Chemical

chemical warehouse management

Warehouse Management in a Chemical company: Challenges & Solutions

Warehouse Management in a Chemical company: Challenges & Solutions 1200 600 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

  1. 1.Storage requirements in a chemical company are complicated. As far as hazardous chemicals are concerned, the need for caution and adherence to safety guidelines is a must. Manufacturers need to optimize their warehouse operations to maintain plant profitability while providing competitive pricing in the face of outpouring competition.
  2. 2.A sound chemical warehouse management system ensures that everything in the industry runs in the most optimal way possible. The usual warehouse activities may include arranging the inventory, managing new material stock, running and maintaining appropriate equipment, shipping orders, tracking and improving overall warehouse performance, etc.
  3. 3.Optimizing Warehouse Management processes is higher on the list of priorities within a chemical company involving planning, organizing, directing, and controlling resources.

Below are a few challenges distinct to the chemical industry and reasons manufacturers must address them proactively.

Labeling Hazardous Products for Inventory and Shipments:

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012), per OSHA), requires chemical manufacturers to classify produced or procured chemicals hazardous data. They must also inform employees about the chemicals their exposure through a hazard manual, product labels with chemical hazard information, safety data sheets, and workforce training. Maintaining chemical information and printing Product Labels ensures compliance with HCS 2012. The regulations give importance to the consistency and content of chemical labels. Product Labels are standardized and must include these six elements:

Figure: 1Chemical Label in Microsoft Dynamics Finance and Operations with Key Elements

Chemical Label in Microsoft Dynamics Finance and Operations with Key Elements

  1. 1.Signal Word – Indicates a hazard, such as “Warning”/”Danger.”
  2. 2.Pictograms – To identify hazardous products, grouped by health risk, chemical risk, and environmental risk. Given below is an example.
  3. 3.Manufacturer’s details: Identifies the manufacturer’s company name, address, and telephone number.
  4. 4.First aid and precautionary statements: Describes preventive, response, storage, and disposal precautions.
  5. 5.Hazard statements: Describes the nature of hazardous products and the degree of hazard.
  6. 6.Product name: Identifies the chemical name.

Warehouse Inventory Accuracy

Inventory has to be labeled correctly and stored appropriately in the right locations according to directives. Inventory inaccuracies can occur due to several reasons. Not having real-time inventory counts, inability to track inventory in the different locations, moving inventory without recording the transfer. Most of these issues are attributed to time, breakdown in process or non-compliance to process and insufficient training on the chemical inventory management system. When workers face these types of problems, they usually bypass it in favor of the interest of time. More than often, these flaws can accumulate, leaving behind inaccurate data in the chemical inventory tracking system.

Figure: 2Inventory Tracking in a Warehouse

Revisit your warehouse management strategy

There are various solutions to mitigate the above problems. Let us discuss a few:

  • Every warehouse personnel starting from manager to workers must adequately train to resolve different types of errors.
  • Build a healthy work-knowledge environment about the entire system to assist each other with information, accordingly, whenever any issues turn up.
  • Reliable technologies like cloud management software and machine learning applications can produce higher accuracy and transparency to the entire warehouse operation.
  • Chemical warehouse optimization is possible by human resource management solutions, material management solutions, and monitoring key performance metrics to track the warehouse’s overall efficiency. Order picking accuracy, warehouse capacity, on-time shipment to customers, etc. are a few such measures that will improve overall warehouse productivity.
  • The use of technologies such as mobile devices embedded into the ERP to streamline operations. Mobility in Supply Chain Management is imperative since it leads to cost reduction, escalates productivity, and better improves operational efficiency.

The Role of Picking Optimization within the Chemical Warehouse

Picking is a critical process within a warehouse, and if not optimized, can turn chaotic – particularly with a large volume of warehouse transactions. A majority of chemical warehouse management issues occur while picking an item. The problem is often a result of ‘receiving’ or ‘put-away’ tasks. Despite radiofrequency and voice-directed systems becoming widespread, some operations continue to rely on manual-driven systems. A critical piece of the overall management is to ensure full compliance with you ERP system, even when situations arise that make compliance seem unreasonable. Exceptions such as offering an approved substitute item or finding an incorrect product in a location must have a record to allow a complete and precise account of the inventory.

Numerous errors can manifest during picking. These include viewing the physically available on-hand quantity of an item and reserving inventory on previously confirmed backorders—the delta then shows an available amount after allocating material to existing orders. Additionally, picking operations can easily deceive a planner who is viewing inventory. A well-functioning warehouse management system should detect – allocated, picked, and shipped stock to avoid overbooking for quantity to multiple orders. If an inventory count leads to inaccuracies, sufficient inventory adjustments through mobile devices can dissipate inventory errors. Chemical corporations prefer proactive planning to avoid mistakes in reporting on-hand inventory; however, they’re more often trying to rush operations to fulfill demand and ship goods out the door ‘on time and in full’. The tasks planned daily sometimes compromise the GMP (Good Manufacturing practices) to meet the customer’s dynamic demands. Diligent scrutiny of inventory record tracking can support more reliability and inventory accuracy.

Recall Management

In case of a product recall, a chemical company needs to trace back every shipped batch and be able to quickly retrieve all customer details who received the specific product batch. To unfold the product’s traceability, a chemical plant must function on a system that keeps track of all the process operations, raw material order batches, product-related data, and supplier-customer related data. Transaction details at a granular level effectively handle tracking inventory history from purchase/production to specific shipments. A well designed Supply Chain Management (SCM) will keep track of inventory aging with the ability to drill into details. All the essential data enables the system to trace products during different processes: manufacturing, in staging, on-hand, products in transit, products in shipping locations, and under quarantine. The traceability must also act as a tool to identify suppliers of defective materials so that the entire supply chain runs safe and sound. If needed, making decisions to switch suppliers is recommended by the system when inventory defects from a specific supplier are consistently surfacing throughout the product life cycle.

Role of Technology

An ideal information system for running a warehouse in a chemical plant must manage the inventory and address supply chain visibility to respond quickly to an emergency. The system includes handling counteractions, compliance issues, audits by date, reviews by the person responsible, associated yields, and documents required by specific regulatory bodies such as OSHA.

Ultimately, an ethical business practice is necessary for sustainable and constructive growth. An efficient warehouse management system (WMS), an intelligent set of operational strategies, and a system to drive user behavior can hugely profit a chemical company.

Figure: 3Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations with embedded chemical information system

Key Takeaways

  • Warehouse management needs a process that is consistent, quick to learn and easy to follow. The process will aid towards overall performance improvement.
  • In a short span, major industries have been through several technological transformations such as barcoding, Radio Frequency Identification (RDFI), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), etc. Applying all these technologies contributes to a real-time surge in authenticity, acceleration of general warehouse operations, and faster conveyance with other supply chain partners.
  • All growth-oriented chemical companies in the market leverage a common platform to manage their end-to-end operations. Comprehensive planning and an excellent supplier-retailer relationship can help avoid unpredictability and other inventory risks involved. The objective is to create opportunities for supply chain surplus and gross value addition for end customers that ultimately contribute to its success.

Book Your Free Consultation on Chemical Warehouse Management.

Get Started Now

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

supply chain challenges in chemical industry

Best solutions for Logistics and Transportation Challenges in the chemical industry

Best solutions for Logistics and Transportation Challenges in the chemical industry 1350 650 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Chemical companies are reeling under a two-edged crisis- unprecedented fall in the price of crude oil and the upheaval brought in the global supply chain because of Covid-19.
  • Chemical companies have also faced issues like increased freight costs, excessive demand for chemical sanitizers, and changing government regulations across different geographies.
  • Mitigating costs, managing inventories, avoiding bottlenecks and rising to the challenges would be some of the top-most priorities of the executives managing chemical transportation and logistics.

Global supply chains have seen direct and ripple effects of the coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has caused operational upheavals and seen acute disturbances in logistics due to shortage of chemical raw material. Adapting to volatile market conditions in the face of a challenge shows the company’s ability to sustain growth. Determination, planning and willingness to adapt to changes are expected from the rapidly growing chemical companies.

To aid with their business continuity plans, chemical companies need to continue to reinvent their operational processes, inventory management strategies and transportation management. Supply chain challenges in the chemical industry are inevitable as every country responds differently to health and economic crises. A crisis changes the way you manage inventory, raw material procurement, monitor demand for certain chemicals, workforce procedures, freight costs, etc.

23%

of the USA’s chemical companies considered supply chain disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic as their major concern for the coming future.

Source: PWC

Many comprehensive software applications have been developed to provide concrete solutions to mitigate the issues related to supply chain disruptions. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management has been cited as the best software for supply chain management and a complete solution for distribution and logistics. Here are four primary concerns that chemical companies are facing when it comes to managing transportation and logistics:

1.Moving to Road and Railways: Transportation and logistics in the chemical industry have been heavily dependent on airways and waterways in bigger countries and across international borders. However, increased safety concerns and inflated costs make chemical companies shift to the transportation of raw material, and final products through roads and railways. The change in mode of transportation directly impacts the landing cost of the product. Inability to track accurate landing costs, end-to-end transportation tracking and scheduling are some major pain points in a chemical company.

2.On-time Delivery of Raw Material: There is a sudden and unexpected disparity in the demand for different chemicals. Demand for chemical surface cleaners, sanitizers has increased several folds across the globe (and understandably so), however majority of challenges are related to on-time delivery of material. Unpredictable transportation lead times and inability to deliver these raw materials is a big pain point in providing accurate receipt dates.

Figure: 1 High-level Disruptions in Chemical Transportation due to Covid-19 Pandemic

Transportation Management Process Flow in Dynamics 365

3.Transportation Planning and Inventory Management: A supply chain can run smoothly only when the inventories are managed well. Given the current times, chemical companies need to align their requirements and logistical arrangements with the availability of products in their respective inventories. This requires top-to-bottom visibility and high-level decision making to approve faster changes in material requirements. A major roadblock is related inefficient transportation planning to minimize delays.

4.Increased Freight Cost and Changing Regulations: With change in modes of transportation, and disruption of demand and supply pattern of chemicals worldwide, freight cost shot up by several times. Chemical companies have to deal with higher freight costs along with issues in logistics and supply chain management.

Despite all these pain points, chemical companies can reinvent their transportation and logistics operations to rise to the occasion. Here are certain measures that chemical companies can take to streamline their distribution demands:

  • Assessing the requirement based on geographies and allocating warehouses to meet those demands.
  • Labeling, stocking and categorizing chemical stock based on order priority and making them easily available for transportation.
  • Making use of serialization and bulk containers with barcodes for optimal supply and efficient tracking.
  • Appointing a special task force to manage transportation and logistics changes to optimize the supply chain and provide the single-point contact/ visibility option to all the stakeholders involved.

How Can Your Chemical Company Optimize Transportation and Logistics Operations Using Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides the right features for a chemical company to manage operations, inventory and transportation. Once you get the view of your company’s transportation and chemical supply chain management in Microsoft Dynamics 365, you will be able to plan and implement optimization strategies for chemical transportation and logistics.

The information about chemicals are required to be maintained and tracked under high-level categories. Also, labeling batches, mentioning hazardous substances, barcoding containers and mentioning chemical properties is part of any chemical company’s logistics plan in Microsoft Dynamics 365 in conjunction with integrated chemical management.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows for complete inventory visibility through its Distributed Order Management (DOM) indicator. This allows all the stakeholders to stay on top of things, avoid bottle-necks or stock-outs during these unprecedented times.

Chemical companies can benefit from comprehensive Transportation Management module in Dynamics 365. The module is loaded with features that can let you manage your transportation and logistics while also letting you identify vendor and routing solutions for inbound and outbound orders. In these times of extreme price inflations and changing market dynamics, this module helps your chemical company cut operational costs in logistics by effectively planning inbound and outbound transportation. Highly advanced business intelligence built in the Dynamics 365 Transportation Management module helps chemical companies identify best-priced and most efficient carriers. Through this module, you can get real-time visibility of the entire order at all times.

Here are some of the most impactful benefits of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Transportation Management module for chemical companies:

  • Warehouse Management Efficiency
  • Enhanced Delivery Capabilities
  • Inventory Reductions
  • Real-time Supply Chain Visibility
  • Effective Customer Service
  • Set up Ad-hoc Cycle Counting Thresholds and Cycle Count Locations
  • Pre-schedule Route Planning for Efficient Transportation
  • Availability of Multi-packing Slips in Load Planning
  • Skip Trivial Freight Reconciliation Process

Every chemical company has a different shop-floor operation and needs customized production operations plans for kits and packaging (for transportation). This option is easily accessible with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Companies can manage lot tracking, tracing of chemicals, route mapping, resource availability, and freight cost management. The system provides the option of generating individual or batch invoices.

The Transportation Management module in Dynamics 365 follows a well-vetted process flow that is dynamic and customizable, based on your transportation requirements.

Figure: 2Transportation Management Process Flow in Dynamics 365

High-level Disruptions in Chemical Transportation due to Pandemic

While it is true that the world is witnessing changes in the chemical supply chain and transportation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, companies can rise to the occasion with resilience, optimal use of resources and a systematic approach towards change in processes. There is a need for continuous innovation to stay ahead of the chemical companies’ curve to continue operations during this ‘new normal’.

Key Takeaways

  • Transportation and logistics of chemical companies are facing the ripple effects of disruption in global supply chain caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • While there are many challenges, chemical companies will need to reinvent their transportation management with the help of intelligent applications like Microsoft Dynamics 365. Once operations and processes are efficient, chemical companies can improve their transportation planning to ensure on-time delivery.

Reach out to us for your company’s Digital transformation.

Get Started Now

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

ehs management in chemical industry

How Managing Hazardous Chemical Information solves EHS Challenges

How Managing Hazardous Chemical Information solves EHS Challenges 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Hazardous Chemicals have harmful effects on the environment and people, and it becomes the company’s responsibility to manage the hazards appropriately.
  • With strong risk assessment in place, adhering to best practices, and complying with regulatory norms, companies can potentially reduce the chemical hazards.
  • An information system that holds chemical data helps companies comply with regulatory standards such as OSHA, GHS, etc., to reduce risk and improve safety standards.
  • Safety Data Sheets and Label management systems help chemical companies manage hazard information and safely label hazardous chemicals.

Hazardous Chemicals Are Everywhere

Chemicals are found everywhere around us in almost every consumer product, from household electronic appliances such as televisions, refrigerators, and personal computers to home goods like furniture, carpets, cleaning supplies, and more. We use chemicals to purify our drinking water, increase crop production and simplify everyday household chores.

As beneficial as chemicals are, many chemicals are hazardous and need to be managed safely or can pose a serious threat to human life and the environment. Very few industries and trades in the world are absolved from chemical exposure. Accidents with chemicals can occur during production, storage, transportation use, or even disposal. Your organization and our community are at risk if chemicals are used unsafely or released into the environment where we live, work and play. Hazardous chemicals can lead to serious injury, long-lasting health effects, property damage and, in worse cases, death.

A report from the American Chemistry Council (ACC) stated that more than 96% of all manufacturing companies utilize chemical substances to develop their products.

There are reports of chemical-related accidents in organizations where it was least expected, such as the food industry.

  • Per a 2014 ABC News report a restaurant in Utah, where a woman mistakenly served a tea tainted with Lye. An employee mistook an unlabeled powdered degreaser – containing sodium hydroxide, or lye – for sugar. This degreaser was then accidentally mixed into a cup of tea, causing extreme burns to the customer’s throat and mouth. This led to expensive penalties, lawsuits, and medical bills, as well as severe damage to the business’s reputation.
  • Another such incident occurred when customers of a significant ice-cream chain were accidentally served vanilla shakes tainted with a hazardous cleaning chemical. This happened when an employee unknowingly used what was thought to be a clean mixing container. The container contained traces of a degreaser which had not been adequately cleaned, leading to extreme burns to the customer’s throats and mouths. Again, this led to expensive penalties, lawsuits, medical bills and severe damage to the business’s reputation.

Both incidents above could have been avoided with proper labeling and handling practices in place.

Figure: 1Some points to consider when you are a chemical company

The impact that improper handling of hazardous chemicals have on your company can be severe – causing irreparable damage to your reputation, large penalties, being shut down, or worse, endangering human life. It is these dangers and the growing list of hazardous chemical regulations from agencies like OSHA, GHS, etc. that are driving companies to take corrective measures in identifying and eliminating these hazardous chemicals, which pose a threat to your organization, employees, customers and all other stakeholders involved.

Eliminating hazardous chemicals from common and business use is a significant challenge, and it cannot happen overnight.

  • In 2014, Adidas declared plans to eliminate the utilization of long-chain perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), a chemical type known to cause asthma and osteoarthritis in children and women. Once developed, this took two years to implement successfully.
  • In 2014, the national superstore chain Walmart initiated a policy in which it became mandatory for suppliers to phase out certain hazardous chemicals found in cosmetics, household cleaners etc. This was not a fast transition. They wouldn’t even begin to report publicly on the progress until 2016.
  • Apple eliminated using two particularly toxic chemicals, benzene and n-hexane, from its manufacturing assembly process when pressured during a campaign by Green America and China Labor Watch (CLW). The company ordered detailed testing of substances at the ingredient level to ensure the two toxins are rooted out from the facilities, as reported by Global Manufacturing.

These examples highlight one aspect of the challenges involved in successfully removing hazardous chemicals from your organization. It may not even be possible. So, if eliminating hazardous chemicals is not possible, they should be managed better to minimize or prevent chemical-related accidents.

Managing chemical footprint is not just an OSHA compliance but more a civic duty

On August 6, 2014, in a leading copper-producing company suffered a tank leakage of of copper sulphate acid contaminating two rivers and turning them orange and extremely toxic leaving more than 24,000 people to survive without water.

As a consequence, the company had to bear huge penalties and clean-up costs as well as criminal charges filed by the Mexican Government.

In recent times, this incident was a wake-up call for companies regarding the global concern chemicals have on employees, public and environmental health & safety. It also was one of the driving forces behind more stringent legislation on the use of chemicals.

Best Practices & Ways to remain compliant

Regulatory Compliance is something that cannot be forgotten, as non-compliance attracts unwanted attention from regulatory agencies – often followed by large penalties as well as a threat to your business’s licenses.

In the US in 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) increased the severity of penalties by 80% and imposed heavy fines ranging from $7,000 up to $12,000 for noncompliance to GHS through 2016-17. For serious violations, the penalties could be as high as $70,000 to $127,000.

Organizations can avoid such fines, unwanted attention from regulatory agencies, and better manage the use of hazardous chemicals to remain compliant are as follows:

  • Adhering to regulatory norms and best practices – conducting risk assessments & safety audits for environmental hazards – offering ongoing safety training, reduces humans’ exposure to hazardous chemicals.
  • Companies should comply with the global rules, standards, policies and procedures for environmental, health and chemical safety in the workplace. They need to operate environmentally safe facilities and manufacture safe products.
  • Smart SDS Management and Labeling applications are designed with managing the impact of hazardous chemicals. This helps your organization’s compliance with hazardous chemical regulations defined by agencies like OSHA, REACH, GHS, FDA, etc.
  • Chemical manufacturers need to ensure their products are correctly labeled according to GHS standards.
  • They should also strive to remain compliant with all other regulatory policies, industry standards, and government policies to ensure safety management.
  • Periodic testing should be performed to ensure that chemicals will not cause harm public health, and if they do, they should be either re-formulated or correctly labeled.

Integrated Technology to manage chemical data

Having the right technology in place can simplify everything we do. Thankfully, most of the issues we mentioned can be taken care of with the help of applications that house chemical information designed to efficiently help chemical companies meet regulatory obligations for compliance and safety.

Figure: 2The GHS process for companies carrying harmful chemicals

What is a Chemical Management system and how does it help Chemical Companies with compliance?

A Chemical Management system – integrated within an ERP like Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform – helps chemical companies with their SDS Management, Label Management and DEA controls in-line with transactions within the operational ERP system. An ideal solution can help with the following:

Regulatory Compliance

  • Helps chemical companies comply with regulatory standards and government policies such as OSHA, REACH, FDA, HIPAA, LCSA, DEA to reduce risks and improve safety.

Key Product Functions

  • Offers SDS Management, Label Management (incl. Private Labels) & DEA Management in one application.

Label Printing

  • An included Label Management function enables chemical companies to automatically print OSHA chemical labels according to the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) labeling standards. These labels can be embedded within the workflow of key operational transactions such as Production Orders, eliminating the need for manual intervention.

SDS Management

  • A SDS Management & Authoring system allows companies to maintain Safety Data Sheets (SDS).
  • Infrastructure to maintain all 16 sections of the safety data sheet – by country, language, major and minor versions.
  • Note that while an application provides the technology, workflows, and infrastructure to maintain chemical data and information, it is essential to verify the information and approve the information before generating the safety data sheet.

Key Takeaways

  • Chemical companies must accurately label chemicals in adherence to regulatory standards related to the storage, transportation, handling and disposal of hazardous materials and waste.
  • Ongoing training and proper labeling ensure chemical health and safety for the consumers and the companies handling hazardous chemicals.
  • Utilizing the right technology reduces input needed when generating labels and helps streamline the processes to ensure your organization remains compliant year after year.

Are you ready for an Agile Cloud-based ERP system for Chemical?

Get Started Now

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

Managing Challenges in the Chemical Industry

3 Ways to Manage Disruption in the Chemical Industry

3 Ways to Manage Disruption in the Chemical Industry 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • The chemical industry has been at the forefront when it comes to dealing with disruptions as it serves a diverse range of sectors and constitutes of different attributes (such as raw materials, quality issues, geographical/ regional safety rules, financial instabilities, so forth.).
  • Currently, the impact of Covid-19 on chemical industry can be seen across the globe- disrupted supply chains, demand discrepancies, halted travel and fluctuation in petroleum prices have compelled manufacturers to deal with various chemical industry issues all at once.
  • Digitization has disrupted the chemical industry even before the pandemic started and the combined effect has been both challenging and a blessing in disguise for the chemical manufacturers.
  • Through the right tools and systems, the chemical companies can pave their path in the era of digitization and transform for a better future.

The challenges in chemical industry have been varying in nature as the industry relies on a large variety of stakeholders and is an asset-intensive sector. The past few years have been all the more challenging in chemical industry management because of the onset of Industry 4.0 and ensuing changes in IT infrastructure. However, the digitization effect also came as an opportunity for chemical manufacturing and distribution companies to leverage latest technologies to reduce time to market, optimize processes and manage supply chain challenges in the chemical industry with enhanced efficiency.

According to a 2020 survey by PwC, 42% of chemical company CEOs said they would be investing in digital operations and related technologies in the coming 12 months.

To remain on top of the digital game, companies must understand and approach chemical industry issues fully equipped with advanced technologies and comprehensive strategy. Let us have a look at some of the significant challenges in the chemical industry:

1.Managing Data in the Time of Information Abundance:One of the significant challenges of digitization in the chemical industry is an overflow of data in the sector. Top floor decision-makers are looking for ways to store, analyze and generate insights from the abundant information flow. Data analytics remains a tricky area for many chemical manufacturers. Legacy systems are still part of many manufacturers’ IT infrastructure and there are discrepancies in information flow management because different functions work in silos.

2.Overcoming the Unpredictable Nature of the Market:Market fluctuation is another major cause of chemical industry disruption. The ever-changing commodity prices put manufacturers in a sticky spot in terms of finances. Also, the impact of the covid-19 pandemic was felt in the form of demand pattern changes – there has been heavy demand globally for sanitization and hygiene products. Such fluctuations are hard to forecast, and most chemical industry management struggles to keep up with these changes.

3.The Need to Go Agile:The world is moving fast, and the manufacturing industry is looking to catch up. Chemical companies are primarily looking for ways to go agile for better delivery patterns, improved change management and measurable productivity. However, companies face different challenges when going agile such as financial constraints, resource skill management, and resistance from employees.

While the challenges are aplenty, there are ways to overcome chemical company issues. Let us have a look at how companies can manage the disruption in the chemical industry.

1.Investing in Fortifying IT Infrastructure:Chemical companies need to turn to technology as-required but a long-term roadmap is required that justifies the investment. By investing in high-end tools and systems, chemical manufacturers can ensure that their processes are automated, the data is collated and leveraged to generate insights for better business decisions, and the operations are optimized. Going for comprehensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools with embedded BI tools can transform how chemical companies approach their operational requirement.
BASF, the global leader in chemical manufacturing, made use of the Microsoft 365 to improve the transparency and efficiency of virtual teamwork within our global family. This choice was a direct result of the company’s move towards agility.

2.Supply Chain Optimization:Another area where chemical companies can turn a corner and embrace the ongoing changes is to optimize their supply chain. Bettering stakeholder communication, facilitating real-time inventory monitoring, and avoiding stock-outs or bottlenecks by proper warehouse management are some of the steps that manufacturers need to take for a well-functioning supply chain.

Figure 1:Areas getting benefitted with ERP in chemical manufacturing

3.Prioritizing Innovation:The highly disruptive digital landscape will multiply the challenges in the chemical industry. However, organizations can resolve these challenges by encouraging innovation. Chemical companies should invest in better market research, newer and more efficient production processes, and out-of-the-box customer response management initiatives. These would enhance overall productivity and also help companies in cementing their position in the volatile market.

In conclusion, disruptions are excellent catalysts to improve processes within a chemical company. Businesses can equip themselves with the latest technologies on a path to digitization.

Key Takeaways:

  • Chemical companies need to look at disruptions as opportunities to overcome challenging times.
  • Latest technologies play an imperative role in chemical manufacturing and aftermarket services as well.

Get a free evaluation on ERP for Chemical rapid packages!

Contact us now

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

ghs compliance guide for chemical industry

Managing GHS compliance in a chemical company

Managing GHS compliance in a chemical company 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) offers a blueprint for handling hazard information through labels and safety data sheets.
  • OSHA raised its penalties related to occupational hazards almost by 1.8% on 15th January 2020. Any violation of the recognized safety standards would cost a chemical manufacturer a whopping fine ranging from $9,639 to $134,937.
  • GHS compliance effectively minimizes labor costs owing to fewer accidents and health problems.

For any drug or chemical manufacturing company, GHS compliance guide rests on four central pillars: Hazard classification, Chemical Labels, Safety Data Sheets and Employee Training. For chemical companies across the globe, it’s an ongoing challenge to remain compliant with GHS standards in the face of ever-changing regulations. For just about any chemical manufacturer, the task of collating and reporting on every available data point through safety data sheets and chemical labels can be almost impossible. This necessitates the need to adopt chemical industry-specific software solutions that help generate and manage safety data sheets and labels according to GHS guidelines. These software solutions enable companies to:

  • Create a safer work environment for all employees across multiple manufacturing units.
  • Automate critical chemical management processes like GHS labeling and generating Safety Data Sheets.
  • Boost process efficiency and reduce fines incurred from breaches in compliance.
  • Leverage employee training mechanisms, expert resources and applications that focus on the handling and disposal of hazardous chemicals.
  • Converge multiple operational functions in a single dashboard for smart analysis.
  • Conduct training programs on employee safety.
  • Build credibility and brand recognition in the market.

Figure 1:Key Operational Principles of a Chemical Management System

The image above makes it very clear that for GHS compliance, the two most critical working processes in a chemical management system include GHS Labeling and Safety Data Sheets. Let’s focus on how a Chemical Management ERP system lends itself to GHS labeling and SDS chemical management automation.

Chemical Labeling and GHS

Chemical labeling is all about conveying critical hazard information related to a particular chemical at a rudimentary level. Six key elements make up the chemical labels, including.

  1. 1.The Signal Word
  2. 2.GHS Symbols or Hazard Pictograms
  3. 3.Manufacturer Information
  4. 4.Precautionary Statements
  5. 5.Hazard Statements, and
  6. 6.Identifiers

Figure 2:GHS Compliant Chemical Label

GHS Compliant Chemical Label

With regulations constantly changing, chemical manufacturers are persistently working towards adopting technologies that seamlessly work with their existing systems to deliver process efficiency and compliance at the same time. Before understanding how the chemical industry has worked towards mitigating challenges, it’s important to understand the most harrowing challenges plaguing the labeling process of the chemical industry, including

  • Identifying relevant, compliant data to be put on container labels.
  • Finding labels that are durable and can withstand the impacts of harsh chemicals.
  • Finding the correct size for GHS labels for containers of different size.

When it comes to chemical management, labeling is one of the most critical tasks. It’s only through proper labeling that companies can track chemicals from manufacturing to delivery. Most chemical industry software solutions based on the ERP framework deliver the following solutions to the problems mentioned above, including.

  • An infrastructure to house hazard information such as pictograms, hazard statements, provisions for inserting supplier information, etc.
  • Provision for customization of GHS chemical labels for different sizes used on various containers.

These benefits are very tangible and apparent, but technical intervention in labeling can be much greater, encompassing the entire business.

Business Benefits of GHS Labeling

  • Boost Supply Chain
    • Track chemicals with all the requisite details.
    • Minimize re-labeling, incorrect shipments, inventory problems.
  • Change Management
    • Implement change real time.
    • offer standard templates and system for change Management.
  • Cost Efficiency
    • Minimize shipping delays, unnecessary operational steps.
    • Error proofing and data management.
  • Compliance
    • Integrate third parties in labelling systems.
    • Minimize manual shipments.
  • Process Efficiency
    • Integrate marketing and branding information.
    • Manage multiple languages, color printing, regulatory standards.
  • Business Expansion
    • Retrieve data from multiple systems.
    • Minimize duplication for a single product.

OSHA has raised its penalties related to occupational hazards almost by 1.8% at the start of 2020. Any violations of these recognized safety standards would cost a chemical manufacturer any number of fines ranging from $9,639 to $134,937.

It’s not just GHS labeling requirements, but complete SDS chemical management solutions that would best help chemical manufacturers minimize their chances for huge financial penalties, driving process efficiency along with compliance at the same time.

Safety Data Sheets and GHS

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are used to capture all hazardous chemicals’ information. SDS is not only the first point of hazard information collection and reporting. The safety data sheet form the basis of GHS labeling. With the business ecosystem becoming extraordinarily dynamic and constantly changing, becoming more stringent, there can be absolutely no room for error in safety data sheets. Chemical companies opt for SDS authoring and generation software that work in tandem with their existing ERP system. These SDS tools bring a lot to the table for these organizations, including:

  • Real-time safety data sheet updating features
  • Seamless integration with existing ERP systems
  • Automatic generation of SDS sheets
  • Storage capacity for individual product data
  • Applications to update multiple sheets at the same time
  • Options for multiple language translations
  • Ability to create standardized data for every chemical formulation
  • Repository for multiple GHS versions, Canadian WHMIS, and OSHA Hazcom

Integrated Chemical Management (iCM) is a solution designed to offer both GHS labeling and SDS chemical management services simultaneously. This solution pairs with Microsoft’s Dynamic 365 ERP to deliver:

  • Real-time SDS authoring and label creation at the same time in compliance with GHS.
  • Deliver process automation and operational efficiency.
  • Minimize the cost of customization and third-party integration cost.
  • Minimize the time and resources required to manage data sheets and labels.

Key Takeaways:

  • Managing multiple third parties for SDS management and GHS labeling can be a challenge. Implementing a powerful, integrated solution that does both can make a huge impact on efficiency and performance.
  • Process and compliance in a chemical company go hand in hand, and the more the integration is facilitated, the better it is for optimizing operations within the plant.
  • Being Agile through integrated technologies is a crucial need in chemical manufacturing and the ability to respond quickly to changes in compliance makes a chemical company potent as a business.

Take Our Free Assessment to Get Started With Digital Transformation

Register Now

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

Chemical Industry Pandemic affect

6 Challenges in the chemical industry due to COVID-19 and the future ahead

6 Challenges in the chemical industry due to COVID-19 and the future ahead 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • As the world braces itself from COVID-19 recovery, decision-makers at significant chemical companies are looking for ways to realign their operational and manufacturing strategies to be able to sustain and grow.
  • Liquidity and capital resources impact the business, causing financial pain areas for the chemical industry.
  • The industry has also faced challenges due to disrupted global supply chains, labor shortage, dwindling demands for one industry and growing demands for others, and many more issues.
  • With the strategic overhaul, reinvention of smart factories, investment in automation, and other robust enterprise software, the chemical industry can turn the tide.

Like almost every other industry, the chemical industry encountered unplanned hassles in 2020 due to the Coronavirus global pandemic. Practically every department in chemical companies has experienced the ripple effects of a market slowdown. Things are still uncertain in terms of the supply chain’s stability, workforce capacity, changes in global trade regulations, etc.

Approximately 41% in the chemical industry are concerned about the effects of Covid-19 on workforce and reduction in production.
Approximately 23% are looking at disrupted supplies are a red flag.– Per a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers

While global supply chain disruption has impacted businesses, the chemical industry can take advantage of certain factors like:

  • Increased demand for raw material required for hygiene products and sanitizers across the globe.
  • The drop in oil prices offering a chance to acquire oil-based raw material at a lower cost.
  • Dependence of many major and minor sectors on the raw material provided by the chemical industry.

There are also various strategic and operational changes that the decision-makers at chemical companies will need to help their companies sail through this crisis with minimal damage. The chemical industry also needs to prepare itself for the post-COVID era. However, before we get into plausible solutions, it is imperative to understand the challenges in chemical industry. Let us look at six major challenges that the chemical industry is dealing with due to the coronavirus crisis.

1.Liquidity and Investor IssuesThere was a sudden and steep decline in financial outcome in the first quarter of 2020 due to COVID-19. The market slowdown led to investment shortage, lower credit, etc. The financial impact has caused significant distress for the chemical industry, and top-level executives rethink their finance allocation policies to ride through these distressing times.

2.Shortage of Workforce and Reduced Production RateMany regions are still not back to normal and need to follow social distancing norms to avoid the coronavirus spread. The additional rules in place limit the ability of chemical production facilities to work at full capacity. Even the workforce that does not operate on the shop floor has to either work from home or stay absent. Current issues in the chemical industry lead to reduced productivity and lesser output from the production plants.

3.The Issue of Disrupted Supply ChainsWith the slowdown of all travel types (especially international air travel), there have been significant supply chain challenges in the chemical industry across the globe. The chemical industry is heavily dependent on different stakeholders working in harmony for seamless functioning. Businesses have taken a massive hit, and there are issues related to delays in obtaining raw material, delays in shipments, blocked consignments, and more.

Figure 1:Benefits of a Connected Ecosystem for Inventory Management

4.Discrepancies in the Demand of Raw MaterialChemical companies supply different raw materials to various industries, and they make arrangements for these stocks based on their orders, estimates, and market scenario. However, the lockdowns imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic caused many industries like automobile and consumer goods to cease their production. In contrast, other industries like hygiene goods, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment manufacturing sectors had to ramp up their production capacity. An imbalance in the market caused discrepancies in the demand for raw materials, and the chemical companies have to realign their inventories to suit the changing needs. The market is recovering however still carries the effects of the pandemic.

5.Facilitating Social Distancing at SitesWorkers who are back to facilities require retooling to expedite work and play catch-up on customer orders that were previously halted. Many chemical companies have made drastic changes to their plants to provide a safe atmosphere for their workforce. This atmosphere involves regular sanitization of the premises, facilitation of social distancing, temperature checks of the staff, interatcion and collaboration through digital tools, etc.

6.Changes in Strategy for the Post-pandemic EraThe strategists and top executives at chemical companies have a robust and demanding job at their hands to realign their game plan for the post-pandemic era. Replanning involves gauging the market’s pulse at a granular level, understanding the varying needs for different chemical compounds, and providing investors and business partners with the plan’s visibility. Higher visibility drives the requirement to onboard agile analytical tools in conjunction with their manufacturing execution and warehouse management systems.

While there are many challenges in the chemical industry, they can get these issues addressed with comprehensive, all-inclusive technology. Companies need to evaluate a business solution that provides end-to-end Supply Chain Management, Financial Management functions plus embedded analytics to realign their processes and gain in depth visibility of the operations.

2020 has seen a massive shift in the overall functioning of chemical companies, which has enabled the need for proper planning, extensive use of robust integrated tools, and timely actions. By retooling to make themselves more agile, chemical companies can ride this storm out and progress forward. Ability to adapt to rapid changes in business is now one of the major OKRs within a Chemical company. Enterprises that wish to differentiate themselves in the Chemical industry need to transform from traditional to becoming new-age companies.

Key Takeaways

  • The chemical industry needs to be agile and flexible to gauge the changing needs and serve their best during these trying times.
  • The right digital tools help chemical companies to not just strategize but also effectively execute to grow.

Reach out to us for your company’s Digital transformation

Get Started Now

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

Managing Operations in the chemical industry by Streamlining Processes

Managing Operations in the chemical industry by Streamlining Processes 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Industry 4.0 has brought transformational changes in the chemical industry’s operations and the chemical companies understand the power of going digital to streamline their operation.
  • As with any new process change, operational management changes include upgrading skills, fortifying the IT infrastructure and resource allocation.
  • Today, chemical companies are facing specific challenges in streamlining their operations to enhance productivity. Decision-makers must go to the root of these problems to address them strategically.
  • Industry experts believe that strengthening the IT infrastructure is the first and most crucial step towards overcoming operational management challenges in the chemical industry.

The chemical industry is witnessing challenges related to transformation in business functions and streamlining operations. After all, in a hyper-connected, fast-paced world, trimming unnecessary processes and optimizing the resources must enhance operational output. A chemical company functions with numerous stakeholders to drive operations who require visibility and transparency. Chemical companies need to migrate from legacy platforms to newer, highly advanced software tools to boost productivity in a plant. The change calls for strategic reshuffling, process reengineering, and an operational blueprint for running business in a cost-effective manner. Business transformation brings specific pressing issues that chemical companies need to address while maintaining a steady state in operations.

There is a potential for a three- to five-percentage-point improvement in return on sales from employing digital in production operations.Source: Mckinsey & Company

1.Legacy Platforms: Advancements in operations and trimming the processes require the adoption of newer technologies such as automation, data analytics, and machine learning. These technological overhauls require moving from legacy platforms to robust, high-tech tools and software. Chemical companies often find themselves in a struggle to make this move successfully, without disrupting their ongoing operations. There are also cost-related concerns that the top executives need to take into consideration.

2.Shortage of Skilled Personnel: Chemical companies operate with subject matter experts at both shop floor and top floor. These people are the ones who are well-versed in their field of sciences and are accustomed to following a particular operational blueprint. However, to streamline operations, there is a need for technologically adept personnel who can take up the responsibility of both chemical process management through newer tools and the nitty-gritty of chemical manufacturing processes (and related tasks). The chemical industry is currently facing a crunch of skilled personnel, affecting the digitization process for effective streamlining.

Figure 1:Why Chemical Companies Need to Opt for Streamlining of Operations

3.Inventory Management: Chemical companies often rely on spreadsheets and software built in-house to manage their inventories. Inventory inefficiencies are due to manual intervention, working in silos and not keeping a real-time track of inventory. However, to combat inventory issues, moving the chemical inventory management process to an automated platform often causes chaos and mishandling due to poor inventory data from legacy systems. The post-transformation hurdles make chemical companies wary and thus create a temporary glitch in the simplification of operations.

4.End-to-end Process Changes: The production and after-market cycle for any chemical product or the raw material is both intricate and one with many side-branches. To potently streamline the entire operational cycle, the chemical companies will need to change all their processes. The business transformation would include resource management, commodity acquisition, billing cycles, pricing strategies, report generation, and many essential activities. These changes can be daunting, time-consuming and expensive, making it a massive challenge for chemical companies in their path towards streamlined operations.

How Can Chemical Companies Effectively Address the Challenges in Streamlining Operations?

If you are the decision-maker in a chemical company who is looking for cost-effective solutions for operational streamlining, you would most probably look for:

Figure 2: Primary Intents of Operational Streamlining

Chemical Companies can achieve these objectives with a single-point tool such as the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP and SCM (Enterprise Resource Planning and Supply Chain Management). You can effectively incorporate process automation, process realignment, optimized resource allocation, analytical report generation, billing cycle management, procurement documentation, inventory governance and supply chain optimization all under one roof.

Microsoft Applications Platform, and surrounding ecosystem, comprises a suite of business applications to support all types of businesses across a range of industries and lifecycles. Today, we’re specifically talking about Finance and Operations. Still, it’s essential to know that this is just one component in the ecosystem that is all designed and built to work together.

Figure 3:Microsoft Business Application Ecosystem

The Microsoft ecosystem helps chemical companies be agile to stay ahead in the game, manage operations to maximize production, minimize wastage of efforts, investments and time. Chemical companies can quickly up-skill their current employee base to get them acquainted with advanced and easy to learn tools to streamline operations.

Businesses can achieve productivity through strategic planning from top executives and effective implementation of a fortified IT infrastructure. The Microsoft ecosystem makes the implementation simpler due to native integrations and interoperability across these tools.

Key Takeaways

  • To address the chemical industry challenges in managing and streamlining the operations in chemical companies, the top executives will need to look at the advancements of the digital world and align their processes with the current headways.
  • Timely intervention from a strategy and implementation point of view is essential to overcome the issues about chemical companies’ operations.
  • Chemical companies can significantly benefit from comprehensive ERP and SCM tools that can facilitate efficacious streamlining of operations from the shop floor to the top floor and even in inventories and the after-market.

Reach out to us for your company’s Digital transformation

Get Started Now

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

Chemical Industry Productivity Challenges

How Chemical companies overcome productivity challenges

How Chemical companies overcome productivity challenges 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Agility is a synonym for growth in today’s business environment, and chemical companies are continually attempting to be agile in processes, operations, and outcome to keep up with the changing times.
  • Conventionally, many chemical companies have adopted the reactive model, which is now adversely affecting their overall productivity and market responsiveness.
  • Adapting newer technologies to leverage the maximum out of the infrastructure and fortifying their IT network is essential for chemical companies to improve their output.

Today, the chemical sector has entered a phase of adoption: adapting newer technologies, transformative business models, and more. These changing times create excitement and uncertainty amongst the chemical companies who are continually looking to enhance their market share by driving productivity. While many chemical companies have invested heavily in better, newer IT infrastructure, they have not succeeded in leveraging this infrastructure to its maximum potential. On the other hand, other companies are still wary of going the digital way, creating uncertainty among decision-makers in chemical companies.

According to PWC’s 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey, 33% of chemicals CEOs are not very confident about their company’s prospects for revenue growth in the next 12 months.

It is evident that chemical companies are facing challenges when it comes to improving productivity and growth rate. By looking at how chemical companies can overcome these uncertainties, one would first need to comb through the chemical industry pain points when it comes to driving productivity.

The Chemical Industry Challenges in Improving Productivity:

1.The Steep Fall in Oil Prices:Commodities prices are the catalysts in deciding the outcome rates of the chemical companies. The year 2020 saw an unprecedented decrease in oil prices, causing chemical companies across the USA and the globe to suffer low productivity rates. The soft commodities prices have also caused a massive imbalance in the raw material’s demand patterns, resulting in a disrupted product lifecycle for many chemical companies. Outcomes are getting hit across the board due to affected oil prices.

2.Difficulties in Adapting to Newer Technologies:Adapting newer technologies and tools is not only a smart move but an inevitable one for the chemical companies. The need of the hour to build a robust IT infrastructure can generate and analyze data, automate operations, and streamline the supply chain. However, many chemical companies are still not at an advanced stage of going digital and cannot make use of the latest technologies. Lack of skilled, knowledgeable professionals and consultants also leads to often misguided judgments, causing productivity to take a hit.

3.Lack of Real-time Visibility to Different Stakeholders:Chemical companies involve multiple stakeholders, many of whom are geographically separated. The production process involves changes, call-backs, and unexpected challenges at any point in the chemical product’s lifecycle. However, with legacy systems and reliance on manual intervention, there is a lack of transparency and complete visibility to all the stakeholders involved – leading to process delays, communication gaps, and operational glitches. All these negatively impact the rate of productivity.

4.The Snowball Effect of Covid-19 Pandemic:The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the business outlooks for the year 2020 in the first quarter itself. Borders had to be closed, transportation had to halt, travel stopped, and plants shut. Supply chains globally were disrupted; operations across chemical plants either slowed down or stopped. The slowdown had a massive effect on the productivity in the chemical sector. Even as the world is slowly starting to open up again, there are still skeletal workforce issues, lack of investments, and demand discrepancies that will continue to haunt the chemical companies.

Figure 1:How Modern ERP Systems Enable Better Productivity

The Way Ahead: Overcoming the Chemical Industry Challenges with Digitization

The chemical companies need to embrace technology to keep up with the changing times. Opting for data analytics and automation will streamline challenges in operations management and help maneuver efforts to increase productivity. A healthy IT infrastructure with robust enterprise resource planning (ERP) and management capabilities such as the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations can serve as the one-stop solution for various chemical company challenges.

Figure 2:ERP in Chemical Industry: The Benefits

Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP helps in keeping track of the budget, managing changing prices and adjusting actuals accordingly, collating and analyzing data from chemical plants and top floor, and many such enterprise management functions. Your chemical company will have a systematic tool that keeps track of orders, bill of material, production processes, supply chain, booking, and revenue that helps immensely in anticipating plausible glitches and avoiding them with proactive measures.

There is no doubt that chemical companies will thrive with the adoption and utilization of technology in its prime. The decision-makers in these companies can bring transformation and enhance productivity by investing in the future and making the right choices of welcoming the change.

Key Takeaways:

  • Changing times call for change in attitude, and the chemical companies will need to integrate this change in every facet of product development to be effectively market-responsive
  • With a robust ERP system and other cutting-edge technologies, the chemical companies can plan and act upon increasing their outcome rate.

Get Free Consultation For all Your Business Needs

Get Started Now

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

erp for chemical industry

Digitization of the Chemical Industry-Role of an ERP system

Digitization of the Chemical Industry-Role of an ERP system 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Chemical companies are looking to adopt the newer, digitized technologies to their fullest (instead of merely installing systems and processes that operate in silos).
  • A well functioning Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can help chemical companies in all phases of their operations- procurement, manufacturing, supply chain, vendor management, aftermarket, and more.
  • Implementing an ERP system need not be a costly or daunting affair, provided companies go for the right system and take the help of experts where need be.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has put chemical companies at the frontline as this sector provides the raw material for hygiene products and chemicals. There is an elevated demand, expanded supply networks, improved data flow, and a greater need for systematic operations optimization.

Digital transformations have been a boon for every industry; however, many sectors are still looking for ways to utilize these technologies to their fullest. The chemical industry is on the cusp of legacy and advanced software and systems. Many companies have departments working in silos, manual documentations, slow change management mechanisms, data discrepancy issues, and an overall fall behind when it comes to digitization and automation. Chemical companies can address these issues and many others by investing in a high-end ERP system.

According to PwC’s 23rd Global Annual Survey, 42% of chemical company CEOs prioritized and invested in digital operations and related technologies.

The above stat signifies that now is the time for chemical companies to systematically restructure their IT base and look at ERP as an option and a way forward to sustainable growth. After all, every sector is looking to leverage digitization to their benefit, including the chemical industry.

Here are five benefits of an ERP software system for chemical companies:

1.Digitization of Processes Leading to Accelerated Timelines:An intricately designed yet easy to implement ERP system such as the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP comes equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) based features that can automate many processes such as documentation, reporting, log entries, etc. This will reduce manual intervention (providing personnel with time to invest in more innovative aspects) and mitigate errors. Digitization in the chemical industry also helps expedite processes as the data can be accessed, altered, and verified in real-time. With Microsoft Dynamics ERP, chemical companies can realize the vision of going agile.

2.Fortifying Supply Chain Management (SCM):A comprehensive ERP for the chemical industry can facilitate better management of your supply chain by interlinking the departments and creating a data pool between finance, sales, and delivery. This way, you will digitize and monitor the procurement of raw goods, oversee warehouses, manage inventory more efficiently, channelize communication between different stakeholders, and streamline the workflow.

Figure 1: A Multi Pronged ERP System to Integrate Different Departments in a Chemical Company

 

3.Better Response Time and Quicker Time to Market:An ERP for the chemical industry provides companies with a competitive advantage by giving better process and resource visibility, interconnecting departments, and avoiding bottlenecks. ERP is also integral in enabling chemical companies to identify their slow to move inventories and find quicker delivery options. This considerably reduced time to market. The overall product development process in chemical manufacturing companies is also expedited, thanks to the automation and optimization features of ERP systems, and this also results in quicker time to market.

4.Dynamic Change Management:The chemical manufacturing processes are subject to changes at different levels, from pre-formulation to production and packaging. These changes take time to get recorded and notified in a legacy system-backed environment, leading to delays. However, ERP allows chemical companies to be more flexible and dynamic in their change management approach. As data becomes centralized and systems become integrated, inter-departmental collaboration shines through, expediting the communication network in a change management ecosystem. Even at the supply chain and aftermarket levels, ERP allows better visibility across several stakeholders, enabling manufacturers to respond in optimized ways to any changes.

5.Better Customer Service and Enhanced Customer Satisfaction:Like any other industry, the chemical industry also strives to satisfy its customers- be it other industries or retailers or the end-user. With an ERP system for chemical manufacturing, companies gain insights into customer preferences, and they can anticipate market needs. Companies are choosing ERP systems designed to respond quicker and better to customer demands. With the ever-changing customer expectations scenario, chemical companies need to invest in a system that provides them with better customer visibility and agility to respond.

ERP is a software of possibilities, and the chemical companies can turn these possibilities into opportunities. To survive, sustain, and thrive in the era of digitization, the chemical industry can make use of this software to integrate and collaborate better. It also helps to get expert consultants onboard to implement ERP smoothly and leverage it to maximize performance and reduce costs. While every company has a different set of problems and requirements, well-designed chemical ERP software can efficiently address individualized issues.

Key Takeaways

  • The chemical companies must conduct a complete analysis of their as-is IT infrastructure and identify the right ERP system for their requirements.
  • ERP is a dynamic, flexible software, and thus chemical companies can evaluate comprehensively better many aspects of their operations with the help of a single system.
  • With learned ERP experts, chemical companies can go places in terms of operating smoothly and delivering consistently.

Start Your Digital Transformation Journey with Free Assessment

Get Started Now

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

Strenghtening Supply Chain Capablities

Ways to Strengthen your Supply Chain Processes

Ways to Strengthen your Supply Chain Processes 1440 810 Xcelpros Team

How Strong is Your Supply Chain?

Over the past two decades, many manufacturing operations have moved offshore to maintain lower operational costs across numerous industries. No one could have guessed that there would be a pandemic at the start of the year that would bring a large number of businesses and operations around the world to a grinding halt. The past few months highlighted gaps in various supply chains across the globe. Many companies that had pivoted operations found themselves scrambling to get their hands on materials needed to meet rapidly rising demands. Several factors would tie to the lack of availability, including any number of breakdowns in third-party suppliers’ supply chain, whether domestic or international.

For critical industries, not getting the materials they need can be catastrophic, but what is a vital sector?

What is a Critical Industry?

In 2001 immediately following the 9/11 attack on the United States, the USA Patriot Act was created to identify critical industry infrastructure and update essential workers’ designation. According to the USA Patriot Act, ‘Critical infrastructure’ is defined as “systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters” (USA Patriot Act of 2001 (42 U.S.C. §5195c(e)).

Critical Infrastructure is identified as functions that are essential for the functioning of a society and economy. Since then, the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) identifies Critical Infrastructure Industries according to a list of 16 specific industries identified as essential to keep our country and economy moving.

Industries that are part of the list:

  • Chemical
  • Commercial facilities
  • Communications
  • Critical manufacturing
  • Dams
  • Defense industrial bases
  • Emergency services
  • Energy
  • Financial services
  • Food and agriculture
  • Government facilities
  • Healthcare and public health
  • Information technology
  • Nuclear reactors, materials, waste
  • Transportation systems
  • Water and wastewater systems

Understanding your Supply Chain

A robust supply chain is the foundation of any successful company, primarily when critical operations rely on getting raw materials in the door and finished products to customers on time. Without added cost, it is essential in the day-to-day operations. The impact of COVID-19 on supply chains around the world has taught us of a few things these past few months:

  • Raw material supplier relationships are essential.
  • There are massive constraints that exist within our transportation industry.
  • Security within the supply chain can cause unexpected challenges.

According to the Information and Communications Technology’s (ICT) Supply Chain Risk Management program, it is essential to know your immediate supply chain and an extended supply chain that may not have direct access to third party suppliers like their customer base. It’s common for products that were once in excess supply to be depleted as multiple sources procure the same item. This is where a good supplier relationship could mean the difference between getting access to a product or having to wait until more materials are produced.

Another aspect to consider is that while our guard may be down as we concentrate on keeping operations moving, things like data breaches are rising. According to the Risk Ledger Report, third-party app developers, payment processors, and remote worker infrastructure are among the top security threats currently on the radar of organizations.

Figure: 1Functions enabling modern supply chain management

 

There are Ways to Stay Ahead

Thankfully, there are solutions out there to help companies stay competitive. The latest version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Supply Chain Management, introduced in October of 2019, includes several features for building strong supplier relationships and minimizing risks.

Some of the more powerful features designed to help include

  • A Role-based Vendor Collaboration Portal
    Members of the procurement team can post and respond to Requests for Quotations(RFQ) and edit necessary company information. Companies and suppliers have access also to confirm, maintain, reject, and accept purchase orders.
  • Purchase Inquiry Options
    Available outside of the portal as an alternative to the RFQ process when immediate material pricing and delivery need to be met with your existing supply base.
  • Vendor Performance Analysis
    Includes a dashboard to real-time Spend Analysis and Vendor Performance insights into on-time delivery.

Most recently, as an add-on to the already robust Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management platform, a public view into the new Dynamics 365 Manufacturing Accelerator has been made available (May 14, 2020). The Manufacturing Accelerator is a Power App designed by Microsoft to offer an enhanced Supplier Relationship Management experience, running natively with Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.

The primary features include processes to:

  • Qualify a new supplier
  • Onboard a supplier for data integration (API)
  • Manage and track Supplier Relationship Health Data

While the accelerator was created before the current pandemic, it’s turning out to be a great asset to procurement teams looking to strengthen their supplier sourcing capabilities.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to understand, especially after witnessing the impact COVID-19 has had on organizations around the world, that the priority of most companies is the safety of their employees, while at the same time ensuring they are getting products into the hands of their customers. Having a robust and secure platform like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management helps make this a reality. The bonus of native integrations with Microsoft 365 and the security of the Microsoft ecosystem add significant value.

Get Free Consultation For all Your Business Needs

Get Started Now

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