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Our fi rst session looked at Technology Development and New Generation Supply-Demand Chains for the Chemical Industry. Our speakers took us on a journey into the heart of transformational data utilisation and management through the Internet of Things and the application of business analytics systems. Their emphasis was adding value.

It is clear that the Internet of Things – a multitude of web-enabled connections between devices, people, businesses, cities and communities – is offering a plethora of real time contextual data to access and use in new ways to enhance businesses, services and our societies. We also gained insights into the power of predictive analytics to improve every aspect of our business activities through combinations of route-cause analyses and real time data access that can transcend inter-functional barriers and drive optimisation across companies and business networks. A display of dashboards deploying real time data for control gave a glimpse into the future.

The key messages were that The Internet of Things is happening now in some industries and is likely to spread across most. It will provide a deluge of data which needs putting into context to make decisions through predicting forwards and by utilising real time dashboards. The Chemical Industry has good examples of information exchange but it needs to remove “mind set” barriers regarding sharing information to make our current technology effective before progressing to new innovations in a step by step approach.

Our dinner speaker focused on the impact of Customers and Consumer Behaviour on Supply Chains. In fast growing economies, consumers are increasingly “buying green” and “paying more” particularly in the consumer-facing industries. Responding to their customers’ demands, these businesses are demanding that their suppliers work with them to improve and chart both social and environmental performance. For the chemical industry, leading and co-operating on these new initiatives will offer potentially signifi cant gains in terms of fi nancial performance and reputation. Our second session focused on the need for innovation and agility in 21st Century Supply Chains, with one speaker highlighting the need for increased fl exibility and responsiveness in an increasing uncertain and volatile world where the centre of gravity is moving east. Economy of scope rather than economy of scale, bringing supply closer to demand, postponement, small footprint manufacturing, response based network design may be the future supply chains

Our second speaker highlighted that Ikea has a sustainable investment program as one of its four key overall business goals. Reduce – reduce – reduce, regional sourcing, customer trust, internal pride, communication and branding are major elements. Consumers do care and it was guaranteed that customers would require a full footprint including that of the chemical industry.

The Workshop overall conclusions are that future changes will include:

• The Internet of Things

• Customer sustainability expectations

• Supply chain volativity

We must:

• Overcome information sharing barriers

• Deploy new technology on a step by step basis

• Set sustainable programs

• Brand and communicate