Global chemical companies face a variety of challenges, from relatively weak economic growth and increasing margin pressure to a growing need for customization and specialization, the rising importance of sustainability, and a loss of knowledge as waves of older workers reach retirement age. The research not only highlights some of these issues, but it also points to areas where new approaches to plant-focused IT are likely to bring results—and where companies can focus their efforts to move forward on the journey to becoming high-performance businesses.
Each company is different, and each will need to find its own way to balance central and local control over plant IT. The key is take a step back, develop an overall corporate /plant IT strategy, and formally address the topic of who should be accountable for which components—based on an understanding of the strengths that central IT and local operators both bring to the table. The right organizational structure will enable companies to tap into the best of both these worlds, and take a collaborative approach to managing plant IT for high performance.