

3. Digital factory operation

As digitization is no longer a differentiation factor, but a demand for time, all functions including procurement, R & D, planning, production and distribution will utilize the Internet of things, artificial intelligence, RPA and other tools. The future chemical industry will witness an omni channel business. The combination of traditional mode and online mode will be used to optimize cost and customer satisfaction.

With the combination of online portal technology and blockchain, automatic online transactions will become popular among customers, thus ensuring faster and more transparent transactions. In addition, intelligent factory workshops supported by RPA and soft sensors for predictive maintenance will be critical to production and cost efficiency.

In addition, distribution and transportation through automatic vehicles equipped with temperature and pressure sensors will become the industry standard. This will encourage chemical companies to establish long-term cooperation with technology companies to provide overall solutions for the entire industry.

It will also lead to the development of centers of excellence to develop customized technologies, internally, in collaboration with these technology players, or through the acquisition of technology companies that meet specific functions.

4. Tomorrow's work

In an innovation driven industry, chemical enterprises will turn to a dynamic R & D team. In a digital environment, scientists will be required to develop a set of dual skills of chemical and digital tools.

In addition, in the research and development stage, robots and artificial intelligence can be used for repeated and iterative experiments, so as to improve the speed and efficiency. Similarly, robots will be used to improve efficiency in the repetitive process of different functions.

5. The evolution of the role of value chain participants

Additive manufacturing and customization requirements will enable end customers to connect with chemical companies. In this case, consumers can use 3D printers to produce cosmetics at home, and specialized chemical companies will supply these products directly to end consumers, thus eliminating or modifying the role of cosmetics manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

This kind of customization is supported by commercial 3D printing, and can also be completed by retailers or distributors, resulting in a shorter, efficient and highly customized supply chain.

In addition, as more and more industries turn to online sales, the chemical industry will skip distributors and third-party logistics suppliers and directly serve customers through its own or open portal.