If there is one industry that has arguably had the biggest impact on almost all the facets of human life, it has to be the chemicals industry. Pick any industry- agriculture, food & beverage, hygiene & sanitation, décor, etc., chemical industry is the force driving them all. One of the fastest growing industries, the chemicals industry contributes a little over 5 percent of the global GDP.
The industry is set to do well in 2019 with the industry experts predicting a healthy growth rate, and also with the chemicals manufacturers making conscious efforts to continuously improve and upgrade their operations. Some of these efforts include working on having shorter product life cycles, and adopting different technological trends that have erupted onto the scene in recent times. One key component of the manufacturers’ growth story in 2018 was the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, as 2018 saw ERP systems continue to evolve and force the manufacturers to update their IT infrastructure. And with the arrival of 2019, we are set to witness some new ERP trends – and some old ones – dominate the chemicals manufacturing landscape.
If you are a chemicals manufacturer, this blog – which will give you an idea of the top 10 ERP trends in 2019 – will help you take stock of the changes in the industry, and let you keep pace with those changes. Continue reading:
1) ERP at the shop floor: Till date, the chemical manufacturers have largely used an ERP for chemicals to manage formulation, compliance, Quality Control, traceability-related issues, inventory control, costing and accounting, etc. But their ERP system assisting them with the production part at the shop floor has not been a commonplace thing. However, with the businesses becoming increasingly competitive, the year 2019 will see chemical manufacturers integrating their chemicals ERP software more and more with the overall manufacturing process. This means that the production managers at the shop floor will be able to fetch the production data in real-time, conduct inspections, manage the machinery & scheduling process more efficiently, and pass on the critical business data to the management at the top floor.
2) The year of agile ERP: We discussed in brief how the changing customer expectations pose a challenge in front of the chemical manufacturers. To take on this issue, the manufacturers need a flexible and agile ERP solution, which can anticipate and respond to rapidly changing products, customer expectations, partners and even the suppliers. Let’s say, if there is a demand for a new product, the chemical manufacturers need to meet it as quickly as possible. For that, they need an ERP for chemicals manufacturing industry that allows adding classifications, formulas, business rules, etc. to the system rapidly.
3) Digitization: Artificial Intelligence (AI) enables the system to anticipate potential problems before they snowball into a major crisis for the manufacturers. The Internet of Things (IoT) allows more data to be channeled into the system. With the technology getting smarter and more connected, the chemical manufacturers need an ERP for chemicals that can accommodate all of it. This will have massive benefits for them, such as business-critical data being collected and sent to the right people at the right place in just the right time. Besides, the chemical manufacturers will enjoy greater transparency of their supply chain, shipping partners and customer inventory to greatly improve decision-making.
4) Data as an asset: They say that data is the new oil, which means it is world’s most valuable resource. Thus, there is a strong need amongst the businesses for a tool that can have the ability to collect, report and visualize massive amounts of data for actionable impact. ERP system is precisely that tool, and the year 2019 will see more chemical manufacturers look for the capability of extracting data from diverse areas to get new insights — and even new revenue streams — in their prospective chemicals ERP.
5) Increased adaptability: With challenges such as the customer and packaging expectations, label requirements, and regulatory requirements, etc. getting increasingly complex, and also with the chemical manufacturing companies entering more emerging markets — each with their own demands — the need for the ERP systems loaded with the ability to deliver the variability in diverse marketplaces has gone up. In 2019, the demand for ERP for chemicals manufacturing industry that can deliver the variability will be significantly high.
6) The rise of industry-specific solutions: The trend of ‘one standard ERP for all industries’ has long faded. This is 2019 we are talking about, and more and more companies are seeking ERP solutions that deliver the critical industry-specific features, instead of going for add-ons and customizations. Considering the chemical manufacturers, there are a number of complex processes unique to the industry and its micro-verticals. Additionally, there are different compliance requirements for them. This makes it imperative for the chemicals manufacturers to look for more personalized solutions rather than the standard ones. This need will be more prominent than ever in 2019, with the manufacturers picking industry-specific ERP for chemicals.
7) Security: We spoke about data being an asset in 2019. We also spoke about technology facilitating more connected devices than ever. With more data, more users, and more connected devices, higher will be the threat to data security. While an ERP system alone can’t cover all the security requirements, it does offer controls to protect the data it contains. This threat, coupled with the increasingly complex regulatory space, requires companies to have solutions that have governance, risk and compliance (GRC) functionality embedded. In 2019, a chemicals ERP that can cover the data security, and compliance risks, among others, will be most sought after.
8) Mobile ERPs: In today’s times, the ERP user is becoming increasingly mobile, and expects to have functionality and ease of access to information on all devices, from anywhere, and at any given time. In sum, the ERP users demand for solutions that can be accessed even on the smartphones. With mobile workforces becoming common even in the chemical manufacturing industry, mobile ERP solutions should be the expectation of any chemical manufacturer in 2019.
9) Focus on automation: Process automation within ERP solutions has a myriad of benefits for the process manufacturers in general, and chemical manufacturers in particular. It helps them reduce production timeframes, costs, and error rates, among others. Additionally, process automation also helps the manufacturers with inventory management, and better sales projections. Businesses are increasingly getting aware of this fact, and it will be no surprise if they focus on their ERP driving process automation in the year 2019.
10) The impact of digital marketing: Beating the competition that has only intensified with time will be another challenge for the chemical manufacturers in the coming year. To remain competitive, businesses will look to explore new avenues, and digital marketing is one of them. A report from Statista says there will be around 2.77-billion social media users around the world in 2019; that’s approximately 36 percent of world’s total population. These users are scattered around different platforms like Facebook, Twitter Instagram, etc., who have already tweaked rules for businesses. The ERP for chemicals manufacturing industry in 2019 will look for ways to incorporate data links from across these, and other, platforms to uncover shifting customer preferences, and to remain competitive.
Concluding thoughts: These ERP trends are set to change the way chemicals manufacturing businesses work in the year 2019. While it is fair to say some of these trends made waves last year too, the year 2019 will see them strengthen their position in the ERP landscape. The chemicals manufacturers will look to tap into the trends that suit their business needs the most. If you are also looking to ride the 2019 wave through an expert industry-specific ERP solution for your specialty chemicals manufacturing business, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org