Tag: Specialty chemicals

Specialty Chemicals Industry

Navigating Complexity for Specialty Chemical Companies: 8 Major Roadblocks and How to Over Them

With plummeting profitability and increasing market competition, specialty chemical companies are undergoing several unique challenges. They must identify strategies to pull through such roadblocks in order to survive in the long run.

The global specialty chemicals market continues to expand at a rapid pace. This growth has been underpinned by factors including increased productivity, sound business models, and portfolio restructuring. However, market growth isn’t exactly good news for the existing companies in the specialty chemicals industry. The flourishing market means that it would draw in more players and add on to the competitive pressure in the industry. Therefore, survival for specialty chemical companies greatly depends on understanding the most pressing challenges and leveraging insightful strategic planning to overcome them.

Key challenges facing specialty chemical companies 2019

specialty chemical companiesChanging business portfolios

Specialty chemical companies are increasingly being transformed through increasing product diversification and rapid merger and acquisition activities. Business portfolios of specialty chemical companies are constantly changing as producers add and dispossess divisions, engage in new market entries, and participate in mergers. Moreover, globalization has increased the business portfolio complexity of specialty chemical companies.

Dynamic demand patterns

One of the key challenges faced by specialty chemical manufacturers is uncertain and unpredictable demand patterns. They also have only limited visibility into future customer orders. The growing customer portfolios spanning over several end-use markets and visibility into demand variability represents significant challenges for specialty chemicals manufacturers.

Specialty chemical companies are currently facing several unique challenges. Fortunately, there are some strategies that specialty chemicals producers can take to support success. RFP for more insights.

Expanding product portfolios

In order to increase differentiation, strategize new market entry, and maximize customer loyalty, specialty chemical companies are continuously experimenting with new product innovations. New product introductions coupled with frequent adaptation of existing products have caused a significant rise in the number of products produced, consequently, leading to greater operational complexity.

Regulation and compliance

Specialty chemicals manufacturers are increasingly facing issues in documentation and certification of product quality and procedural compliance. These issues are largely driven by government regulations, end-use market requirements, or specific customer requirements. Furthermore, batch and lot level traceability requirements are becoming common in several segments and add to the complexity of operations.

Increasing customer intimacy

Specialty chemical companies are increasingly adopting the trend of moving closer to their customers by offering them tailored products and customer-specific service arrangements. Although moving closer to the customers has been a source of differentiation for specialty chemical companies, it has resulted in increased complexity of other business operations.

Get in touch with an analyst to know how we help clients in the chemical industry to keep track of market challenges and learn how our tailor-made solutions can help overcome major roadblocks in the market.

Industry price changes

The raw materials used by specialty chemical manufacturers are often priced on the higher side. The market fluctuations between countries often leave manufacturers vulnerable to the associated price drops. For instance, the 2014 shale gas price drop in the US resulted in heightened competition in Europe. This placed additional pressure on manufacturers in an already high-pressure market.

Growing demand for multi-stage manufacturing

Customers are increasingly seeking specialty chemicals that can only be produced through complex, multi-stage, multi-product processes that require more time to complete and an extensive list of components. Both of these can largely cut into the profit margin of specialty chemical companies.

Technology upgrade requirements

Most of the digital technology available today can be both a boon and a bane for specialty chemicals companies. While tools like IoT, artificial intelligence, and blockchain provide several advantages, implementing and integrating them into existing processes can be a time consuming and labor-intensive process.

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Specialty Chemicals Market Size Forecast: An Infiniti Research Case Study

With lower returns on investment and a more competitive market, specialty chemicals companies face unique roadblocks and must find new ways to grow. Click To Tweet

Over the last few years, the global specialty chemicals market has experienced inferior profitability rates within a more competitive environment. With the rising standards of living in many developing countries and swift growth of new technologically advanced financial prudence, the center of gravity of the global chemical industry is shifting. Moreover, as traditional companies are facing increasing pressure from local players and rival producers trying to seize a larger share of the global specialty chemicals market, new market entrants across the globe must find new ways to compete and grow. Additionally, specialty companies are dealing with an ever-increasing array of decisions and in many occasions are attempting to apply methods, processes, and tools that were developed in the era of lesser complexity. Furthermore, the inability to Request Proposalcope with the current complexity is resulting in higher costs, more unforeseen consequences, and lost opportunities for specialty chemicals companies.

Business Issues

  • The client: A specialty chemicals market player

The client – is an American chemical, biotechnology, and life science company. The company is headquartered in St. Louis, United States and has operations in over 40 countries. The specialty chemicals producer wanted to understand the market opportunity for marine outboard motor fuel additives in five countries. A market size forecast was needed as part of that strategic assessment. Lack of available data on the specialty chemicals product being investigated was the primary challenge. Additionally, incompatibility between the statistics available and a segmentation that would be meaningful to the specialty chemicals producer also created challenges in terms of how to adapt and utilize the available public domain data.

How Can Market Size Forecasting Help Specialty Chemicals Companies?

Market size forecasting is a key component of any strategic marketing planning. Knowledge of the size of the target market allows businesses to fully assess opportunities and accurately plan their approach and investments – wisely. Market size forecasting also helps specialty chemicals companies find new market niches, operate more efficiently, add values to their data, and minimize risks across geographies.

Summary of our market size analysis solution

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Client Journey

The market size forecast experts at Infiniti Research compiled information across a wide array of exclusive sources to help the specialty chemicals producer understand the market opportunity for marine outboard motor fuel additives. The experts also followed a comprehensive research method, which delivered valuable insights on technological advancements, geographical target regions, market requirements, and future enhancement possibilities

The Solution Benefits and the Business Impact

With the help of Infiniti’s market size forecasting engagement, the specialty chemicals company gained insights into the statistics available from relevant boating, marina and shipping associations. This allowed the them to cross-check and verify the total number of registered boats and establish base numbers for outboard motors. Additionally, vital assumptions and ratios relating to how additives are used in different types and sizes of the outboard motor, as well as the typical usage of different types and sizes of theGet More Info boat during a year were derived to help the client understand the market opportunity for marine outboard motor fuel additives in five countries.

Specialty Chemicals Market Future

Specialty chemical companies across the globe are facing perilous intersections of their own making. Business sectors will have to subsist with managing the unavoidable commoditization process. Companies that first succeed in identifying and analyzing the key components of their product lines and the nature of the businesses they possess will have a major role in shaping up the global specialty chemicals market.

A must-read case study for strategy experts and decision makers looking to develop a deeper understanding of the global specialty chemicals market

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12 Principles of Green Chemistry Explained

Chemicals are usually looked upon with an evil eye in the modern world. People are worried about environmental safety and health issues that are brought about by harmful chemicals. In addition to that, chemical companies themselves are struggling when it comes to the safe disposal of toxic substances and leakages. It comes as no surprise that people all over the world prefer organic goods in a bid to avoid such harmful chemicals. However, the truth is that chemicals are omnipresent, and cannot be avoided, as it essential in the manufacturing of infrastructure, electronic devices, household items, and even the food we consume. As a result, the concept of green chemistry has emerged to soften the impact of harmful chemicals on the environment and human health. Green chemistry or sustainable chemistry focuses on designing products and processes that minimize the generation or use of hazardous substances. It is different from environmental chemistry as it focuses more on technology to prevent pollution and reduce the consumption of non-renewable resources.

Principles of Green Chemistry

12 Principles of Green Chemistry


The saying “prevention is better than cure” is true not only in the healthcare industry but also the chemical industry. It is essential in green chemistry to design processes that reduce wastages as it is better to prevent it in the first place than to treat or clean up the waste after its creation.

Atom economy

All chemicals in green chemistry are a result of reactions at an atomic level. So by figuring out the atoms that are incorporated into the final product and the atoms that are wasted, the efficiency of the reaction can be increased. Manufacturers need to measure the atom economy percentage, which can be calculated by analyzing the formula weight of the atom utilized and all other reactants.

Atom economy = (FW of atoms utilized/FW of all reactants) X 100

To drive profits, organizations need to head forward and embrace new techniques and processes to unlock their hidden potential. Do you agree?

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Less hazardous chemical syntheses

This principle outlines that wherever applicable, synthetic methods should be used since they possesses little or no toxins that affect the environment or human health. The chemical industry may face difficulty in implementing this green chemistry principle as chemists usually work with highly toxic substances that have no substitute. However, it can be practiced by paying attention to the materials used for bring about chemical transformation.

Designing safer chemicals

Players in the greeb chemistry chemical industry should strive to reduce the toxicity of their final product without compromising on their functional efficacy. The green chemistry chemical industry often prefers highly reactive chemicals as they affect molecular transformation. However, it may also react with unintended elements in the environment or humans.

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Safer solvents and auxiliaries

Avoiding the use of auxiliary substances like solvents and separation agents whenever possible is one of the most important principles of green chemistry. Although reactions may not proceed without the use of solvents or mass separation agents, players in the green chemistry chemical industry can opt to use safer auxiliaries.

Design for energy efficiency

Chemical companies should design their products to consume less energy to decrease the overall environmental and economic impact. Green chemistry can be achieved by using synthetic methods at ambient temperature and pressure. Improving the green chemistry energy efficiency in the chemical manufacturing process will reduce the dependency on fossil fuels.

Use of renewable feedstocks

Although the concept of producing fuels and chemicals from feedstocks that never deplete seems impracticable, it is not entirely impossible. This green chemistry principle can become a reality due to developments in biotechnology, physics, agronomy, toxicology, and engineering. As a result, in green chemistry it allows chemical companies to use a renewable raw material or feedstock.

Reduce derivatives

To abide by the principles of green chemistry, chemical companies should avoid or reduce the use of unnecessary derivatives including blocking group, protection, and temporary modification of chemical or physical properties. Using such derivatives will require additional reagents further in the manufacturing process and generate additional waste.

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Infiniti’s Market Segmentation Solution Assists a Prominent Specialty Chemicals Supplier to Increase Product Penetration by 20%

The specialty chemicals space is witnessing considerable growth owing to the rising demand for function-specific chemicals among the end-user segments. Growing concerns regarding pollution and environmental degradation are necessitating the need for chemical substances that generate lower greenhouse emissions. Specialty chemicals, at large, comprise of antioxidants, biocides, catalysts, enzymes, and specialty coatings. Moreover, the relentless demand for specialty chemicals among the construction segment for various residential projects and public infrastructure contributes to the growth of the industry.

Some of the factors that may curtail the growth of the specialty chemicals industry include:

  • Aggressive competition: The specialty chemicals space is very competitive with the presence numerous offshore companies. Leading players in the chemical industry are facing the need to reduce their price offerings to gain a better market position. Moreover, it becomes essential for the companies to offer a differentiated set of products to pace up their position in the specialty chemicals space.
  • Fluctuating raw material prices: The prices of raw materials keep on changing, and the producers at large find it difficult to bridge the gap between the production and selling cost. Prominent organizations are facing the need to maintain consistency in their product offerings while compromising on the costs. In addition, businesses should also ensure proper planning to bridge customer relationships and improve their profit margins.

To counter these challenges and understand customers’ attitude toward the products, businesses are leveraging market segmentation solutions. An effective market segmentation study offers insights into the needs, priorities, and common interests of the audiences and adequately allocate the resources to meet the business requirements. A market segmentation solution further helps businesses develop a targeted marketing approach to advertise and sell their products.

The Business Challenge

  • The client- A renowned specialty chemicals supplier

The client, a renowned specialty chemicals supplier, wanted to identify different groups of purchasers in the market and target the products and services for each group. With the help of Infiniti’s market segmentation solution, the specialty chemicals supplier wanted to tailor their offerings for different groups and precisely meet the demands of the consumers. The primary objective of the client was to match their offerings with customers’ preferences and, in turn, improve their overall business efficiency.

IR- market 01

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Our Approach

To identify the potential targets and implement a robust segmentation strategy, the market segmentation experts at Infiniti also carried out extensive research comprising interviews and discussions with prominent stakeholders in the specialty chemicals space. The experts also compiled information from a wide array of reliable sources such as paid industry databases, industry forums, and company presentations.

The Solution Benefits and the Business Impact

The market segmentation solution offered by Infiniti helped the specialty chemicals supplier efficiently target and track each group and meet the needs of each individual segment. The solution also assisted the client in identifying potential ways to split the market based on demographic criteria such as the socio-economic status. Moreover, the solution also helped the client re-define their advertising and media campaigns to enhance the return on investment. The market segmentation solution also offered insights on the ways to devise potential branding strategies to keep themselves relevant in this competitive market space.

The Future

The growth of the chemical industry will be characterized by the advent of new technologies. Moreover, the industry is also likely to witness a stipulated growth owing to the rising demand for chemicals among the end-user segments such as construction, clothing, and agriculture.

A must-read case study for strategy specialists and decision makers looking to develop an understanding of the specialty chemicals industry


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Competitive Intelligence Helps a Prominent Specialty Chemicals Manufacturer Gain Greater Shareholder Value

The global chemical industry generates a revenue of $3 trillion with the majority of the contribution coming in from the Asian region. The industry comprises a diverse and complicated range of products such as specialty chemicals, commodity chemicals, and agricultural chemicals. Increasing technological innovations and chemical expertise are expected to fuel the growth of this sector. With the relentless growth of M&A in the chemical space, companies are focusing on realigning their portfolios to improve competencies and generate higher revenues. Prominent organizations are also focusing on developing their core strengths and acquisitions to deliver growth and gain greater shareholder value. With the gradual rise in the chemical manufacturing space in the US, the chemical sales in the US is projected to hit $1 trillion by 2018. However, this sector is prone to some challenges, including :

  • Stringent regulations: In the recent years, the chemical industry is witnessing overlapping regulations right from the manufacturing, labeling, and handling to the supply and storage of the products. It is estimated that US companies alone spend roughly more than $12 billion to meet the compliance requirements. The frequent fluctuations in the regulatory compliance are driving prominent companies to migrate toward the cloud to manage the cost of compliance.
  • Increasing competition: Within this competitive-centric environment, staying ahead of the competitors becomes challenging as the threat of new entrants in the chemical space is relatively high. The chemical space is also witnessing competition from nontraditional sectors including the energy, utilities, and mining. To remain abreast with the competition, leading organizations are facing relentless pressures to become agile and stay in the competition.

To address these aforementioned challenges and efficiently enhance their product positioning in the market, businesses are in need of a competitive intelligence solutions. Competitive intelligence solution is often used to seek the inside view of the company’s strategy. Moreover, the solution gains accurate information about the stakeholders and influencers and accurately gains precision of the competitors’ launch data and the customer behavior.


The Business Challenge

  • The Client: A leading specialty chemicals manufacturer
  • Area of Engagement: Competitive intelligence

A prominent specialty chemicals manufacturer with a considerable number of manufacturing units spread across the globe wanted to profile and analyze the potential competitors and their strengths and weaknesses in the chemical space. With the help of the competitive intelligence engagement, the client wanted to focus more on the key risks and opportunities and further capture a significant market share. The primary concern for the client was to bid for a lucrative market and make better decisions to enhance their product offerings in the chemical space. Through the engagement, the specialty chemicals manufacturer wanted to seek ways to improve their cost structure, brand, and quality of their product offerings.

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The Journey

To gain advantage and provide customized offerings to the customers, Infiniti’s competitive intelligence experts carried out extensive interviews and discussions with prominent stakeholders in the specialty chemicals space. With the need to improve their distribution channel, the experts at Infiniti also compiled information across a wide array of secondary sources including news media and competitors, industry experts, trade shows and conferences, and government records.

The Solution Benefit and the Business Impact

The competitive intelligence solution offered by Infiniti assisted the client to gain real-time information into the producers and their financial standing, the technologies implemented, and the suppliers of the raw materials. The engagement also sought ways to identify the prevailing technologies in the specialty chemicals space and offered better visibility into the technology implemented and the level of sales. The engagement further helped the client to develop a future strategy in positioning and customizing their product offerings. Moreover, it helped the client gain actionable insights into the promotional strategies, distribution approaches, and product service.

The Future

The future of specialty chemicals will be driven by innovations owing to the increasing demand from end-user segments such as the construction, automotive, plastic, and electronics. On the contrary, with China contributing to the majority of the production lines, the chemical products will find their future across the Asia-pacific region with a stipulated growth in the R&D activities among this region.

A must-read case study for strategy specialists and decision makers looking to develop an understanding of the chemical industry


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Top 5 Chemical Companies Across the World

The global chemical industry generates revenues of over $3 trillion and produces intermediaries and precursors for the majority of other consumer industries. Europe, North America, and APAC are the major contributing region in the chemical industries with major chemical companies located in these areas. The chemical companies are profoundly affected by factors such as volatile commodity prices, stringent regulations, rapid innovation, andIR_Brochure managing operational and manufacturing data. However, chemical companies have successfully tackled such challenges to create massive revenues for themselves.

Top 5 Global Chemical Companies


BASF SE is a German company and the largest chemical company in the world for the 9th year in a row. With an employee base of more than 122,000, the company posted sales figure of €57.5 billion in the year 2016. The company has a wide product range including chemicals, coatings, plastics, performance chemicals, catalysts, crop technology, crude oil and natural gas exploration and production. Their chemical SBU manufactures a wide range of industrial chemicals including amines, resins, solvents, glues, industrial gases, petrochemicals, and inorganic compounds.

Dow Chemicals

The Dow Chemical Company was an American multinational company which merged with DuPont to form DowDuPont. In terms of market capitalization, it is the second largest chemical company in the world. The company provides products and solutions to industries including agriculture, automotive, construction, energy, consumer goods, packaging, and infrastructure. Plastics, chemicals, and agricultural products are some of the prominent offerings from the company. With a presence over 160 countries, it is referred to as chemical company for the chemical companies, as in they sell most of its product to other chemical companies instead of end-user industry.


Sinopec is the largest supplier of petrochemicals in China for more than a decade. The company has come a long way experiencing rapid growth prospects as it was only the ninth largest chemical company a decade ago. The state-owned petroleum energy and chemicals company indulge in oil and gas exploration, production and sales of petrochemicals, chemical fertilizers, chemical fibers, and other chemical products. Additionally, it is also involved in storage and pipeline transportation of crude oil and natural gas, export and import business of crude oil, petrochemicals, and other chemicals.


SABIC is a Saudi company involved in the manufacturing of chemicals and intermediates, industrial polymers, fertilizers, and metals. With revenues of $35.5 billion in 2016, it is the fourth largest chemical company. It is also the second largest producer of ethylene glycol and world’s largest producer of MTBE, polyphenylene, granular urea, polycarbonate, and polyetherimide.


ExxonMobil is an American multinational oil and gas corporation which was formed by the merger of Exxon and Mobil. It is one of the largest oil company in the world with daily production of 3.921 million BOE. This chemical company’s main line of chemical business comes from petrochemicals which is why recently doubled its petrochemical capacity at its refining and petrochemical complex in Singapore.

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The Chemical Industry in the US – How Strong is its Export Scene?

According to the recent export import data, the chemical industry in the US has recorded an upward trend afteAsk an analystr a long hiatus. The positive trend in the chemical industry can be attributed to various factors such as the growth in the Asian economy, increase in usage of shale gas, easy availability of cheap feedstock, and rising number of M&As across the globe. The chemical industry in the US is largely responsible for the increase in the export volume for ethane, resulting in the growth of the overall industry. The US chemical industry is slowly recovering from the oil price fluctuations. The industry leaders have predicted a significant increase in exports for the US chemical market due to the commoditization of bulk chemicals and the surging demand for specialty chemicals. Much of the industry’s growth will be driven by the sub sectors such as agrochemicals, high-performance chemicals, and specialty chemicals along with low priced and abundant amounts of gas supplies.

Increasing Exports, Decreasing Imports – the US Chemical Industry

The US chemical industry is reducing its import volume by increasing domestic production capacity; thereby, becoming self-reliant and focusing on the production of export worthy commodities. The favorable policies for domestic production and manufacturing under the Trump administration, help the chemical industry to achieve self-sufficiency and predict healthy earnings for differentiated and specialty chemical producers. From a procurement perspective, the increase in domestic production will result in a rise in market entry opportunities. By developing the domestic production capacity, the US can drive export revenue and re-establish itself as one of the major players in the chemical market across the globe.

What’s Transforming the Global Chemical Industry? 

The chemical manufacturing companies must adopt these trends to strengthen their market position and increase their market position globally. Trends such as evolving regulatory landscape, mergers and acquisitions, digital transformation, and an increase in investments are transforming the global chemical and petroleum industry landscape. These trends have positively impacted every business process and activity right from production, compliance, and operations. The growth in demand and the sudden surge in the market competition has coerced the chemical manufacturers to adopt advanced technology, thereby streamlining process efficiencies, minimizing costs, and improving product quality.

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Market Entry Advisory: How Infiniti Research Assisted a Leading Chemicals Supplier Identify the Best Approach to Enter the European Market

In today’s competitive business scenario, businesses are accelerating at a fast pace with no limitations. They are planning to break stereotypes of not being confined to a particular region and are investing heavily in expansion strategies to showcase their products. In order to enter a new market, businesses need to understand the drawbacks affiliated to product entry such as the competitors, distributors, and compliance regulations. To help companies successfully establish themselves in new and niche segments, market entry strategy plays a pivotal role. Market entry advisory helps the company gauge information relevant to the company’s markets, determine market opportunity, market penetration strategy, and market development metrics. In the case of a chemical supplier, effective market entry advisory solutions will help the company devise new strategies to enhance the overall decision-making process.

Infiniti’s market entry strategy experts have more than 13 years of experience in helping clients deploy robust strategies in terms of market size calculations, competitor analysis, substitute product analysis, and market growth predictions. Infiniti’s market entry strategy experts also help the client allocate adequate resources and analyze customers’ buying pattern in a seamless manner.IR_Brochure

The Business Challenge

Like all other suppliers, a global chemical supplier specializing in manufacturing specialty chemicals wanted to evaluate the market potential for their products in Europe. The client wanted to analyze the market potential and identify and evaluate the main opportunities in the market space. Additionally, the chemical supplier was also facing difficulty in understanding the products in terms of positioning, revenue scores, geography, and channels. As a result, the chemical supplier wanted to devise an effective market entry strategy and business case.

Our Research Methodology

To help the client devise an effective market entry strategy, Infiniti’s market entry experts followed a comprehensive two-step research methodology, comprising of interviews and discussions with leading market stakeholders and product users. As a part of the secondary research, Infiniti’s market entry strategy experts also collated information from proprietary resources such as company publications, industry forums, journals, and news aggregators.

Market advisory

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Our Market Entry Strategy Helped the Client

  • Gain a detailed analysis of the European market for chemical supply
  • Analyze the client’s main competitors in terms of product range, commercial network, service, and pricing strategy
  • Determine long term corporate plans and formulate strategies to maximize the ROI
  • Present alternative brand positioning with special emphasize on commercial strategy and manufacturing strategy
  • Assess the product portfolio and pricing strategy for different market entry positioning

Benefits of Our Integrated Approach

In just eight weeks, the chemical supplier was able to gauge information on the competitors and their product positioning strategies. The client was also able to develop a robust market entry strategy and evaluate their product portfolio across different market segments.

A must-read case study for strategy experts and decision makers looking to develop an effective market entry strategy for the chemical landscape.

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Procurement Intelligence in the Chemicals Industry

The chemicals industry often encounters trouble in procuring the right raw materials of the right quality at the right price. In case of specialty chemicals, the purchasing expenditure can go as high as 60 percent of what is gained as sales revenue. Pricing is a highly volatile aspect in the global chemicals industry, which makes it more important for stakeholders to adopt the right procurement intelligence solutions.

Procurement challenges for chemicals

There are both demand and supply side bottlenecks in the chemicals industry. Even though the market for chemicals raw materials has been developing since the year 2000, the transportation expenses backed with delay in lead times has emerged as a major impediment in this industry. Similarly, being a highly niche industry the demand side often faces challenges in the form of complex product requests and inflexible production systems.

The right procurement strategy is sure to bring a huge difference in the purchasing plan of the company. For instance, companies can bring down the overall spending by up to 10 percent and boost their earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) by around five percentage points annually.

Procurement intelligence to the rescue

Though many chemicals companies have hired procurement managers to build an agile purchasing strategy, procurement intelligence is sure to improve their overall sales plan. By segmenting the entire purchasing process based on value and strategic importance, players in the chemicals industry can capture a major share of the market and beat the competition. Also by employing purchasing optimization tools, procurement intelligence helps players in the chemicals industry to overcome traditional roadblocks in the industry.

Procurement intelligence also improves the savings in the indirect categories like IT and communications, facilities management, and office supplies, by as much as 25 percent through right distribution of resources. It even helps in containing the volatility in the market, especially in the chemicals market. By imbibing best procurement practices, procurement intelligence enables companies to overcome both demand and supply side challenges and emerge as major players in the global chemicals industry.