Nice concise summary of the various challenges facing the modern chemical industry and some of the technologies that can be used to drive value in the face of those headwinds.
The chemicals industry is more than a single industry. It is a group of industries that produce a wide range of products across many unique segments. Base chemicals, paints, beauty products, fragrances, and food flavorings all face pressure due to rapid changes in digital technology, consumer demand, and global competition.
In the past, large producers dominated the market. These large producers valued operational efficiency over flexibility and adaptability. Today, the market is challenged by niche players that strongly focus on consumer demand. These players have prompted incumbents to differentiate themselves by producing smaller batches for individual customer needs and selling services, experiences, and outcomes, while being early adopters of digital technology at the business core.
Large established firms and smaller emerging competitors deal with the same dynamics. Rapid commoditization of the industry has accelerated as oil prices have remained low. Volatile feedstock prices have added an element of cost variability. New technologies, such as 3D printing, have provided new opportunities for plastics, resins, ceramics, and powders.
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