A modern company cannot do without a state-of-the-art ERP system to manage core processes and the entire production chain in a simple and effective way. This is a need felt across all sectors, industrial ones in particular, in which constant supply chain control is a must for managing product quality, batch traceability as well as full safety of the production cycle and end consumer.
This is certainly the case in the chemical industry, where companies are facing a dual challenge: on the one hand they must guarantee high production standards while on the other, they are required to keep in pace with an increasingly dynamic and competitive market, in the midst of a digital transformation. In this blog post we will analyse trends and challenges of the sector, and take a look at specific solutions for chemical companies.
Chemical industry: market trends and challenges
In the chemical industry, customer expectations have led to a demand for increased production customisation. Add to this the possibility of easily purchasing from manufacturers on the other side of the world, with a close to infinite amount of solutions and customisation options. This is one of the main advantages of globalisation, which enables customers and manufacturers to benefit from a vast yet highly competitive market.
In order to keep in pace with competitors, chemical companies must invest in modern technologies in order to create a cooperative, cloud-based and smart, namely data-based ecosystem that offers tangible returns. Major technologies that can help companies to effectively respond to market demand include Artificial Intelligence (AI), which enable the leveraging of predictive tools, transforming data into a high added value resource.
Moreover, the chemical industry can also benefit from the innovation of industry 4.0. Thanks to the implementation of Analytics, IOT and Machine Learning technologies, companies can optimise productivity and resources.
Without a doubt, one of the major challenges facing the chemical industry is the one linked to production programming. A perfect resource planning enables optimal supply chain management involving a series of specific variables in the sector (like the management of liquids in a tank and reactors, the management of formulas or seasonality), which must comply with highly stringent safety and production quality regulations.
This latter aspect includes yet another set of variables. If on the one hand rules change extremely fast, each market presents specific regulations that require companies to differentiate production standards according to the geographic area in which they sell their products.
But how is it possible to exploit the manifold opportunities offered by the market, while also tackling numerous challenges that can limit business development? It is worth mentioning an interesting study by McKinsey* in response to this question, according to which companies can benefit from a 6% profit increase simply through the optimal use of the right technologies in their production processes.
ERP for chemical industry
Today, companies are called to adopt a more proactive approach to the management of processes, in response to new market challenges. Specifically, they need tools that provide them with end-to-end visibility, to optimise supply chain processes, thus enabling the following:
● The forecasting of demand
● The planning of raw material requirements
● The efficient allocation of resources
● Warehouse and logistics management
● Batch traceability and recalls.
Moreover, the sector shows unique aspects regarding production, processes and formulas, which must be suitably managed through the functionalities of solutions specifically studied for the industry.
Traditional ERP systems, especially those not designed for the chemical industry, are no longer capable of efficiently responding to the current needs of companies, let alone guaranteeing suitable support in tackling manifold market challenges and leveraging opportunities for growth.
Therefore state-of-the-art solutions are required, which support the most modern technological integrations and guarantee continuous updates in terms of laws and regulations, environmental and sustainability requirements.
The support of consultants, with solid experience in the sector and with implemented technological solutions, is another fundamental element. This is the only way in which a company can turn criticalities linked to its production processes and supply chain into opportunities that can be leveraged in competitive terms, on the market.
Infor Cloudsuite Chemicals: a state-of-the-art suite
Infor Cloudsuite Chemicals is a complete solution designed to satisfy the needs of companies in the chemical industry, which has been chosen by over a thousand companies worldwide. It is a cloud-based suite that enables the management of all complexities linked to companies operating in the industry, as well as the continuous evolutions to be faced including specific regulations.
As an Infor Gold Partner, Atlantic Technologies has extensive experience in the implementation of ERP solutions and can provide customers with all the support they need to help them implement digital transformation in their processes. Inside the Cloudsuite, Infor M3 is the solution that offers reliability and cost reduction for companies operating in the chemical industry, while also enabling them to optimise formulas, seasonality, the management of attributes and compliance with regulations. In this way, companies can rapidly adjust to evolving market trends and access new business opportunities.
Moreover, thanks to the functionalities of Graphical Lot Tracker, Infor M3 provides complete information on batch traceability, thus enabling the isolation and recall of all finished products and raw materials associated with any quality or safety issues, in real time. This boosts the efficiency and effectiveness of batch tracing procedures, saving time and money and preventing situations that could cost them their reputation on the market, with customers and in legal terms.
Infor Cloudsuite for the chemical industry also provides Infor Optiva (PLM) and Infor EAM (Enterprise Asset Management). Infor Optiva accelerates the time-to-market of new products, in terms of development and manufacturing, as well as detailed labels processing and regulatory compliance.
EAM is the Infor solution for asset management, which supports businesses in preventive and predictive maintenance, seamlessly integrating with all other solutions, minimising inactivity times and cutting costs.
However, choosing the best solutions isn’t enough. Often a company also needs to undergo cultural change, to fully embrace the digital transformation which the market demands, if it is to maintain its competitive edge and let its business grow. Hence the importance of choosing a team of consultants who are capable of understanding the company’s needs and combining them with the unique and complex chemical industry.
At Atlantic Technologies we deploy all our skills in the chemical sector and our expertise in the implementation of Infor solutions, at the service of customers, without forgetting change management, which is fundamental for all companies that decide to focus on people in a continuous innovation process, in order to tackle market challenges.
Our team of Infor Cloudsite Chemicals Consultants provides specialised consultancy in the chemical industry and accompanies customers along their path of digital transformation, with an approach that is consistently focused on their needs and the sector’s special characteristics.
Contact us for a customised demo on the Infor solution for the chemical industry.