In the next 20 years, the chemical and materials industries will face fundamental changes, forcing them to adopt new skills and set new goals. These changes will have a significant impact on the flow of materials and information. In its new report, the chemicals and materials company of 2040, lux research outlines the factors that affect these industries and how they will lead to large-scale change.
At present, there are four major trends in the chemical and materials industry: Transformation of raw materials and resources, sustainability, changes in consumer demand and digital transformation. The first two will affect the flow of materials, and the second two will affect the flow of information.
“The chemical companies of the future will be very different from those of today,” said Anthony schaavo, senior analyst at lux research and lead author of the report “Companies that don’t develop, invest in sustainability programs and digital transformation won’t survive this change.”
The pressure of sustainable development will be shown in various forms. Changes in energy demand driven by the growth of electrified transport will change the economics of natural gas and petroleum feedstocks, while the need to create sustainable plastics and chemicals will drive the use of bio based and recyclable resources. At the same time, climate change will damage the economic benefits of large centralized refineries and traditional production processes. “These factors will push the chemical industry into a smaller, more decentralized, more localized and more flexible mode of production,” schavor explained “Technologies such as chemical recovery and fermentation will be the main beneficiaries of this shift, while the business model will also bring greater flexibility. “These technologies are consistent with the growing consumer demand for materials and products that are more sustainable and personalized.
With the explosive development of digital technology, more data are collected from the actual operation of chemical industry than ever before. At the same time, the digital sales platform makes the flow of goods and capital, as well as the purchase behavior of customers in the industry more transparent. The most significant impact of digital transformation will be the business model. New tools and data are critical to enabling service – and result driven business models. This will help the chemical industry to maintain growth despite declining consumption and provide customized products to smaller and smaller niche markets. Digital sales platforms will weaken these differences between the bulk commodity and specialty chemicals businesses, because they can even more easily customize bulk commodity materials to a certain extent while reducing costs.
“This will lead to a new division between high-quality chemical companies and low-cost chemical companies in this industry,” schavor said. Senior chemical company will integrate new digital tools with traditional special chemical services, such as formula development and production assistance, and deeply participate in product development with customers. Cheap chemical companies sell high-quality special materials at the lowest price, but only provide online and automated support. Chemical enterprises now need to start planning response measures, so as not to be caught off guard.