Chemical supply chains serve global markets and multiple industries at varying levels of maturity. Over the last decade, no company stands out as a leader. The industry is stuck unable to make significant improvement on margin, inventory and asset utilization. The facts run counter to traditional beliefs. In most companies, there is a pervasive belief that Chemical and Oil and Gas companies implemented new technologies, and evolved processes to drive improved balance sheet results. As will be shown in this report, this is not true.
Why did this happen? The focus of the chemical companies remains functional and inside-out. The industry is slow to build adaptive networks and even slower to adopt demand-driven processes. This is in sharp contrast to an industry like consumer electronics where the thrusts and changes were swift and direct. To survive, these companies adopted new processes and technologies at a quicker rate than those in the Chemical, and Oil and Gas industries.
BASF wins the Supply Chains to Admire award while Statoil becomes a finalist. To help the industry to understand the current state and benchmark current processes, here we share insights.
The Race for Growth
The chemical industry experienced a post-recessionary boom with growth rates of 11% in the period of 2010-2012. In the recent three years, the growth rate has slowed to -1%. These recent growth rates were greatly affected by the boon and slowing of the Chinese markets and by the ups and down in crude. Over the period, AgroSciences and Specialty chemicals experienced the highest growth rates of the sector.
With the dramatic impact of the economy of growth and industry sector performance, one would think that the supply chain leaders of this sector would be aggressively pursuing market-driven supply chain practices to forecast based on market indicators and translate channel demand to supply. This is not the case. These processes remain very supply-centered with no chemical company driving market-driven programs.