Chemical

Overview of Chemical Distribution in Microsoft Dynamics 365

An Overview of Chemical Distribution in Microsoft Dynamics 365

An Overview of Chemical Distribution in Microsoft Dynamics 365 1400 820 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

Chemical distribution companies have several requirements when facing challenges in today’s business world. They include:

  • Needing an overview of end-to-end supply chain processes including solutions to increase operational efficiencies
  • Getting an overview of planning and inventory management for bulk chemicals and packaged chemicals
  • Understanding best practice depictions of typical chemical distribution processes

By the Numbers

Chemical distribution companies today are focusing their efforts on optimizing supply chains, warehouse and floor operations. They function as a supply chain partner, anticipating customer needs and helping them stay ahead of their competition.

  • The chemical distribution industry is on a massive growth curve. Grand View Research states the industry’s value was $247.1 billion in 2020.
  • The expected compound annual growth rate from 2020 -2028 is 4.0 percent.
  • There’s a growing need to set your processes straight and streamline your supply chain with sufficient controls in place to keep up with the pace of the market.

4 Key Processes

There are 4 key processes that matter to a chemical distribution company:

  1. 1.Order-to-Cash: The ability to take a customer order efficiently and deliver it by the customer’s deadline.
  2. 2.Procure-to-Pay: The ability to manage purchase orders and receiving departments efficiently, optimizing spending on procurement to avoid high capital inventory spending.
  3. 3.Inventory Management: Inventory Management: Maintaining optimal inventory levels without excessive capital spending.
  4. 4.Break Bulk Operations: Break Bulk Operations: Breaking down bulk shipments such as tankers and large shipments of individual products into smaller pack sizes.

User Story: Warehouse Chaos

Survival in a highly competitive world requires chemical distribution companies to efficiently organize and design their warehouses. Internal routes must be optimized to let manned and robotic pickers grab inventory for break bulking, repacking or outbound shipments. Inventory storage needs to be precisely planned, especially while handling hazardous chemicals.

Too familiar is the chemical customer with multiple warehouses. They store bulk and packaged chemicals stocked in rows, racks and bins spread across multiple aisles. Some of these chemicals require temperature controls. Many have hazardous condition restrictions.

It’s common for companies to focus on meeting the basics and storing things wherever they fit. No warehouses are organized, making it difficult to track where incoming product was stored and gathering items to fill customer orders.

Making matters worse are poor operational practices. For example a high volume order involved taking some contents from a 55 gallon bulk chemical drum. Operators move the drum to Staging, remove what order the order required and then leave the drum at staging. No effort is made to record the location or remaining quantity. At best, inventory numbers are manually written on a tag attached to the drum, not entered into the computer system.

This method creates many inefficiencies later in the production process. They include:

  1. 1. Inefficient use of space. The Staging area was already small. It was made worse by leaving drums and totes for break-bulk orders, causing Staging to grow continually.
  2. 2. Inefficient use of time. The system showed the drums were at their primary inventory location. Operators unable to find items there had to manually check each tag. Some operators eventually knew to look for inventory in the primary or staging locations. Other workers wasted time looking for the items.
  3. 3. No inventory tracking method.
  4. 4. Inaccurate inventory counts. Inventories were constantly adjusted for missing or untraceable inventory. Lack of accurate counts meant ordering more supplies to fulfill customer demands.
  5. 5. Over ordering meant not having enough space to store the extra bulk material.

The chaos caused by not returning bulk items to their designated location can make conducting a physical count a Herculean task. With missing inventory placed at unplanned staging locations, it added to the warehouse imbalances.

An Ideal Journey

Organizing any operation-chemical manufacturing or distribution—starts with analyzing its operations, growth initiatives and business goals for the next five years.

Ways to make warehouses more efficient include:

  • Review existing warehouse storage and design in terms of locations and inventory groupings.
  • Using federal, state and local safety guidelines based on chemical properties, create procedures stating where chemicals must be stored.
  • Number locations by aisle, row, rack and bins.
  • Place the fasting moving items close to the shipping area.
  • When receiving bulk containers, label them with a scannable barcode.
  • Label the put away locations and staging locations so checkers can quickly and easily count quantities in a specific location.
  • Provide workers with mobile devices that let them scan barcodes providing real time work details and order status updates.

Processes and Procedures in the Chemical Industry

Chemical manufacturing and distribution companies have many similarities in terms of receiving, inventory, planning, shipping and warehouse management.

The basic processes within the chemical distribution industry are centered more around warehouse management, inventory, planning, repacking, light manufacturing, shipping and receiving. Chemical manufacturing adds route operations, resources and work in progress (WIP) testing.

Inventory management processes in a chemical distribution company start with Purchasing and Receiving.

Purchased products are bulk or packaged chemicals, packaging items, labels and other supplies. These products normally come from an approved primary vendor or supplier.

Reporting and analytics shows two statistics that determine the effectiveness of the primary supplier:

  1. 1. The buyer’s decision to switch to an alternate vendor for a specific purchase.
  2. 2. The number of times this change occurs.

Vendor ratings showing the percentage of purchases delivered on time and in full is also important to buyers.

Figure: 1High-level Flow of Purchase Order-to-receive Process

High level flow of purchase to receive process

The next major process is inventory and warehouse management.

The most efficient warehouses are organized by aisle, row, rack, bin, lot or batch. They have pallet ID tags and box IDs. Materials managers seeking better organization find that using a license plate number for rows, racks, bins and pallets works best. Using scannable barcodes lets users with mobile devices easily retrieve inventory.

Using this method reduces lost inventory, incorrect counts and locations. It also makes tracking individual products faster and easier such as when repacking items.

Labeling all warehouse locations is also critical when streamlining operations. Two common methods are Serpentine and Standard. Most companies follow a four location naming standard with aisle, rack, row and bin.

Figure: 2Layout of a Typical Warehouse in a Chemical Distribution Company

Layout of a typical warehouse in a chemical distribution company

The third main process used by chemical distribution companies is capacity planning or master planning.

These companies should plan to break bulk and repack, changing labels at each stage. Master plans help track human resources, label printers, packaging machines and other devices.

Typical operations such as repackaging or breaking bulk require those stations and their operators. These functions cannot occur when either is unavailable.

Distribution companies seeing fast moving or express items require planning that is more agile. Agility requires operating on a net change mode instead of completely recreating set-ups every hour. Having that flexibility helps planners make key decisions and set priorities that optimize the work effort.

Figure: 3High-level view of Master Plan in Microsoft Dynamics 365

High level view of master plan in microsoft dynamics 365

The fourth major process is production and packaging.

Production in chemical distribution companies uses light manufacturing operations such as repacking. A bulk container is opened and quantities required to fill an order are removed.

Typical work orders include operations such as filling, packing, labor, quality and Labeling. The yield provides the quantities and costs to produce each container.

Labeling is the fifth major process.

Labeling is an additional operation on the shop-floor. Including an integrated label management solution included in normal workflows ensures merchandise is properly tracked.

Figure: 4High-level Repack Process in Chemical Distribution

High-level Repack Process in Chemical Distribution

The last two steps are order management followed by billing.

Once inventory is available, warehouse pickers should select the fastest route that lets them gather all items to fill that order. Items are then packaged, labeled and wrapped. Typically, they include certificates of analysis, safety data sheets, a packing slip and a bill of lading. Smaller orders often include a commercial shipping service tracking number.

As soon as everything is packed and shipped, the final step is sending the customer an accurate bill.

Figure: 5High-level Customer Sales Order to Shipment in Chemical Distribution

High level customer sales order to shipment in chemical distribution

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What a Distribution Company Looks Like in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Below is a quick view of what a chemical distribution company would look like in Microsoft Dynamics 365 assuming all required raw materials are available.

01.Products

This information is maintained within the Product Information Management (PIM) module. For a chemical distribution company, it is the heart of supply chain and manufacturing.

At a high level, Product falls into these categories:

Item Group Type Defination
Item – RM Raw Material Ingredient Purchased
Item – INT Intermediate Produced as Part of the Formulation
SKU Finished Product Containerized Finished Product through a Formula
Label Package – Raw Material Labelled Raw Material
KIT Finished Product Packaged into 1 case with same SKUS
BOX Package – Raw Material Package Purchased
Container (Tote, Drum, Etc.) Package – Raw Material Package Purchased
Package (Cases, Kits, Etc.) Package – Raw Material Package Purchased
Services Services  
Supplies Expensed Packaging Material, Lab Supplies, Office Supplies, Etc.  

In addition, companies should define products requiring tracking by batch, location and license plate. These items may also require coverage settings, lead times and other attributes such as chemical properties and label elements such as hazard statements, pictograms and hazard symbols.

02.On-Hand Inventory

Having a detailed view of inventory by batch, serial number, site, warehouse, location and license plate number for each product provides an inventory snapshot. The data applies to multiple roles such as planners, buyers, customer service representatives and materials managers.

D365 can also produce an inventory value report. It shows inventory quantity and total value plus the physical and financial cost by unit. Having a view into on-hand inventory value for both inventory and WIP can then be reconciled back to General Ledger.

In Dynamics 365, there are many different ways of slicing and dicing inventory. One screen is an on-hand listview displaying all available inventory based on dimensions. Selecting the dimension displays the site, warehouse, location, batch and serial number.

On-Hand Inventory step 1

On-Hand Inventory step 2

03.Sales Orders

D365 is versatile in terms of orders for chemical products, kits or cases. In Microsoft D365, customers can have products shipped to them or directly to their customer.

This process starts when customer service creates a sales order with the customer’s PO number. They add the products being shipped to the customer. The order can include specific customer instructions and notes. Notes and attachments can be set for printing on specific documents such as the packing slip or bill of lading.

For distribution, Microsoft Dynamics provides a Distributed Order Management (DOM) indicator. It provides a complete picture of inventory across the warehouse and ensures the order processes correctly.

Sales Orders Step 1

Sales Orders Step 2

Sales Orders Step 3

04.Master Planning

Depending on how the packaged items are set up for planning (e.g., min/max, requirement or period) with lead times and calendar setup, companies can run a master plan in a regeneration mode. This mode displays all supply, demand, planned supply and forecasted demand or net changes since the last full master resource planning run.

Typically, companies run master planning for all items or items under a certain coverage group such as fast moving items.

Master Planning

05.Production of Kits and Cases

Microsoft Dynamics 365 has extensive functionality supporting all chemical distribution company production operations. The operations can be streamlined for simplicity or conform to current methods.

For example, setting a production order in D365 can include finished goods produced, work planned, tracking operations, routes, resource cost and job scheduling.

Different views are set based on security roles and privileges. These allow different sets of users to view the production order, picklists, route cards or job cards.

Production of Kits and Cases step 1

Production of Kits and Cases step 2

Production of Kits and Cases step 3

Companies can also use Gantt charts to visually see planning and job scheduling. D365 has a powerful visual planning and scheduling tool that comes handy when scheduling tasks for all sales orders planned during a day, week or a month.

Production of Kits and Cases step 4

Bill Of Materials(BOM) journals are used in the production process to add finished goods into inventory and to reduce the inventory components within the formula or BOM.

These journals help reduce the process time instead of using a full production order.

A BOM journal cannot perform functions like tracking jobs and operations. It also is not part of visual planning.

Production of Kits and Cases step 5

Note: Xcelpros earlier blog post on “Operational Challenges in a Chemical Company: Key Solutions” explains production and operations in more detail.

06.Shipments

International shipments add export documentation not required for domestic deliveries. Both shipment types use a common document set generated by D365.

Using D365’s advanced warehouse management functions, outbound work and a shipment wave is created to pick products and put-aways for packaging.

D365 enhanced with the power of Integrated Chemical Management (iCM) prints a documentation package including:

  • Warehouse Work: Displays sales order number, work number, product batch or lot number, license plate information and put-away location in barcode formats. Work is processed using a barcode device.
  • Packing Slip: Displays the sales order number, customer PO number, delivery method, ship date, product to be delivered, quantity delivered, unit of measure, batch number or lot number delivered, ship to address, ship from address, back-order quantity and other related information.
  • Bill of Lading: Displays ship to address, sales order number, hazard information, pallet information, number of boxes, master bill of lading number and related materials.
  • Certificate of Analysis (C of A): Displays product, company logos for private label customers; test specifications; test results including visual, fraction, integer tests; approver information; expiration dates or best before dates; and test dates.
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS): Displays product label information, pictograms, hazard statements, warning statements, transportation and U.S. Department of Transportation required information by country and language, CAS number information, etc.
  • Shipping Labels: Displays company logo, ship to address and product information.

Shipments step 1

Shipments step 2

07.Invoicing

After shipments are done, Microsoft Dynamics 365 gives companies the ability to create invoices in a batch mode or mass select shipments for invoicing. The system also lets them print or email a specific customer email address.

Invoicing step 1

Invoicing step 2

Invoicing step 3

Key Takeaways

Chemical distribution company executives should compare what their firm looks like now and how it might look after migrating to Dynamics 365.

D365 allows companies to streamline processes with a robust, simple, easy to understand and powerful system. Its ability to integrate with other Microsoft applications allows your company to fully integrate and enhance efficiencies.

Power tools such as master planning and production Gantt charts provide the ability to plan and schedule your production operations.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps boost your business efficiencies through the “one Microsoft ecosystem” by working seamlessly with products such as Office 365.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 can address most chemical distribution company requirements without modification.

The Differentiator - one Microsoft ecosystem

What does your company look like in Microsoft Dynamics 365? Talk to us to take a test drive.

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About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

Key Solutions to Chemical Company Operational Challenges

Operational Challenges in a Chemical Company: Key Solutions

Operational Challenges in a Chemical Company: Key Solutions 1200 450 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

Recovery by end-use markets and export consumers are expected to boost the U.S. Chemical industry in 2021 and 2022. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) predictions include:

  • A global gross domestic product (GDP) increase of 6.1% in 2021 and 4.4% in 2022
  • A rise in the U.S. GDP of 6.4% in 2021 and 4.3% in 2022 after a 3.5% fall in 2020
  • U.S chemical volumes will increase by 1.4% in 2021 and 3.2% in 2022
  • Chemical shipments will increase 8.1% in 2021 and 8.2% in 2022 after a 13.5% decrease in 2020
  • Capital spending will increase 11.9% to $30.6 billion in 2021 and 3.1% in 2022 after falling 17.6% in 2020
  • Basic chemical production will rise 0.5% in 2021 and 3.4% in 2022
  • Specialty chemicals will expand by 3.8% in 2021 and 4.1% in 2022 after falling 10.8% in 2020
  • Chemical exports will rise 5.8% in 2021 and 13.2% in 2022 after falling 7.6% in 2020
  • U.S. Chemical imports will rise 1.7% in 2021 and 13.7% in 2022 after falling 5.1% in 2020

Also affecting U.S. chemical companies are tariffs and regulations.

  • U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods were averaging 19.3% on a trade-weighted basis in early 2021, up dramatically from the 3.8% rate before the U.S. China trade war, CNBC states
  • China currently has a 20.7% tariff on U.S. goods
  • Failure to meet global harmonized system (GHS) labelling requirements can generate fines of $12,600 per violation and up to $127,000 per violation for the most serious issues

Making Sense of the Numbers

Higher production translates to higher capacity requiring production managers to equip themselves with the technology needed to adapt to the changing market.

A sophisticated enterprise resource planning (ERP) business application helps plant production managers keep up with rapidly changing challenges. ERP software also lets them track key metrics such as inventory turnover and manufacturing throughput to optimize cost of production.

Production in modern-day chemical companies involves unforeseen challenges. These range from obtaining raw materials to ensuring proper quality, fluctuating demand, tariffs, dwindling margins, capacity and resource planning. It also requires keeping formulas secure from data thieves.

Regulatory compliance plus international tariffs add additional stress to profit margins and the supply chain.

Tariffs require leveraging resources more efficiently to achieve better margins while promoting trade. One effect is forcing companies to explore near-shore vendors that can supply essential materials at a reasonable price.

One way to become more efficient is by using modern technology. ERP solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) Business Central have tools that let production managers take more control of their production floor.

For example, production scheduling is complex, requiring an understanding and balancing of specific elements such as:

  • Resources Planning
  • Continuous production
  • Optimal asset planning
  • Fluctuating demand
  • Tighter lead time
  • Procurement delays
  • Outages
  • Quality check
  • Recalls and regulation requirement

Five Key Concerns

Five key concerns for chemical production plant managers are:

  1. 1.Fluctuating product demands
  2. 2.Volatility in raw materials supplies
  3. 3.Complying with government regulations
  4. 4.Ensuring consistent quality
  5. 5.Resource and production throughput

Fluctuating Customer Demands

Capital spending will increase 11.9% to $30.6 billion in 2021 and rise another 3.1% in 2022 after falling 17.6% in 2020, American Chemistry Council states.

Basic chemical production will rise 0.5% in 2021 and 3.4% in 2022. Specialty chemicals will expand by 3.8% in 2021 and 4.1% in 2022 after falling 10.8% in 2020.

“Following the worst downturn since the 1930s, the world economy is on the rebound,” Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC is quoted as saying. “We expect recovery to proceed apace despite multiple risks and uncertainties. These include supply chain constraints and increased demand as economies reopen; trade tensions; weather events, cybersecurity and similar shocks; inflation; financial volatility and public and private sector debt.”

While these developments position chemical companies in a bright spot compared to 2020, not all is bullish. As demand for chemical products increases, so does competition and the demand for innovative products. Production Managers now handle unprecedented customer demands causing tight deadlines and highly-stressed resources.

Production Managers need an air-tight strategy to meet sporadic demands and ensure business continuity. Products such as D365 Business Central are equipped to handle such strategies, ensure complete visibility, provide control over the entire supply chain and support informed decision-making.

Some of the critical elements in production planning and control include Master Planning, Production Scheduling and Production Control as shown below.

Production management

Today we live in an on-demand economy. Production managers face rapid changes and increased sales order quantities from customers, adding pressure on Production.

Example #1: A Chemical Plant

Using a chemical plant as an example, say Customer A doubles their order quantity from 5,000 to 10,000 pounds.

To meet this demand, the production manager must respond quickly by evaluating available resources and scale batch sizes in the reactor.

Companies using a modern, well-designed order management system can update the sales order quantity and set the order priority to high.

Order priority can be designed to consider critical demand, customer categories and customer relationships. Changing the order priority signals the materials requirement planning (MRP) system. It issues an updated production order to reflect the larger batch size.

After seeing the revised production order, the production supervisor can review the production schedule and adjust resources to meet the customer’s new demand.

Similar situations are common at chemical companies. Plant managers recognize the need for an integrated ERP system that seamlessly manages communication between different business areas.

Using Gantt Charts

The production control module within Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management creates powerful Gantt Charts. These charts visually represent production flows, map resources, check on material availability and inventories plus see which machines are available. This information helps managers control and optimize the production plan and make informed decisions.

Gantt charts within Dynamics 365 Finance provide a uniform view of schedule activities within a defined time interval. Managers can use these charts to:

  1. 1.Schedule jobs from production orders. Managers and schedulers can modify production plans by dragging and dropping or using an online menu.
  2. 2.Schedule jobs from planned production orders. Scheduling starts after the production plan converts to an actual order.
  3. 3.See hourly schedules of all jobs. A calendar that has active working times is a prerequisite for all production activities. Seeing the real-time status of every job lets managers know the status of “jobs that have started” and “jobs that have ended.”
  4. 4.View production orders organized by order and resources. Production managers get a real-time view of a production schedule displaying scheduled production orders, material availability and resource capacity. Managers can change schedules when required.

Order view

View of the resources available or engaged.–

Resource view

Volatility in raw materials supplies

Chemical manufacturers use crude oil and natural gas byproducts as the base for their products, accounting for about 50% of the production cost. Oil and gas are extremely volatile commodities with pricing subject to many macroeconomic factors beyond the chemical companies’ control. Volatility causes include geopolitical unrest, OPEC member nation policies, sanctions, currency fluctuation, etc.

Keeping track of raw material cost and availability—especially with the continuing pandemic—is another important production manager function. In the “old days,” managers used a series of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to manually keep track of key metrics such as inventory turnover and manufacturing throughput. Modern ERPs track data real-time offering benefits to help minimize the effect of raw material price fluctuations:

  • Transparently tracking actual costs while accounting for cost of goods sold, revenue, margins, cash flow, etc.
  • Adjusting for currency fluctuations when dealing internationally. Managers can obtain materials from the lowest cost supplier.
  • Analyzing order volumes and budgeting for cost. Managers can get better pricing and plan production more efficiently.

Complying with government regulations

Any company working with hazardous chemicals is regulated at the federal and state levels. Many also face scrutiny from local officials.

Common requirements are labels meeting GHS standards. Software able to generate the right labels for each product coupled to label printers on the production floor are essential in meeting regulatory requirements.

In the US, companies dealing with hazardous chemicals including manufacturers, distributors, transporters and end-users must adhere to the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) label compliance requirements. Noncompliance can cost $12,600 per violation, while the more serious ones could range up to $127,000, not counting damage to a company’s reputation.

A labeling solution that includes chemical properties, characteristics, batch and lot number, test specifications and other required information is crucial.

Hazardous chemicals need to be distinctly identified to avoid disasters such as when reactive chemicals come in close contact. Labeling applications, such as Integrated Chemical Management (iCM) in D365, can address these issues in Production and elsewhere.

iCM not only provides labels meeting GHS standards, it also includes Safety Data Sheet authoring and management. It reduces human error when printing labels during a production run by knowing which product labels to print during the process.

Production order

Ensuring Consistent Quality

The effects of quality checks and recalls can have a long-lasting impact on a company’s reputation. Creating the required documentation for processes such as production, use of raw materials, packaging and others helps track each product from its source to its final destination. Accurate documentation improves visibility in the supply chain and enhances traceability in the event of an inquiry, recall or audit.

Chemicals are used as a base in multiple industries such as automotive, paints, food and beverage, appliance, electronics, packaging, textiles, cosmetics, toys, etc. The graph below shows recalls across major industries in 2016.

Production recall by Number of insurance claims 2016

A closer look reveals the reasons for such recalls. Top reasons for medical device recalls in the U.S. as of the second quarter, 2019 according to Statista were:

  • Software issues (49)
  • Mislabeling (32)
  • Quality Issues (31)
  • Sterility (18)

Common reasons for drug recalls according to WebMD are:

  • Health hazards
  • Mislabeling or poor packaging
  • Poor manufacturing quality
  • Packaging and product misalignment

Microsoft Dynamics 365 has the ability to track and trace products at a batch or lot level from the source to the end user. This function helps:

  • Ensure regulatory compliance
  • Track and trace batches and lots to identify damaged or contaminated products
  • Visualize the journey of the product from the manufacturing site to its end-users
  • Trace the root cause of an issue and treat it accordingly

Resource and Production Throughput

Managing the production shop floor requires diligent planning of human capital and other interdependent machine resources such as blenders, reactors, mixers, hot ovens, separators, packaging, tanks, etc.

Production planning and scheduling can get overwhelming depending on the number of resources and shifts. Production managers are constantly under pressure to increase production volume using less resources. Recurrent variation in batches to meet higher volume demand and continuous production often results in inconsistent batch quality.

Real-time data monitoring using measured and inferred values can increase production by as much as 4%. D365 uses measured and inferred values to track batch completion in real-time, reducing batch cycle time. It also is also used to achieve batch consistency. Using data collected over time to predict events that can disrupt the production cycle, production managers can reduce those delays, decreasing operating costs.

Being able to track and analyze real-time data also improves asset and resource effectiveness by up to 4%. Unscheduled downtime due to maintenance or breakdown isn’t new to manufacturing plants. Using predictive analytics, past asset performance can model scenarios that detect equipment health and prevent failures.

Key Takeaways

The US Chemical industry is still a volatile market, one that seems to be rebounding from the vagaries of Covid-19 one minute and then being hammered by political crises the next. Individual companies face growing competition to produce unique products, increase production, gain customer loyalty and comply with stringent regulations.

The life of a Production Manager in a chemical industry is stressful. Embracing modern technology will help them achieve company goals while also staying compliant with changing regulations.

Microsoft D365 offers easy-to-use visualization of data across all organizational departments including production, sales, compliance, marketing and others. It’s ability to seamlessly share data across multiple sites and locations enhances transparency and improves product and material tracking and tracing. The combined functions of each D365 application boost productivity and increase efficiency.

Avail a Free Consultation for to learn how to overcome operational challenges in your chemical company

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About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

Enhancing Chemical Plant Operations to Make it Smart Factory Ready

Enhancing Chemical Plant Operations to Make it Smart Factory Ready

Enhancing Chemical Plant Operations to Make it Smart Factory Ready 1200 600 Xcelpros Team

Enhancing Chemical Plant Operations to Make it Smart Factory Ready

Creating an Industry 4.0 smart factory requires time, planning, money and employee buy-in. Companies are advised to develop a road map showing what they want to do before they start. Converting an existing factory to a smart chemical plant requires time, effort, money and patience. Organizations will undoubtedly face barriers on the way to achieving their goals. For more information see the full article here.

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Major Challenges for Chemical Companies

Major Challenges for Chemical Companies

Major Challenges for Chemical Companies 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Government regulations, trade wars, blocked shipping ports and more than 4.43 million dead worldwide as a result of Covid-19 are sure to make the rest of 2021 a difficult year. For organizations in the Chemical industry, these challenges include:

  • Ongoing global transportation disruptions
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and meeting climate change requirements
  • Refining the definition of per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) “forever” chemicals
  • Increasing commoditization of chemical products
  • Rising trade tensions caused by feedstock supply disruptions
  • Integrating acquisitions to release promised synergies and onboard new revenue sources
  • Reducing complexity and streamlining workflows across the globe
  • Rapidly entering and winning new markets

Sources: Deloitte, C&EN, CNN, McKinsey & Company

Ongoing Shipping Disruptions

Shipping ports, especially those in China, have been dealing with backlogs and delays since the start of the pandemic. Today, these problems still continue to display. For example, the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port near Shanghai was shut on Aug. 11, 2021 after a dock worker tested positive for Covid-19. This is the world’s third-busiest port and affects Yantian, which closed in June after coronavirus infections were found in dockworkers before gradually reopening. Also affecting the chemical and pharmaceutical supply chains are container shortages, factory closures in Vietnam and after-effects from the week-long Suez Canal blockage earlier this year, CNN reports.

“We currently expect the market situation only to ease in the first quarter of 2022 at the earliest,” Hapag-Lloyd shipping company chief executive Rolf Habben Jansen told CNN.

Delays and container shortages are contributing to much higher shipping prices. Drewry Shipping in London said the composite cost of shipping a 40-foot container on eight major East-West routes was up 360% ($9,613) the week of Aug. 19.

All of these issues impact deliveries to and shipments from US ports. In August, 36 container ships were anchored off Los Angeles and Long Beach alone. Normally there would be none or one, CNN stated.

Backlogs at these main ports often lead to delays at air terminals, overstocked warehouses and thinly stretched logistics networks.

Environmental Concerns are Taking Their Toll

Shipping delays aren’t the chemical industry’s only headache. Increased government regulations designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), is another pain point. Add in the effects of chemical industries on the environment plus hazardous material control and it’s easy to see the industry is facing challenges on several fronts.

Among the environmental challenges facing chemical and pharmaceutical firms are setting and meeting public targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in-line with the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

The report’s goal is persuading all industries—and all countries—to cut CO2 emissions by 45 percent from 2010 levels. According to a C&EN report, the largest number of 25 companies surveyed are looking at a 35% reduction from 2010 levels. The largest firms—Dow, DuPont, Eastman Chemical, Mitsubishi Chemical and others—are looking to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Figure: 1Annual carbon dioxide emissions

Annual carbon dioxide emissions

Carbon dioxide is the biggest issue but not the only chemical contributing to global effects of chemical industries on the environment. PFAS “forever chemicals” are also causing problems. They include the toxic perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and a chemical formed by hydrolysis from its replacement, hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA).

Figure: 2PFAS Chemicals findings in New Jersey

Image: PFAS Chemicals chain reaction

Both are dangerous and long-lasting. Chemical companies around the world are looking for ways to address the handling of both substances.

Business Effects of a Changing World

A McKinsey & Co. report noted that in 1970, about 10 percent of the world gross domestic product (GDP) was in India and China. The two countries alone represent about 36 percent of the world’s population. Fifty years later, China alone represents 30 percent of the chemical demand and supply right now. That number is rising and could top 40 percent, the report warns.

Combined with the continuing U.S. – China trade war and the effects of Covid-19, “regulation and geopolitical considerations may be much more relevant factors than what management teams have experienced in the past,” the report warns.

Many of these issues are forcing businesses to change how they work. Flexibility in terms of partnerships, cooperation, broadly designed research programs, and the design of smaller and more flexible production units will increase over time, McKinsey predicts.

One way of meeting these challenges, and countering the pitfalls is through technology.

Using Tech to Combat Challenges

Technology in the form of artificial intelligence, “can provide incremental and relevant benefits” in terms of asset and commercial productivity, the McKinsey report states. Four key areas where AI can help chemical companies include:

  • Dealing with large data sets, such as production, marketing and sales plus research and development.
  • Providing earlier access to real-time information to let decision makers respond more quickly than the competition.
  • Increasing performance transparency around equipment and employees, such as chemical specialties. The transparency will help educate shareholders on the companies’ performance.
  • Boosting process automation in terms of scale.

Labeling and Regulation Compliance

Today’s enterprise technology, specifically Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, has the ability to generate labels in accordance with current FDA requirements.

These labels allow organizations to track materials throughout every step of the supply chain. For example, barcodes scannable by cellphones and other handheld devices can ensure temperature-sensitive raw materials are properly stored. They also can keep track of expiration dates, letting warehouse managers know which items need to be shipped out first.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) products such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) let chemical and pharmaceutical companies avoid compliance mistakes. How? By creating and constantly updating a large database stored in the cloud. With real-time data access, one that can be modified to include alerts showing when a part needs replacing or the stock of a particular precursor chemical is running low, companies can ensure quality standards are met. Keeping accurate track of production processes also lets them provide regulators with required data.

One Xcelpros product specifically created for the chemical industry is Integrated Chemical Management (iCM). Working with D365, iCM includes integrated systems, infrastructure for the maintenance and distribution of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and compliance with globally harmonized system (GHS) label requirements.

Integrating with D365 Finance and Operations iCM benefits include:

  • Removing the cost of integrating with third-party labeling and SDS systems
  • Providing consistent SDS and label data management
  • Reducing the total cost of ownership by removing the need to maintain product safety documentation and data in-house

In addition to Xcelpros’ iCM, some D365 programs also accept AI modules. Working with internet of things (IoT)-enabled production machines, they provide decision-makers with critical business insights that can help them overcome today’s many challenges.

Summary

AI is just one digital technology that can help chemical companies meet increasing environmental and safety regulations. This same tech lets companies diversify their supply chains, bypassing some of the worst shipping bottlenecks or finding closer suppliers.

Using AI to generate barcode labels for everything from individual products to license plates for pallet loads is one of the key features of D365. Labels produced in D365 can provide electronic readers with everything from the chemical composition of a product to its expiration date. This makes labeling one of the most important FDA compliance requirements. Being able to fully track materials, including finished products, is another.

Book a free consultation with our technology experts and learn how to strengthen your chemical company resilience.

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About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

Overcoming Chemical OSHA Compliance Challenges using Technology

Overcoming OSHA Compliance Challenges in the Chemical Companies using Technology

Overcoming OSHA Compliance Challenges in the Chemical Companies using Technology 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Differing definitions of what’s considered hazardous makes it tough for chemical companies to comply with rules that could vary from region to region.
  • Chemical companies face daunting regulatory and operational challenges when complying with workplace safety rules.
  • Finding ways to make compliance smoother is crucial to chemical companies.
  • Using modern technological tools such as Integrated Chemical Management for Microsoft Dynamics 365 (iCM) can help chemical companies comply with complex, confusing rules and regulations.

Introduction

The chemical industry is constantly under increased scrutiny due to potential health and safety risks inherent to its workforce. These companies continuously face challenges following current regulations, applying updates, ensuring accurate documentation and following labeling guidelines. Chemical companies need to be able to carry out hazard determinations, have a full understanding of applicable regulations and stay up to date on OSHA guidelines. Those that don’t, risk exposing themselves to additional inspections and the possibility of serious fines. Thankfully, more companies are finding that compliance ratings can be improved using cutting-edge tools and technologies.

Occupational exposures, exposure to lead and acute poisonings resulting from unsound management are estimated to account globally for 1.3 million deaths.Source: The World Health Organization

Regulatory Compliance Challenges

Some of the regulatory compliance challenges facing chemical companies include:

  1. 1.Data Management: Regulatory changes can require wholesale updates to a chemical company’s data management system. “The Final Rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses does not add to or change an employer’s obligation to complete, retain and certify injury and illness records. It only requires certain employers electronically submit some of the information from these records to OSHA,” the department states. Complying with this rule may require costly updates.
  2. 2.Geographic Barriers: Chemicals are used, supplied and manufactured worldwide. The definitions of hazardous chemicals can change with every region. Having to include environmental and workplace safety laws that can vary from state to state, not just country to country, makes it tough for companies to stay on top of the laws.
  3. 3.Language Barriers: Moving chemicals from one part of the planet to another means manufacturers and shippers are also likely to run into different languages, which can add problems.
  4. 4.GHS Labeling: OSHA states the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling “provides a common, coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazardous information stored on labels and data safety sheets,”. GHS also helps reduce trade barriers and increase productivity for American businesses that handle, store and use hazardous chemicals. Complying with GHS standards, which OSHA has enforced in the United States since 2012, requires chemical containers to have a harmonized signal word, GHS pictogram, a hazard statement for each hazard class and category plus a precautionary statement. Chemical companies need to be agile enough to monitor and adapt to these updates.

Role of Technology in Meeting the Dynamic OSHA Compliance Needs

More and more, chief experience officers (CXOs) and chief executive officers (CEOs) of chemical companies around the world are realizing the benefits of applying cutting-edge technology to chemical regulatory compliance. Using newer products such as Integrated Chemical Management for Microsoft Dynamics 365 (iCM) is the best way for chemical companies to keep pace with dynamic OSHA guidelines. Tools like iCM can integrate with a company’s existing data to make it more agile and effective.

ICM is the chemical industry’s first overarching tool designed to help automate Safety Data Sheet (SDS) authoring and maintenance, GHS-compliant label management and safety management compliance. Aside from ensuring compliance with changing OSHA guidelines, ICM helps organizations with the following:

  • Centralizing data, making it easier to access. Any changes in data enjoy increased visibility and can be tracked across different functions and regions.
  • Removing the need to pay for outside labeling and SDS authoring.
  • Reducing manual data inputs and related errors.
  • Providing real-time maintenance and updates to SDS and label management while remaining in compliance with existing GHS guidelines.
  • Reducing time-to-market through greater efficiency.
  • Promoting better OSHA compliance through integrated Safety Data Sheets (SDS) management and by removing the need to maintain paper product safety documentation.

Figure: 1Key Functionalities of Microsoft Dynamics iCM

Integrated Chemical Management Key Functionalities

This is a critical aspect for staying power in the industry. Chemical companies need to audit and update their IT infrastructure to ensure processes and procedures stay current with any changes to OSHA and GHS guidelines. GHS guidelines for example, have been updated five times since 2012, and most recently in 2019.

Updating data collection technology not only promotes better legal compliance, it also improves safety in the workplace, better protecting employees, and the environment, from the misuse of hazardous chemicals.

Today’s customers are more aware of potential chemical hazards than ever before. They are more likely to use a company that takes safety guidelines seriously. Adapting and leveraging advanced technologies is an integral way chemical companies can improve their OSHA compliance and boost their brand presence.

For those companies finding the ever-changing landscape of OSHA guidelines intimidating, updating to iCM can make managing regulatory compliance a much smoother process.

Key Takeaways

  • Managing regulations across the supply chain from raw material suppliers to end customers is easier with the help of a comprehensive system like Microsoft Dynamics 365 with iCM.
  • Chemical companies can use technology experts to smoothly implement the latest tools and ensure compliance to health and safety rules.
  • Obeying safety and environmental regulations improves the public’s perception of a company’s brand.

Get a free consultation to learn how to overcome OSHA compliances challenges.

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About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

The future of the chemical industry involves technology

The future of the chemical industry involves technology

The future of the chemical industry involves technology 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

Technology is becoming a driving force in many industries and the chemical industry is no different. It’s easy to say the future of the chemical industry will continue to involve new and emerging technologies. Among the most cost-effective ways is through enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

Among the industries benefiting the most from ERP systems’ integration of supply chain management are:

  • Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Plastics

Introduction

Tech will spur innovation in the chemical industry, a global management consulting firm, states.

“Historically, the chemical industry has generally been a slow adopter of new digital or analytics technology,” a McKinsey & Company report on the state of the chemical industry asserts. “Still, new digital approaches can provide incremental and relevant benefits (mostly around asset and commercial productivity).”

Among the chemical industry trends highlighted in the report are:

  • Productivity gains from using artificial intelligence (AI) in production, marketing and sales plus research and development.
  • Competitive advantages from having robust real-time information on sales, costs and inventories.
  • Increasing performance transparency around chemical products, management teams, individual activities and business lines.
  • Using process automation to change the way chemical companies think about complexity, scale and sourcing of administrative activities.

“While it continues to be unlikely that the chemical industry at large will experience a revolution, the evolution it faces will be continuously accelerating in speed and eventually significantly change the way things are done,” McKinsey states.

Other Ways Tech Boosts Chemicals

In addition to the business advantages cited by McKinsey, six other reasons why chemical companies are boosting their investment in technology are:

  • Cloud storage and information sharing
  • Advanced maintenance analytics
  • Reduce, reuse and regenerate
  • Yield, Energy and Throughput (YET) analysis
  • Globalization
  • Value Maximization

Cloud storage and information sharing lets wide-spread companies keep their divisions informed. For example, Sales in the U.S. can tell Procurement in India what to expect. That way Procurement has time to manage inventory.

Advanced maintenance analytics lets production facilities predict when a machine will break, Europe-based AG Chemi Group reports. By monitoring wear points, employees can replace worn components before they break. This reduces machine downtime by 30% – 50% and boosts machine life by 20% -40%.

Connected sensors, which are used by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to send data to company networks. Company engineers can evaluate the data to pinpoint the components most likely to wear, order replacements and have them ready to install.

Managing and reducing chemical waste , reusing products and materials and regenerating natural systems is part of the circular economy, which the Ellen MacArthur Foundation states, helps companies redefine growth by focusing on positive society-wide benefits. The circular economy model builds economic, natural and social capital, the foundation claims. AG goes further and states that chemical companies can take advantage of current trends in chemical engineering and process technology to increase efficiency, lower raw materials consumption and reduce manufacturing costs by reducing chemical waste.

YET analysis focuses on improving efficiency by reducing bottlenecks. Using information from literally millions of data points, companies can model the production process and identify areas for improvement.

Globalization is part of how the world now operates. Suppliers and customers are literally spread all over the globe. As a recent example, a ship stuck in the Suez Canal delayed 12 percent of global trade for more than six days. U.S-based companies depending on pre-production materials from Europe were stuck waiting, delaying production.

Value maximization refers to the idea that, “The economics of specialties production (such as chemical manufacturing) may demand maximizing output of a high-value product, while commodities production may prioritize holding down costs, but the former is typically built on the latter. Put simply, the businesses may have two separate profit and loss accounts, but they are connected to the same pipes,” AG Chemi quotes Valerio Dilda from the Polytechnic University of Milan as saying.

This method helps maximize profit generation in complex production systems and supply chains.

Figure: 1New Technologies in Chemical Industry

New Technologies in Chemical Industry

One Way To Update

A fast, easy method for chemical production companies to update their technology is by investing in ERP software. The integrated suite of programs allows chemical companies to access massive volumes of information, control it, massage it and use the insights for planning, inventory control and other business tasks.

One such product is Microsoft Dynamics 365’s family of programs.

Running on Microsoft Azure in a distributed, cloud-based environment, Dynamics offers secure computing, versatility and customization capabilities. Cloud computing offers greater security, meaning that patented chemical products and formulas are more secure than on a company’s own network.

The Supply Chain Management program includes these core concepts:

  • Asset management
  • Cost accounting
  • Cost management
  • Inventory management
  • IoT Intelligence
  • Master planning
  • Procurement and sourcing
  • Product information management
  • Production control
  • Sales and marketing
  • Service management
  • Transportation management
  • Warehouse management

Summary

The chemical industry tends to lag behind other segments in terms of modernizing its operations. Failing to keep with technology can cost companies through missed opportunities and poor inventory management. ERP software like Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Supply Chain Management or Finance are two of many options.

Book a free consultation to future proof your chemical company using the latest technology.

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About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

Rising data security risks in chemical plants

Rising Data Security Risks in the Chemical Industry

Rising Data Security Risks in the Chemical Industry 2400 1200 Xcelpros Team

Rising Data Security Risks in the Chemical Industry

Using technology to automate factories has the potential to revolutionize the biochemical and pharmaceutical industries, albeit at the expense of greater risk. Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform includes many security features designed to protect businesses in these sectors. For more information see the full article here.

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4 KPIs That Impact The Growth of a Chemical Company

4 KPIs That Impact The Growth of a Chemical Company 960 540 Xcelpros Team

4 KPIs That Impact The Growth of a Chemical Company

Does your business operate in the chemical industry? If compliance is a big part of what you do, you don’t want to miss out on this quick insight into important KPIs that could be impacting your business today. For more information see the full article here.

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D365 supply chain demand forecasting helps Chemical Industry

How Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Demand Forecasting Helps Chemical Companies Plan for Inventory

How Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Demand Forecasting Helps Chemical Companies Plan for Inventory 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Accurately forecasting customer demands allows a company to quickly adapt to changing needs. Leveraging predictive analysis of historical data in demand forecasting models permits better understanding of what customers want.
  • Chemical industry decision-makers and inventory managers are now concentrating on short- and long-range demand fluctuations caused by price volatility and changes in supply chain dynamics.
  • Top executives can make insightful decisions driven by informed analysis of demand patterns using robust Supply Chain Management (SCM) tools.

Understanding Demand Forecasting

Demand forecasting uses predictive analysis to gauge customer demand patterns based on historical data. Historically, chemical companies use demand forecasting to gauge independent and dependent sales orders. Rapidly increasing global markets and integrated business models show a growing need for better responsiveness and flexibility in demand forecasting. Making these changes helps chemical companies:

  • Prepare shipping materials in advance for one-time and complete deliveries.
  • Manage inventory while being flexible to accommodate unforeseen demands.
  • Sense and predict product demand based on market hierarchy, geography, climate, time zones and other reasons.
  • Stand out in the market by consistently delivering at competitive prices.

Understanding historical demand and accurate inventory management plays a key role in forecasting sales. It ensures adequate inventory. Improperly managed inventory impacts everything from shipments to sales. Companies are very reactive about their inventory planning when resources are not allocated properly. Continually reprioritizing orders throws off historical demand tracking. Adding an unexpected order can lead to big problems.

A recent poll by Deloitte with chemical executives indicates that more than 20% of total US chemical sales will be driven by business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce in 2021.

Accurately forecasting inventory helps firms understand what they have. It also helps visualize the sales pipeline. With accurate demand forecasting, a plant can take measured risks and make informed decisions causing higher profits.

Demand Forecasting Challenges

Chemical companies often struggle to leverage huge volumes of data. Not understanding and using the data effectively can cause incomplete interpretations and communication errors.

The supply chain may have multiple stakeholders using different systems for enterprise resource planning (ERP), data management (DM) and supply chain management (SCM). Demand forecasting using these different systems often causes duplicate information and loss of crucial data.

Failing to use an integrated, sophisticated demand forecasting system limits a company’s ease of use and its ability to customize the software for its unique needs.

Figure: 1Demand Forecasting Challenges in Chemical Industry

 Demand Forecasting Challenges in Chemical Industry

Demand Forecasting in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management (SCM) helps businesses adjust forecasts and view key performance indicators (KPI’s) more efficiently. Companies using this product can see demand trends and then adjust forecasts. The new forecasts seamlessly are used in inventory planning. By removing outliers, Dynamics 365 enables accurate measurements.

Dynamics’ Supply Chain Management tool follows a comprehensive flow for demand forecasting:

  1. 1.System gathers historic transactional data.
  2. 2.Machine learning uses the data to generate forecast and insights.
  3. 3.Collected data provides forecast visibility while allowing forecasts adjustments.
  4. 4.Approved forecasts are then authorized.

Figure: 2Demand Forecasting in Microsoft Dynamics: How it Works

Demand Forecasting in Microsoft Dynamics: How it Works

Microsoft Dynamics 365 SCM helps manage these complex demand patterns and improve inventory planning. Its features include:

  • Integrating Planning Optimization using demand forecasts to make informed decisions for master plans.
  • Creating, generating or importing the demand forecast based on operational models and company requirements.
  • Customizing demand forecasts that streamline the process by reducing intercompany orders and considering customer forecasts.
  • Increasing accuracy and margin with lean demand forecasting.
  • Graphing and creating interactive demand forecasts for real-time feedback anywhere on the trend line.
  • Seamlessly applying the demand forecasting tool with existing ERP. This harnesses data and generates accurate forecasts for improved inventory control and bottom lines.

Chemical companies can better predict demand by fortifying their IT infrastructure with the right tools. Using software that’s easier to use, more accessible and has greater accuracy enables them to improve their inventory planning. Integrated solutions like Microsoft Dynamics 365 provide a robust and complete demand forecasting tool, enabling businesses to set up and maintain optimal inventory control.

Key Takeaways

  • Demand forecasting in the chemical industry needs to move forward from conventional, spreadsheet-based models and tools to newer, more agile digital systems.
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers chemical companies the ability to forecast inventory levels more accurately through visual, customizable and interactive features.
  • Increased focus on accurate demand forecasting helps chemical companies avoid stock-outs or over-stocking. It improves profits, strengthens supply chains and elevates overall customer satisfaction.

To learn more about implementation of demand forecasting in your chemical company, book a free consultation with Xcelpros.

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About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

Leveraging Technology to Boost Profits for Chemical Companies

How chemical companies benefit from adopting newer technology

How chemical companies benefit from adopting newer technology 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Chemical companies can face numerous problems dealing with hazardous chemicals held in inventory. More supply chain officers are turning to digital tools to transform their operations, and increase efficiency. Here are some ways that technology is helping the chemical industry by automating chemical management.

Leveraging Technology in Chemical Companies

Looking to digitally transform your chemical company? Get a free assessment with XcelPros.

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About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com