What challenge(s) do our clients face?
Capital intensive assets, risk management and safety, a diverse range of clients and product uses, environmental pressures, global logistics… these are just a few characteristics which raise complexity in the Chemicals sector.
The sector is marked by specific and technical features ranging from raw material fulfilment to final product sale, which raise complex and differentiated challenges throughout the value chain.
The relationship between supply and demand is complex, with commodities, influenced by exchange rates and geopolitical contexts, being transformed in large industrial plants requiring capital-intensive assets with uninterrupted production processes. Simultaneously, this must be matched with a varying demand influenced by global competitors as well as the enormous variety of clients, segments and product uses.
Sustainability, and its regulations, has also had a growing influence on the operations of all players, especially given the environmental toll that extraction and production yield.
Overall we are seeing consumption profile changes, legislative changes, public pressure and technological advancements, shifting medium – and long-term strategies throughout the sector.
How do we help?
In this challenging context, Integration has been a partner to our clients, supporting them with a large variety of projects ranging from supply chain efficiency programmes to new market entries.
We have worked across countries, allowing us to understand the Supply Chain and sales conditions across various markets. As a result, we have seen that the challenges between companies and countries vary a lot and that the solution must be adjusted to each reality.
With this in mind, our approach ensures we deeply understand each company’s context, working hand-in-hand with our clients. We bring pragmatic and practical perspectives to our solutions, thus enabling businesses to connect strategy with tactics and operational plans. Alongside data-driven decisions based on your business’ reality, Integration also embeds technical, business and change management perspectives in each solution.
Some common ways in which we have helped our clients include:
Commonly applied services
Integration supports companies across the value chain by leveraging expertise from each of our practices – Supply Chain, Marketing and Sales, Finance and Management, Implementation and Leadership and Organization – supported by our Sustainability and Tech-Lab competence centres.
We have worked with clients in different categories, geographies and positions along the value chain:
In this video, a range of clients from the Chemical sector talk about their positive experience working with Integration.
A global company was in the ramp up period of a new operation, having just inaugurated a new factory in a new country, which by nature brought out some challenges, such as understanding the new market dynamic, clients and competitors and ensuring a stable and efficient operation.
One of the company’s challenges and goals for this ramp up period was to ensure domestic market penetration while reaching its financial targets. This demanded a full revision of its planning capabilities, from understanding and forecasting the demand, to enabling business choices, such as inventory levels, service level to sustain market penetration, and of course connection to the business strategy.
Various symptoms of the problems in the results and governance were visible, but we delved deeper with interviews and field visits, as well as quantitative analyses to understand the problems root cause.
With clear gaps and opportunities identified, we focused on redesigning the inventory policy, S&OP, Control Tower and order fulfilment processes, KPIs and governance models as well as the Supply Chain organizational structure. All of this built together with the client and adjusting the solution to its context and needs.
We supported the implementation of all the recommended solutions, which involved revising planning processes and rituals, implementing a new inventory policy, building supporting tools, coaching the team, and fine-tuning the design to best suit their reality.
This set strong foundations from which they generated a much more consistent operational performance and inventory, sustaining growth and allowing them to reach the financial and market penetration targets.
A global player in the petrochemical industry entered Mexico with a strong market penetration in its first 5 years.
With a sizeable market share, they had the challenge of optimizing their existing business model and Go-to-Market strategy, with emphasis on clarifying their vocation and regional scope, as well as preparing to scale the business over the next 5 years.
Integration had to intricately understand the needs of the different customer segments and design a value proposition that was both attractive for the customers and profitable for our client.
We took a 5-step approach:
- The first step was to understand the market potential, its dynamics and customer needs to define the company’s vocation for the next strategic cycle (regional focus, product orientation and customer segments).
- With a clear vocation validated by the leadership team, we worked on building the client’s segmentation considering the client’s current attractiveness, potential and right to win (or be profitable).
- With the segmentation in place, we defined each of the Go-to-Market enablers that would help meet the strategic objectives defined for each segment. These enablers included service level packages by segment, distribution strategy, organizational structure, commercial policy, and supply chain drivers.
- Next, Integration built a P&L 5-year simulation to measure the financial benefits of implementing the new Go-to-Market for our client.
- Finally, we built an implementation roadmap to have clarity on the timeline, resources needed, governance model and KPIs to ensure a successful implementation.
Having multifunctional teams and engaging all areas in the workshops and discussions was the key success factor to achieving the excellent project results.
We were able to build clarity on the market, client needs and client potential as well as a 5-year financial projection quantitatively measuring the benefits of implementing the new GTM.
For example, with 50% of their customers generating only 10% of the volume, we deemed those customers not profitable enough to support the client’s next strategic cycle and focused on a new segment which would drive profitable growth.
A large chemical distributor had recently been acquired by a private equity firm and was facing pressure to reduce the overstocks and stock-outs which were negative affecting performance and client image.
With a complex supply chain – more than 1500 SKU’s, imported lead times, commodity variability, demand volatility, service level as a key factor of differentiation – and a challenging context, with restrictions on profitability and cash, this client counted on Integration’s support to optimize the supply chain management.
We reviewed the entire planning process, with an emphasis on simplification and quality.
A complete diagnosis of their supply chain was the first step. For that, we conducted several analyses focused on the quality of this distributor’s inventory and sales characteristics. That, alongside interviews with procurement, operations, finance, and commercial staff, gave us an overview of the challenges that they were facing, as well as a map of the supply chain characteristics, such as responsiveness and required service level.
The second step was the design phase, which was divided into two work fronts: one to redesign the inventory policy and another to redesign the planning processes, organizational structure, and governance.
Following the design, Integration helped implement two planning cycles which would see the purchasing decisions follow the redesigned inventory policy. At that point, Integration’s support was crucial during the training of procurement staff as well as leading the first S&OP meetings – guaranteeing alignment between commercial, procurement, and finance for the following months.
The quantitative results of the project were clear – in the first two months, stock levels reduced by 16% combined with 70% fewer stock-outs. Furthermore, the planning capability was successfully embedded in the team to drive further improvements over time.
Plastic packaging is changing rapidly as consumers, society and governments see the impacts of virgin plastics and apply increasing pressure for more sustainable solutions. Even though alternative packaging solutions are coming to the market, plastic recycling is expected to be an important part of the solution in the short to mid-term.
Our client, a leading petrochemical company, and one of the biggest producers of virgin plastic polymers needed to define its strategy to enter the recycled plastics value chain, thereby staying relevant whilst the demand for virgin plastics declined.
Moving to a Circular Economy model requires a reversed logistics chain of waste generators, collectors, and recycling companies working together. The dynamics of this reversed chain vary significantly per geography and good information on value chain operations or quantitative data is often lacking.
To understand the plastic recycling landscape and determine the most suitable model for our client, Integration visited and assessed multiple players in each step of the chain, understanding their operating model, volumes, margins, and service level including how they secure a constant availability of waste flows.
We worked with the client to create a comprehensive business case that introduced a post-consumption recycled polymer to the market. Our due diligence supported them in selecting strong recycling partners, which could deliver the required volume and quality level and they are now proceeding with a full implementation.