Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion of the chem­i­cal in­dus­try en­ables sus­tain­able Op­er­a­tions

Chemical Industry Digest - - What’s In? - Peter Reynolds

- Peter Reynolds, Con­tribut­ing An­a­lyst, ARC Ad­vi­sory Group

The au­thor dis­cusses how emerg­ing dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies like Al, Blockchain, IIoT, data an­a­lyt­ics, cloud etc can cre­ate a par­a­digm shift in man­u­fac­tur­ing ef­fi­cien­cies that will greatly en­able sus­tain­able op­er­a­tions.

Sus­tain­abil­ity is not only in terms of com­ply­ing with en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions, re­duc­ing emis­sions etc. It calls for ef­fi­cien­cies across the en­tire value chain of man­u­fac­tur­ing from the sup­ply chain to the man­u­fac­tur­ing process, good main­te­nence to the end prod­uct and its dis­posal. Emerg­ing dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies likes Al, Blockchain, IIoT, data an­a­lyt­ics, cloud etc can cre­ate a par­a­digm shift in man­u­fac­tur­ing ef­fi­cien­cies that will greatly en­able sus­tain­able op­er­a­tions. In­tro­duc­tion

In to­day’s highly reg­u­lated and com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment, chem­i­cal com­pa­nies must look be­yond tra­di­tional in­dus­trial con­ven­tions and busi­ness norms and fo­cus on achiev­ing the de­sired out­comes to re­main sus­tain­able, via dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion. For many com­pa­nies, this need is re­in­forced as com­peti­tors, part­ners, sup­pli­ers, and cus­tomers be­gin em­ploy­ing dig­i­tized busi­ness pro­cesses of their own. By ex­ploit­ing the con­ver­gence be­tween op­er­a­tional and in­for­ma­tion tech­nolo­gies, these com­pa­nies are con­nect­ing their en­ter­prises in­ter­nally, and ex­ter­nally through­out their sup­ply chain. This both re­quires and sup­ports new busi­ness mod­els, pro­cesses, and tech­nolo­gies.

In­tel­li­gent con­nected prod­ucts and as­sets, along with net­work com­mu­ni­ca­tions, soft­ware, and ad­vanced an­a­lyt­ics al­low com­pa­nies to re­de­fine their ap­proach to busi­ness pro­cesses in­clud­ing en­ter­prise as­set man­age­ment (EAM), prod­uct life­cy­cle man­age­ment (PLM), and sup­ply chain man­age­ment (SCM). The re­sult­ing dig­i­tal en­ter­prises can de­sign, man­u­fac­ture, de­liver, and sup­port prod­ucts faster, more ef­fi­ciently, and at lower cost.

Thanks to dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion, chem­i­cal in­dus­try par­tic­i­pants are re­al­iz­ing the fol­low­ing ad­van­tages:

• PLM and chem­i­cal for­mu­la­tion pro­cesses are mov­ing to­wards closed-loop prod­uct and chem­i­cal for­mu­la­tions to sup­port con­tin­u­ous prod­uct im­prove­ment

• EAM pro­cesses are ex­pand­ing to en­com­pass pre­dic­tive and pre­scrip­tive main­te­nance, thus re­duc­ing un­planned down­time, cost, and risk

• SCM pro­cesses can now sup­port omni-chan­nel sup­ply chain con­cepts im­prove both the highly in-

tegrated chem­i­cal sup­ply chain and cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence

• Sus­tain­able pro­cesses to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment

and boost eco­nomic growth

Chal­lenges faced by chem­i­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers

Re­cent eco­nomic and tech­nol­ogy trends have had ma­jor im­pacts on the global chem­i­cal in­dus­try. This ap­plies to both the spe­cialty chem­i­cals and bulk chem­i­cals sec­tors. The in­dus­try has also seen an in­crease in merger and ac­qui­si­tion ac­tiv­ity in re­cent years, and this trend is likely to con­tinue.

The per­sis­tently low oil and gas prices, par­tic­u­larly in North Amer­ica, have had a ma­jor im­pact on the in­dus­try, since both are key feed­stocks for both spe­cialty and bulk chem­i­cal pro­duc­tion and pro­vide much of the en­ergy (ei­ther di­rectly or indi­rectly) for these en­ergy-in­ten­sive sec­tors.

While, un­til re­cently, North Amer­ica had seen few green­field or ex­pan­sion projects for spe­cialty chem­i­cals and vir­tu­ally none for bulk chem­i­cals; the com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage pro­vided by shale oil and gas cre­ated a wave of ac­tiv­ity in both green­field and ca­pac­ity ex­pan­sion projects.

In gen­eral, there’s been a trend for global bulk and spe­cialty chem­i­cals man­u­fac­tur­ers to shift pro­duc­tion from well-es­tab­lished pro­duc­tion cen­ters in Europe, Ja­pan, and (to a some­what lesser de­gree) North Amer­ica; to cost-ad­van­taged China and In­dia and feed­stock-ad­van­taged Saudi Ara­bia, which has been mak­ing a ma­jor push to in­crease the value of its ex­ports and di­ver­sify its econ­omy. We’re see­ing sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ments in state-of-the-art, world scale chem­i­cal pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties in all these coun­tries.

In­creased global com­pe­ti­tion drives the need for greater ef­fi­cien­cies and cost re­duc­tions across the in­dus­try. While the scale and com­plex­ity of bulk chem­i­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing ap­pears to be in­creas­ing; spe­cialty chem­i­cals man­u­fac­tur­ers, par­tic­u­larly in Europe, are ex­plor­ing in­creased mod­u­lar­iza­tion of pro­duc­tion as­sets. This in­cludes de­vel­op­ment of new mo­du­lar “mi­cro” pro­duc­tion plants that can be eas­ily lo­cated close to ei­ther feed­stocks or end cus­tomers to re­duce lo­gis­tics costs.

In ad­di­tion to grow­ing pres­sures to re­duce both project-re­lated and op­er­a­tions-re­lated costs and ex­pen­di­tures, chem­i­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers face in­creased gov­ern­men­tal reg­u­la­tion. This in­cludes man­dates to in­crease safety and re­duce po­ten­tially harm­ful emis­sions.With the in­creas­ing at­ten­tion on sus­tain­abil­ity is­sues, the pub­lic also ex­pects com­pa­nies to en­sure both new chem­i­cals, and those al­ready in a com­pany’s port­fo­lio, are more en­vi­ron­ment-friendly. Re­spond­ing to this need, global ini­tia­tives such as To­gether for Sus­tain­abil­ity (TfS) have been launched to au­dit, as­sess, and im­ple­ment sus­tain­abil­ity prac­tices (en­vi­ron­ment, health and safety, labour and hu­man rights, and gov­er­nance is­sues) in the chem­i­cal in­dus­try.

In gen­eral, the en­tire chem­i­cal in­dus­try is see­ing a move to­wards in­creased au­toma­tion to re­duce costs and com­pen­sate for the grow­ing skills short­age. In­creased dig­i­ti­za­tion across the value chain is an­other clear trend. Dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy of­fers higher lev­els of con­nec­tiv­ity and speed in ac­cess­ing, pro­cess­ing, and an­a­lyz­ing huge amounts of data. Be­sides mo­bil­ity, cloud and in-mem­ory com­put­ing, the In­ter­net of Things, ma­chine learn­ing and blockchain will start act­ing as gamechang­ers in the chem­i­cal in­dus­try.

Trans­for­ma­tion of Prod­uct For­mu­la­tion and Life­cy­cle Pro­cesses

Con­tin­u­ing suc­cess in the chem­i­cal in­dus­try will de­pend on the abil­ity to quickly cre­ate and pro­duce new prod­ucts to meet con­sumer trends and chang­ing cus­tomer re­quire­ments and to en­sure ex­ist­ing prod­ucts con­tinue to meet chang­ing reg­u­la­tions. Al­though prod­uct life­cy­cle man­age­ment (PLM) ap­proaches orig­i­nated in the dis­crete in­dus­tries, chem­i­cals com­pa­nies are in­creas­ingly tak­ing ad­van­tage of the ben­e­fits that ef­fec­tive PLM of­fers for prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, man­u­fac­tur­ing, sales and sup­port.

As prod­ucts be­come more spe­cial­ized, prod­uct de­vel­op­ment re­quires greater col­lab­o­ra­tion with cus­tomers, in­gre­di­ent sup­pli­ers, and pack­ag­ing sup­pli­ers. Com­pa­nies that ef­fec­tively em­ploy PLM to col­lab­o­rate

and man­age data, will de­velop new prod­ucts faster, in­tro­duce them at lower cost, and bring them to mar­ket in less time. In ad­di­tion to en­hanc­ing ex­ter­nal col­lab­o­ra­tion, PLM for process man­u­fac­tur­ing closes the de­sign-to-pro­duc­tion loop and en­ables users to fine tune prod­uct for­mu­la­tion based on yield mea­sure­ments and fluc­tu­at­ing cost el­e­ments. The con­tin­ued adop­tion of dig­i­tal­iza­tion among cus­tomers and sup­pli­ers ex­tends this in­for­ma­tion loop and sup­ports utiliza­tion of field ex­pe­ri­ence to drive prod­uct in­no­va­tion and sus­tain­abil­ity. The chem­i­cal in­dus­try must con­tin­u­ously de­velop new tech­nolo­gies to keep re­sources cir­cling in closed loops to re­duce the car­bon foot­print.

The ex­pand­ing mar­kets in emerg­ing economies, com­bined with nearly con­tin­u­ous reg­u­la­tory changes in es­tab­lished mar­kets, make it im­per­a­tive for chem­i­cal com­pa­nies to be able to quickly and con­fi­dently doc­u­ment for­mula and la­bel com­pli­ance with in­dus­try, na­tional, and re­gional reg­u­la­tions. The data re­quired to do so varies greatly de­pend­ing on the reg­u­la­tory group and can come in a va­ri­ety of data for­mats, struc­tured and un­struc­tured. De­spite this com­plex­ity, the doc­u­ment man­age­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties of chem­i­cals-spe­cific PLM so­lu­tions can help en­sure that prod­ucts meet reg­u­la­tions from con­cept to re­tire­ment, even as reg­u­la­tions change. Fur­ther­more, in­cor­po­rat­ing batch lot track­ing and other op­er­a­tional tools that tie into a prod­uct data­base, en­able rapid de­ci­sion sup­port in the event of emer­gen­cies or re­calls.

Trans­for­ma­tion of Main­te­nance and Op­er­a­tions Pro­cesses

A mod­ern en­ter­prise as­set man­age­ment (EAM) sys­tem pro­vides the vis­i­bil­ity, plan­ning, and ex­e­cu­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties needed to im­prove in­dus­trial as­set up­time, in­crease as­set longevity and safety, con­trol costs, and sup­port the ex­ec­u­tive need for high re­turn on as­sets (ROA). Re­li­a­bil­ity stud­ies show that 82 per­cent of all as­sets have a ran­dom fail­ure pat­tern. Thus, only 18 per­cent of as­sets ben­e­fit from pre­ven­tive main­te­nance based on cal­en­dar time or us­age. To avoid fail­ures on the 82 per­cent of as­sets, new, IIoT-en­abled proac­tive so­lu­tions re­place con­ven­tional re­ac­tive or pre­ven­tive main­te­nance with far more ef­fec­tive pre­dic­tive and pre­scrip­tive main­te­nance ap­proaches. With more ac­cu­rate and ef­fi­cient au­to­mated data col­lec­tion, IIoT dra­mat­i­cally ex­pands the num­ber and va­ri­ety of pa­ram­e­ters that can be mon­i­tored cost ef­fec­tively with en­gi­neered al­go­rithms or ma­chine learn­ing to iden­tify prob­lems well be­fore they be­come fail­ures.

This higher main­te­nance ma­tu­rity level sup­ports broader busi­ness ben­e­fits that go be­yond re­duc­ing main­te­nance costs. These in­clude im­proved on-time ship­ments, rev­enue, cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, qual­ity/ yield, and safety. Users have re­ported that mov­ing from pre­ven­tive main­te­nance to pre­dic­tive or pre­scrip­tive ap­proaches pro­vides 50 per­cent sav­ings in main­te­nance la­bor and MRO ma­te­ri­als. More­over, with pre­dic­tive and pre­scrip­tive main­te­nance, near-zero un­planned down­time for crit­i­cal equip­ment can be achieved.

What more can be done? Op­er­a­tions and main­te­nance pro­cesses must be­come re­source ef­fi­cient and sus­tain­able. The so­lu­tions de­ployed must be en­vi­ron­ment-friendly, cost­ef­fec­tive, and so­cially ac­cept­able through­out the life­cy­cle process; part­ner­ships must be cre­ated across the value chain; and safety is­sues must be ad­dressed.

Trans­for­ma­tion of chem­i­cal sup­ply chain

With the tra­di­tional chem­i­cal sup­ply chain lo­gis­tics model in which only one com­po­nent at a time can be op­ti­mized, com­pa­nies are forced to view their re­spec­tive sup­ply chains as a cost cen­ter in­stead of a strate­gic, com­pet­i­tive work process.

How­ever, in­creas­ingly, a com­pany’s global sup­ply and trad­ing net­work rep­re­sents a liv­ing (ideally con­nected) ecosys­tem of sup­ply chain part­ners and e-com­merce. In this emerg­ing busi­ness model, the fo­cus is on in­ter­ac­tive col­lab­o­ra­tion among car­ri­ers, ship­pers, for­warders, sup­pli­ers, and even cus­tomers. When sup­ported by a com­mon SCM plat­form, this ap­proach can drive a pow­er­ful net­work ef­fect with the ben­e­fits of uni­ver­sal con­nec­tiv­ity among par­tic­i­pants. In­stead of mi­cro-level op­ti­miza­tion, which only al­lows for cost-sav­ings within your own sup­ply chain, the doors are open to macro- level op­ti­miza­tion—find­ing those op­ti­miza­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties that lie be­tween sev­eral sys­tems. But this re­quires those sys­tems to be con­nected via a com­mon plat­form. Many newer tech­nolo­gies such as ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI), ad­vanced an­a­lyt­ics and ma­chine learn­ing or se­man­tic search re­quire chang­ing the way tech­nol­ogy lead­ers think

The con­tin­ued adop­tion of dig­i­tal­iza­tion among cus­tomers and sup­pli­ers ex­tends this in­for­ma­tion loop and sup­ports utiliza­tion of field ex­pe­ri­ence to drive prod­uct in­no­va­tion and sus­tain­abil­ity. The chem­i­cal in­dus­try must con­tin­u­ously de­velop new tech­nolo­gies to keep re­sources cir­cling in closed loops to re­duce the car­bon foot­print.

about peo­ple and tech­nol­ogy ar­chi­tec­ture and process.

With the growth of the chem­i­cal in­dus­try comes the added re­spon­si­bil­ity of be­ing sus­tain­able. There must be con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ments in ef­fi­ciency, en­vi­ron­ment, health and safety; and the in­dus­try must move from a lin­ear route to a cir­cu­lar one that re-uses re­sources. We are all linked: in­dus­tries – peo­ple – and our planet.

The Gamechang­ers in the Chem­i­cal In­dus­try: In­dus­trial In­ter­net of Things/In­dus­trie 4.0

The In­dus­trial IoT prom­ises im­proved per­for­mance of man­u­fac­tur­ers’ ser­vice op­er­a­tions through re­mote con­nec­tiv­ity as well as in­cre­men­tal con­nec­tiv­ity-based rev­enue streams that rep­re­sent en­tire new op­por­tu­ni­ties. Clearly, the value propo­si­tion for the IoT op­por­tu­nity ex­tends be­yond sim­ple con­nec­tiv­ity into the abil­ity to build new prod­ucts and ser­vices and achieve com­pet­i­tive dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion. Over­all, IIoT can act as a so­lu­tion that helps the chem­i­cal in­dus­try keep up with chang­ing times and bet­ter meet the needs of share­hold­ers and cus­tomers. How­ever, hav­ing clean and abun­dant data avail­able to train al­go­rithms and build high qual­ity mod­els which pre­dict high qual­ity re­sults are piv­otal to suc­cess. Over the last few years, the “as­set-in­ten­sive” chem­i­cal in­dus­try has fo­cused its ef­forts to­wards op­ti­miz­ing plant and as­set op­er­a­tions. How­ever, there is huge un­tapped po­ten­tial to de­velop in­no­va­tive, cus­tomer-cen­tric busi­ness mod­els and ser­vices.

Big Data

In­dus­trial Big Data is soft­ware that con­verges the de­tails cre­ated from pro­cesses, and turns that data into knowl­edge. Big Data plays a vi­tal role in de­ci­sion mak­ing, and trans­for­ma­tional tech­nolo­gies such as an­a­lyt­ics, mo­bil­ity and oth­ers are in­com­plete with­out this. With ad­vanced an­a­lyt­ics, users can get Big Data from any­where and ev­ery­where and can per­form mas­sive cal­cu­la­tions, com­plex al­go­rithms, and anal­y­sis for faster de­ci­sion mak­ing.

Mo­bil­ity

To­day, smart­phones and tablets pro­vide work­ers with the lat­est in­for­ma­tion at their fin­ger­tips to in­crease the speed of de­ci­sions. The in­for­ma­tion and ap­pli­ca­tions vary de­pend­ing on the worker’s role. Main­te­nance work­ers will have work or­ders, re­pair in­struc­tions, and spare parts avail­abil­ity and or­der­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and the like. Op­er­a­tors will have real-time plant op­er­at­ing in­for­ma­tion and the abil­ity to pre­dict process events. Ex­ec­u­tives will have rollup per­for­mance in­for­ma­tion and drill-down ca­pa­bil­i­ties. For main­te­nance work­ers and pro­duc­tion su­per­vi­sors, us­ing mo­bile de­vices al­lows ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion at the point of need, with­out re­quir­ing the user to re­turn to a desk or cen­tral lo­ca­tion. In ad­di­tion, apps to speed ma­chine setup are al­ready avail­able.

The emer­gence of the smart­phone has made sev­eral other de­vices ob­so­lete as it con­verges mul­ti­ple func­tions, such as: cam­era, cal­en­dar, cal­cu­la­tor, recorder, GPS, alarm clock, ther­mome­ter, MP3 player and many more. Wi-Fi and other In­ter­net tech­nolo­gies are in­creas­ingly nec­es­sary to sup­port mo­bile de­vices and new sen­sor con­nec­tiv­ity. As pro­duc­tion as­sets are equipped with more sen­sors, to­gether with lo­cal in­tel­li­gence and com­mu­ni­ca­tions ca­pa­bil­ity, ro­bust, se­cure W-Fi and Eth­er­net con­nec­tiv­ity are in­creas­ingly im­por­tant.

Cloud

The cloud (pub­lic and hy­brid) can not only dra­mat­i­cally in­crease busi­ness agility but also speed de­liv­er­ing so­lu­tions by of­fer­ing a cadre of ap­pli­ca­tion tools – ev­ery­thing from re-use­able ma­chine con­trol al­go­rithms to

With the growth of the chem­i­cal in­dus­try comes the added re­spon­si­bil­ity of be­ing sus­tain­able. There must be con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ments in ef­fi­ciency, en­vi­ron­ment, health and safety; and the in­dus­try must move from a lin­ear route to a cir­cu­lar one that re-uses re­sources. We are all linked: in­dus­tries – peo­ple – and our planet.

pre­vi­ously es­tab­lished trou­bleshoot­ing and di­ag­noses, or sim­u­la­tions for pro­duc­tion sce­nar­ios.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers could also use it to com­pare line per­for­mance, there­fore be­com­ing a repos­i­tory of best prac­tices.

An­a­lyt­ics

In­creased data cap­ture by com­pa­nies re­quires cor­re­spond­ing fo­cus on ob­tain­ing value from the in­for­ma­tion. With more con­nected sen­sors, au­to­mated ma­chines, and de­vices gen­er­at­ing data, the sup­port in­fra­struc­ture must also ex­pand. As in­vest­ments in the net­works and sys­tems that col­lect, man­age, de­liver and store this data in­crease, so does the ex­pected com­put­ing power to de­liver the value of the in­for­ma­tion through an­a­lyt­ics. Speed be­comes the es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ent with an­a­lyt­ics. In­for­ma­tion avail­abil­ity to make an op­er­a­tional de­ci­sion based on a com­plete pic­ture re­quires a high per­for­mance in­fra­struc­ture.

Blockchain

A blockchain is a pub­lic ledger used to record trans­ac­tions or keep track of data. By un­der­stand­ing the im­pact of a blockchain on the chem­i­cal in­dus­try, you have a tool to help with the growth of your com­pany. In­no­va­tion in the chem­i­cal in­dus­try is more im­por­tant than ever be­fore since new com­peti­tors and tech­nolo­gies are en­ter­ing the mar­ket and prod­uct cy­cle times are con­tin­u­ously re­duced driv­ing to faster com­modi­ti­za­tion of prod­ucts and ser­vices. By us­ing blockchains, a chem­i­cal com­pany may im­prove their abil­ity to in­no­vate and cre­ate in­ter­est­ing so­lu­tions for their cus­tomers. A blockchain fa­cil­i­tates close col­lab­o­ra­tion in an open or closed com­mu­nity (ded­i­cated com­mu­nity of ex­perts) via shar­ing in­for­ma­tion safely with all stake­hold­ers in real-time fol­low­ing the rules set by this com­mu­nity with­out need for val­i­da­tion or au­tho­riza­tion by third par­ties. As ev­ery­body works from the same data and in­for­ma­tion, costly and time re­dun­dant work can be avoided, hence over­all Re­turn on In­no­va­tion will be in­creased while re­duc­ing Time to Mar­ket.

Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence

Ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, ma­chine learn­ing, and deep learn­ing are now be­ing used in the chem­i­cal in­dus­try. The chem­i­cal in­dus­try has be­gun us­ing AI for raw ma­te­ri­als load fore­cast­ing; pre­ven­tive main­te­nance and as­set man­age­ment; pre­dic­tion of phase di­a­grams; in­tel­li­gent chem­i­cal pro­cess­ing; and alarms. AI can sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the ef­fort analysing data and find pat­terns and out­comes in data that peo­ple sim­ply can­not find. Op­por­tu­ni­ties ex­ist in R&D to cre­ate higher value and higher mar­gin prod­ucts at a faster pace, par­tic­u­larly in spe­cialty and crop pro­tec­tion chem­i­cals. Ad­vanced an­a­lyt­ics and ma­chine learn­ing en­able high­through­put op­ti­miza­tion of mol­e­cules as well as sim­u­la­tion of lab tests and ex­per­i­ments for sys­tem­atic op­ti­miza­tion of for­mu­la­tions for per­for­mance and costs (“from test tube to tablet”). In ad­di­tion, ad­vanced an­a­lyt­ics and ma­chine learn­ing can drive the al­lo­ca­tion of best-avail­able re­sources to re­search projects in line with port­fo­lio pri­or­i­ties. They also en­able screen­ing of in­ter­nal knowl­edge and patent data­bases to max­i­mize use of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty and fill gaps. Ma­chine learn­ing can also help chem­i­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers run sim­u­la­tions on sus­tain­abil­ity and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact across a prod­uct’s life­cy­cle.

Op­por­tu­ni­ties ex­ist in R&D to cre­ate higher value and higher mar­gin prod­ucts at a faster pace, par­tic­u­larly in spe­cialty and crop pro­tec­tion chem­i­cals. Ad­vanced an­a­lyt­ics and ma­chine learn­ing en­able high-through­put op­ti­miza­tion of mol­e­cules as well as sim­u­la­tion of lab tests and ex­per­i­ments for sys­tem­atic op­ti­miza­tion of for­mu­la­tions for per­for­mance and costs (“from test tube to tablet”). In ad­di­tion, ad­vanced an­a­lyt­ics and ma­chine learn­ing can drive the al­lo­ca­tion of best-avail­able re­sources to re­search projects in line with port­fo­lio pri­or­i­ties. Ma­chine learn­ing can also help chem­i­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers run sim­u­la­tions on sus­tain­abil­ity and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact across a prod­uct’s life­cy­cle.

Emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies are not only driv­ing the chem­i­cal in­dus­try, they are sav­ing the en­vi­ron­ment by re­duc­ing waste, pol­lu­tion and cre­at­ing sus­tain­able busi­ness mod­els. Sus­tain­abil­ity is more than just about reg­u­la­tory com­pli­ance – it can be a rev­enue gen­er­a­tor and en­vi­ron­ment friendly.

Strate­gies for Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion: De­velop Port­fo­lio Ap­proach to Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion

Chang­ing busi­ness needs and ex­pec­ta­tions in the chem­i­cal in­dus­try must be ad­dressed with a flex­i­ble and evolv­ing busi­ness strat­egy, which in turn re­quires integration of busi­ness pro­cesses with man­u­fac­tur­ing and en­gi­neer­ing op­er­a­tions. This leads to a grad­ual evo­lu­tion of large and more com­plex col­lec­tions of IT so­lu­tions to sup­port these busi­ness pro­cesses. These col­lec­tions may in­clude so­lu­tions from a va­ri­ety of sup­pli­ers and em­ploy a broad range of in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nolo­gies.

De­fine Or­ga­ni­za­tional Ac­count­abil­ity and Re­spon­si­bil­ity

The def­i­ni­tion of or­ga­ni­za­tional ac­count­abil­ity ini­tia­tive will help to clar­ify the scope and char­ter be­tween the var­i­ous de­part­ments. ARC has iden­ti­fied the trans­for­ma­tional tech­nolo­gies that are cur­rently be­ing pi­loted by chem­i­cal com­pa­nies. These in­clude: pre­dic­tive and pre­scrip­tive an­a­lyt­ics, cy­ber­se­cu­rity, blockchain, pub­lic cloud, and mo­bil­ity. These trans­for­ma­tional tech­nolo­gies do re­quire re-think­ing sup­port struc­tures that go be­yond the IT and OT func­tions. Agility and dig­i­tal­iza­tion progress will be ma­jor busi­ness per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors as other chem­i­cal peers trans­form.

Im­prove Em­ployee Change Man­age­ment

Chem­i­cal com­pa­nies could im­prove change man­age­ment for its em­ploy­ees by cre­at­ing a dig­i­tal change ca­pa­bil­ity. As an ex­ten­sion of Hu­man Re­sources’ Learn­ing & De­vel­op­ment depart­ment, this would help de­velop pas­sion­ate change lead­ers at all lev­els in the com­pany, each ca­pa­ble of em­bed­ding dig­i­tal knowl- edge and un­der­stand­ing into their re­spec­tive or­ga­ni­za­tion­ally ac­count­able de­part­ments. Dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion ini­tia­tives and other tech­nol­o­gy­cen­tric projects could ben­e­fit from for­mal­iz­ing a change process early in a project and em­bed­ding this into the tech­ni­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion.

En­hance Em­ployee Knowl­edge Trans­fer and Shar­ing us­ing Ad­vanced An­a­lyt­ics

Chem­i­cal com­pa­nies should con­sider build­ing a knowl­edge man­age­ment strat­egy with a foun­da­tion on se­man­tic search or ad­vanced an­a­lyt­ics plat­form ca­pa­bil­i­ties. This would al­low ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence sys­tems to reach deeper into or­ga­ni­za­tional in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty and im­prove knowl­edge trans­fer be­tween em­ploy­ees. Ad­di­tion­ally, this would al­low de­part­ments to uti­lize knowl­edge and in­for­ma­tion shar­ing fully to ac­cel­er­ate ca­pa­bil­ity and com­pe­tency and help re­move the cur­rent data si­los be­tween de­part­ments and ad­min­is­tra­tive ar­eas.

Emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies are not only driv­ing the chem­i­cal in­dus­try, they are sav­ing the en­vi­ron­ment by re­duc­ing waste, pol­lu­tion and cre­at­ing sus­tain­able busi­ness mod­els. Sus­tain­abil­ity is more than just about reg­u­la­tory com­pli­ance – it can be a rev­enue gen­er­a­tor and en­vi­ron­ment friendly. Most chem­i­cal com­pa­nies are aware of the po­ten­tial and al­ready have a sus­tain­abil­ity strat­egy in place. Con­sumers, the gen­eral pub­lic, and in­vestors are vo­cif­er­ous about the con­cerns of chem­i­cals dam­ag­ing the en­vi­ron­ment etc.

Source: Medium

Source: Fu­ture ar­chi­tec­ture

Source: BASF

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