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New opportunities in economic crisis – how does the current economic crisis change the Chemical Industry sector?

The economic crisis has also reached the Chemical Industry. The current situation will, therefore, accelerate change beyond consolidation and classical cost savings in purchasing, logistics and general sustainability. Product and technology cycles will continue to be reduced and innovation is and remains a pivot for successful development. 

If we think about Research & Development in Chemicals throughout the last two centuries, we will find very few joint development approaches in the past. Since a couple of years this is changing. It started via co-operations within the chemical ecosystem between different chemical producers, also promoted via demerger and out-sourcing activities. A few chemical producers are ahead of this development. They are entering into the so called Hybrid Innovation Area, which can be described by joint or custom development activities crossing industry boundaries, developing new products and applications including stakeholders like universities, research institutes, other industries, customers and even competitors.

Especially the role of the sales representative is changing from a classical sales function towards a more customer process oriented application engineer.  Appropriate IT infrastructures and processes are required to cover the need to exchange information and data between all parties involved.

Based on Service Oriented Architecture, product innovators are able to orchestrate alliances and intellectual capital.  SAP is actively working on this topic together with our customers in order to shape a solution able to cover these complex IT requirements beyond the company boundaries.  

We would be glad to welcome you for these discussions and opportunity to share experiences and expectations.  Please contact me or simply provide a description of what you would like to see in this type of application on this site.

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  • Thorsten,

    I agree that roles are changing – you used the example of the sales mgr or account exec in chemicals becoming more customer-value focused.  In order for this change to take place, the traditional role and duties of the sales mgr must be refined.  The ever-important role of the customer service rep, that friendly voice who is the first point of contact with the actual customer, must now have information access to offload all the running around normally done by the account exec.  MSDS’s, BOL’s, ASN’s, invoices, order dates/arrivals, etc – all of this stuff is now managed by the CSR and not the account exec.  This allows the account exec to focus on the value add services. 

    Many roles have changed, and IT continues to be the core enabler.  The major trend today, unfortunately, is deep layoffs in the chemical sector, which means those remaining will have to do more with fewer people, and roles will need to change again.