Johan Devos recounts his time as Chairperson of EPCA’s Supply Chain Program Committee (SCPC)
Looking back at my chairmanship (2014-2018), I can only admit that this was a challenging and great period, which flew by very quickly. It began, when my predecessor Raf Bemelmans (at that time: Director Supply Chain Polymers Europe, SABIC) stepped down in April 2014 and I took over quite unexpectedly, although with unanimous support. The preparations for the workshop “Talent & Technology – Drivers for Supply Chain Leadership”, that successfully took place in June 2014, were already in a final stage and also the “Supply Chain and Logistics Leaders Breakfast” Session at the 48th EPCA Annual Meeting in Vienna was being planned. Fortunately, everything rolled out smoothly.
The big change for me personally was the fresh approach from EPCA CEO Caroline Ciuciu, who supported the SCPC and my personal strive for a full-blown Logistics & Supply Chain Session at the Annual Meeting. The first one in Budapest during the 50th EPCA Annual Meeting in 2016 was an immediate hit with the famous Futurist and Business Thinker Patrick Dixon delivering the keynote speech. The audience was very positive, and the feedback was excellent. The year after, our Logistics & Supply Chain Session at the 51st EPCA Annual Meeting in Berlin, tackled the new wave of digitisation in the petrochemical supply chain. The cooperation with the Vlerick Business School worked out great and, therefore, we pursued this topic and organised a successful workshop on “Digitisation in the Petrochemical Supply Chain” in Brussels on 20th until 21th of June 2018.
My last year as Chairman really was overwhelming. The SCPC members are a great team, with a nice balance of experts from both the petrochemical producers and the logistics service providers (LSPs). In combination with the enthusiastic EPCA team under the wings of their CEO Caroline Ciuciu, we were able to organise once again a well-attended Logistics & Supply Chain Session at the 52nd EPCA Annual Meeting in Vienna. We had an inspiring keynote speaker, Professor Yossi Sheffi, Elisha Gray II
Professor of Engineering Systems at MIT, Director of the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics, and great interaction with the other speakers and the audience, which is growing year by year!
Digitisation will remain a hot topic for the future and the need for resilient supply chain solutions, in view of the ever-growing globalisation, will be key. Producing all these magnificent chemical molecules is one thing, moving them around the globe in a safe way, with on-time visibility will be the main message. Therefore, I remain with my mantra:
“Logistics and Supply Chain are key elements in each and every business strategy! “
Now I will move on to the EPCA Board to support all the EPCA activities, but my heart will always stay with the SCPC team. I wish my successor, Dirk Verstraeten, a great fellow Belgian with long years of global supply chain knowledge, a lot of success!