The topic of digitization is coming more and more into focus for the more traditional industries. The chemical industry, which is one of those, is placed in a business-to-business (B2B) relationship. Here, the digitization creates new opportunities for all their customers and suppliers in the markets. For example, automation, standardization, and harmonization of processes could result in faster delivery, higher quality, and better pricing. Finally, all these aspects are beneficial for their stakeholders.
An old industry is learning new tricks
If you think about digitization, what is the first thing you are thinking of? Maybe, Google, Facebook or Amazon, the Silicon Valley in the United States, a person writing source code or enhanced robotics from Boston dynamics?
However, the imagination of digitization is most often a new technology, which would make life easier or allow us to do things we could not do before. So, let us face it, if we think about digitization, we don’t necessarily think about the chemical industry. However, the digitization of processes, implementation of new software and the automation of routines are recent topics in this more traditional industry.
What is digitization?
By talking about digitization, we would expect the transformation of previously analog or manually routines and processes into digitalized routines or even automated processes. As a result, we expect to achieve more by doing the same task more efficiently than before or even not at all anymore because it isn’t reasonable. For example, workflows can be approved within the software, in comparison to do a print outs, sign the print, scan it, and email the scan to the next workflow partner.
Therefore, one aspect of digitization is the reduction of breaks between different types of media. Otherwise, digitization also enables the collection and generation of new data and therefore enables a company to draw new conclusions from their information.
Digitization creates new opportunities
As depicted in the above abstract, digitization unlocks new business opportunities which results in new business models and in fact a new market approach. With more and more information, services can be aligned and created just for the needs of the customer. For example, a company could easily share their information with a broad audience. In the chemical industry, we can think of different areas for digitization:
- Manufacturing processes / Production routines
- Logistical processes / Stock and Warehousing
- Management processes
- Business Models e.g. online platforms
Especially the online platforms need a lot of information about the product, the application, the market, availability and maybe even price.
The current market situation changes
Different online platforms come more into focus in the chemical industry. The online world offers all the relevant information to the right time and even more. Ideally, the company has already built some services around their own online platform to attract potential new customers, but also add value for the current customers. On the other side, this approach brings more transparency to the market and reduces the margin of the companies as suppliers and even products are more rapidly exchangeable.
Who offers chemicals online?
To offer chemicals through an online platform, is comparable to a direct business approach, but with less personal customer interactions. Here, the same laws and guidelines are relevant to cope with, to have the right regarding the distribution of chemicals. For example in Europe, this is exactly handled by the European Union. Nevertheless, besides the regulations of chemical business, this is still attractive to reach potential customers as the interaction between customers and companies changes. Just to mention some of the players in this business field are:
- Amazon Business
- Univar Solutions
- and furthermore.
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