Navigating the coronavirus chemical industry impact

The chemical industry is no stranger to disruption, from SARS to trade policy conflict and the financial crisis. Yet COVID-19 is unprecedented in its impact, creating a universal imperative for governments and businesses to take immediate action to protect their people.

Unlike many other sectors, the chemical industry is not in a position to stop production and send workers home. Instead, it needs to strike the right balance between “social distancing” and keeping plants running to provide the basic necessities for society, as well as the antiseptics, disinfectants, protective packaging and more needed to fight the pandemic.

Across disruptions, one success factor stands out: resilience. From strategy to operations and execution, building a sustainable, resilient business has been key—and now, it is more important than ever.

What to do now: Manage the response

Actions to mitigate near-term operational risks and protect your people include:

Response governance

Quickly implement the program management capabilities, infrastructure, and processes required to triage and respond.

People, communication and collaboration

Stay engaged and keep communicating with your people to boost morale. In communities where COVID-19 has had a large impact, look for additional social responsibility roles your company could take on to help. Leverage the full functionality of digital technologies to interact and coordinate with employees, customers, suppliers and stakeholders.

Liquidity and investments

Safeguard liquidity and anticipate disruptions in customer industries, value chains and the global financial system. Rationalization and prioritization of relevant investments/ongoing spend.

Supply chain and operations

Build redundancy in critical plant operations—including contingency plans for plant workers to ensure continuity of operations. Provide secure, remote access when feasible. Analyze supply chain risks and disruptions—particularly third-party vendors. Conduct inventory monitoring/planning/projection at producer and customer level.

View All

Post-coronavirus chemical industry actions to build resilience

Post the COVID-19 crisis, the immediate next step is to conduct a fact-based audit of crisis management and performance (including an external benchmark). Next, zero-basing all functions to free up resources is recommended, including setting up governance to sustain the zero-based improvements. Determining how to capture value from past technology investments is also essential.

To build resilience, chemical companies should consider taking action across the following areas:

R&D

Apply data science, advanced learning, process and data integration to increase productivity; apply virtual agents on customer interface for 24x7 service levels.

Production

Move to the next level of production: automated, remote controlled and data science augmented. Enable the digital worker.

Customer Engagement

Build next-level marketing and sales capability with improved customer experience, order-to-cash automation, virtual agents and digital services.

Intelligent Enterprise Management

Create data and applied intelligence platform to increase transparency, create actionable insights and identify optimization measures.

Support Functions

Digitize and automate by implementing no-touch business services using intelligent automation, robotic process automation and user experience design. Co-source and/or partner if top quartile performance is not the best use of investments and resources.

View All

Contact us

Subscription Center
Stay in the Know with Our Newsletter Stay in the Know with Our Newsletter