Today, supply chain managers across the global chemical industry, while operating in a very difficult economic environment, need to respond to important sustainability challenges in the supply chain. Chemical production is shifting faster than expected from Europe to Asia, while shale gas is attracting new investments in North America. These factors are realigning global supply and demand balances, altering the volume and direction of material flows, and significantly increasing supply chain complexity and uncertainty.
Mindful of today’s wide-ranging changes, EPCA, with the participation of Cefic, initiated a project to explore opportunities to respond to these major supply chain challenges. Combining expertise from the industry, academia and consulting companies, the study examines supply chains in the chemicals and other sectors. By making extensive use of case studies, this report aims to showcase good practices and demonstrate how they contribute to more sustainable logistics and supply chains.
The report focuses on four major areas: (1) Managing complex and uncertain supply chains in a global context (Chapter 3) The report recommends addressing complexity and uncertainty in chemical supply and logistics chains. As such, it identifies key drivers and maps supply chains for several chemical products, reflecting various degrees of complexity and uncertainty. The case studies highlight possible ways to cope with uncertainty (requiring strategic business engagements) or complexity (requiring functional expertise). The chemical industry, like other leading industries, is applying in this context demand-driven supply chains, product standardization, collaboration, decoupling downstream, differentiation and segmentation.