The challenge for all chemical companies, large and small, is to focus on business growth throughout all economic and industrial cycles (up and down). A steady focus on sustainable business growth will prove to be a company’s competitive advantage and enable it to survive challenging times.
Chemical companies need to identify key industries or macro trends that will stimulate the next wave of growth. For example, meeting growing global food needs and achieving food security is a sustainable development goal of the United Nations. Strong cooperation is needed to provide significant opportunities for energy, fertilizer and agricultural markets to help achieve these goals.
When chemical companies start their transformation journey and accelerate revenue growth through key growth levers, they should adopt agile thinking. This may be more challenging than it sounds, because change involves taking people out of their comfort zone (and the way they currently work) and forcing them to do different things. The leadership role becomes the most critical in promoting the change of the whole organization.
Chemical companies have various opportunities to promote the transformation of thinking mode from “traditional” to “agile”
From a product manufacturer to a supplier of solutions and services that may need to be manufactured
From extensive risk aversion to adopting a purposeful risk description — thoughtful but agile
From “internal completion” mentality to cooperation with various ecosystem participants (such as suppliers, customers, universities)
From defining customer needs through orders to defining their needs through their buyer value and customer’s buyer value
From focusing on attracting talents to focusing on attracting, retaining and developing talents
From focusing too much and too early on technical infrastructure rather than process and personnel, to becoming business led, process driven and technical support
From the short-term focus of self proving continuous improvement to the long-term focus of supporting agile transformation
From reward’s response to problems and problems to reward’s lack of “noise” – the response of perception and evaluation
From running security policies or replicating peer-to-peer policies to exploring innovative solutions based on tested and trusted methods and components
To establish, accelerate and maintain momentum through innovation, customer centeredness and pricing leverage requires companies to conduct self-criticism and have self-awareness of the typical characteristics and tendencies of the chemical industry. This awareness will enable a new way of thinking that will drive agility, personal and business performance, and shareholder value.