The consequences of the recent fi nancial crisis are both farreaching and unpredictable. Despite the recent recovery there is still a high degree of uncertainty and caution about whether this is sustainable, particularly in the light of high levels of sovereign debt around the world. The fact that the “unthinkable can happen” has severely undermined the confi dence of central bankers, authorities, and of course, the consumer. In the past few months, chemical companies have focused on cash, and inventories were reduced to a point where they were no longer sustainable. Destocking and volatile demand can lead to a bullwhip effect through the supply chain, causing supply interruptions and a general expediting and service level deterioration, and there is evidence of this already happening. Lack of visibility on the channel and end markets will further complicate the situation. “The industry is not suffi ciently using its insight in their customers’ business, with poor coordination between sales and operation planning (volumes and quantities) and financial planning on the other hand”. Deloitte
So with the memory of the recent recession uppermost in their mind, some 70 senior supply chain executives from Producers, Logistics Service Suppliers, Consultants and Industry Associations gathered in Frankfurt on March 2-3 to discuss the themes of “Coming Out of the Economic Downturn” and “Green Supply Demand Chains”.