Competitive and regulatory pressures are likely to remain prominent issues facing the chemical industry in 2019. In order to stay ahead, companies will need more functionality from their enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions.
Here’s a closer look at chemical industry trends and ERP expectations for 2019.
Chemical challenges and opportunities
Chemical companies will face some of the same challenges in 2019 as in recent years, driven by hefty transactional activity, compliance issues and changing customer expectations. Here are a few of the major challenges:
- Customer Expectations. Customer and consumer expectations have changed in recent years. Today, the expectations are real-time information on any device, instant communication with quick responses and buying decisions driven by easy access to insights and data.
- Mergers and Acquisitions. The past few years have seen extensive M&A activity in the chemical industry. While the big deals have largely been consummated, that leaves lots of room for mid-sized companies to acquire competitors or business pieces being dropped by newly formed mega-companies.
- Regulation. Chemical companies continue to face complex and evolving compliance demands from industry and federal and international agencies. Managing this layered regulatory landscape requires tools that can track and report on myriad data.
- Margin Pressure. Companies continue to face demands from executives, boards and shareholders for improved profit margins. That means driving operational efficiency through tools to manage inventory, formulas, asset usage and employee productivity.
What it means for your ERP
The need for more productivity, accountability, documentation and customer responsiveness means your company needs the right industry-specific manufacturing ERP software. These new realities mean chemical companies should expect more from their ERP solution.
Your company needs an ERP that can deliver on not only operational efficiency, but also on the adoption of new technologies that can differentiate from the competition. IN 2019, companies should look for an ERP that can provide:
- Agility. Your ERP needs the flexibility to anticipate and respond to rapidly changing products, customers, expectations, partners and suppliers. Demands for new products, for example, need to be met quickly. That means having an ERP that can add classifications, formulas, business rules and shipping notifications rapidly.
- Technology. Your tools and products are getting smarter and more connected. You need an ERP that can accommodate growth in the Internet of Things, linking information that’s collected and sent by connected objects to the right place and the right person. Use of artificial intelligence and machine learning is also bound to accelerate in 2019. Your ERP will need to adapt to handle the efficiencies gained by voice-activated interfaces and machine-generated alerts.
- Data as an Asset. ERP solutions have long touted the ability to collect, report and visualize massive amounts of data for actionable impact. In 2019, data will continue to be seen as an asset to be commoditized and leveraged. ERPs need to pull data from disparate areas to deliver insights and, in many case, revenue streams.
- Market Adaptation. Chemical companies are finding more markets, each with their own demands, customer and packaging expectations, label requirements and regulations. Your ERP needs to be able to deliver the variability needed to make an impact in emerging marketplaces.
The right ERP partner
NexTec works with leading ERP companies, including Acumatica, Microsoft and Sage. Our nationwide network of consultations with chemical industry experience are ready to position your chemical business for success in 2019. Get our guide, 10 tips to smart ERP selection, to learn more about how NexTec delivers results with chemical industry ERPs.