Technology and business practices are evolving and the shifting expectations of customers are quickly raising the bar for most suppliers. e-Commerce interactions in the chemical industry will need to be more customer-focused and richer. In the near future, all B2B processes will be digitized. That is a shift that will enable sellers to more effectively and proactively improve their marketing efforts and customer reach.
Consumers have become accustomed to convenient, easy interactions as they shop. They are demanding the same kind of experience at work.
This change will have a fundamental impact on the competitive landscape. If you are still in doubt, let me add a few more trends that are specific to the chemical industry:
- Before the crash in 2008, markets were mostly short.
- Fracking is not a young technology but its impact became evident only a few years ago. The US, in fact, will become a lead net exporter – we’re speaking of USD 77B of chemical exports by 2019.
- For years it was believed that the Asian market will continue to grow strongly. That also led to investments in manufacturer capacity expansions. But currently, and in particular, the Chinese economy, is not living up to expectations.
- Sanctioned countries such as Iran could not participate in the chemical industry for many years. They do not seem to be interested in cutting back production in order to protect global pricing.
- Cross border business is increasing year on year with improved lead times.
- The rate of change is dynamic and is dramatically increasing over time, which leaves industry professionals a lot less time to respond.
- Executives who are part of that post-WWII, baby boomer generation are retired or about to retire, trying to think about the best way to give the reigns to that next generation of generation X or millennials.
Petrochemical companies that enhance their digital B2B capabilities will be in a better position to adapt to a changing competitive landscape. They can take advantage of several important opportunities, including deeper and stronger customer relationships, streamlining lead qualifications, and extending company reach.
The next installment of this blog series is an important one for us. Now that we’ve set the stage for the need for innovation through digitalization, we’d like to discuss its benefits!