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The chemistry behind Solvay’s cost transformation

A formula for growth

Call for change

Solvay, an €11 billion chemical company, launched an enterprise-wide cost transformation to fuel sustainability and profitability. By the end of 2020, the company had successfully kicked it off with a spend-reduction program—but Solvay also needed systems and processes that support a culture of efficiency and growth, as well as the capabilities for ongoing, optimized and sustainable cost savings. Short-term cuts and efficiency can be good, but an end-to-end cost transformation is better. So, the company partnered with Accenture to help launch a transformation for controlling costs—while preserving Solvay’s entrepreneurial spirit and advancing its sustainability goals.

In partnership with Accenture, Solvay’s cost transformation has been instrumental to unleash resources that enabled us to fuel our sustainable growth agenda for the upcoming years.

Jean-Marc Le Gac / Group Transformation Program Director

When tech meets human ingenuity

The team unified around Fuel for Growth (F2G), a strategy to create a healthy co-ownership of costs and growth investments for a shared sense of responsibility. The Solvay-Accenture team enabled this using a data-driven approach to identify sustainable savings, applying zero-based principles in everyday decisions and differentiating between “good” and “bad” costs. The team also leveraged the Anaplan Connected Planning Platform to connect the company’s financial models with the transformation strategy—and make financial information universally accessible. Gaining acceptance and participation from Solvay’s employees was key. Training sessions, virtual workshops, leadership coaching and other efforts helped everyone in the Solvay organization understand and contribute to the transformation.

The process was marked by collective intelligence, an owner’s mindset and culture, radical transparency and digitally enabled ways of working.

Jean-Marc Le Gac / Group Transformation Program Director

A valuable difference

After 12 months, Solvay had an end-to-end cost transformation in place. Going forward, budgets will work more efficiently and sustainably across the company without infringing on Solvay’s entrepreneurial spirit. Even better, Solvay is set to save more than €240 million over the next three years. The team also incorporated spend-to-emissions analytics, which derives the impact of spend across the value chain. In doing so, Accenture empowered Solvay to identify value chain impacts including emission reductions, reduced water consumption and biodiversity impacts. These new systems and ways of working, integrated across the company, allow Solvay to fully unleash growth, proving to be its best formula yet.