Managing Innovation Projects in the Chemical Industry

/Managing Innovation Projects in the Chemical Industry

Managing Innovation Projects in the Chemical Industry

The chemical industry is changing very quickly due to new methods of getting oil and gas from fracturing layers of rock. These new discoveries are changing the dynamics of the field, because they bring the cost of natural gas down substantially. As a result, traditional players in the petrochemical industry are facing margin pressures as they compete with the new approach. They are looking to acquire or joint venture with fracking partners. Companies directly affected by the chemical industry -- seed producers, pesticide producers, trade & processing companies, and food companies -- are seeing the prices of their inputs changing, which leads to changes in the costs of the projects in their innovation pipeline. This means they need to reassess projects to prioritize them correctly in the changing market.

For companies to sustain their business and keep their margins, they need real-time, accurate information on all of their innovation projects. They also need information to be available cross-functionally. No longer is there one resident expert. Instead, the decision-making process must take into account the perspectives of R&D, technology development, marketing, sales, finance, operations and manufacturing and others in order to increase the probability of a decision's success.

To make these kinds of company-wide decisions, executives need insight into innovation projects taking place in all of the company's business units, and they need one single place from which to view these projects simultaneously, so that they can compare them and run what-if scenarios to test the effects of shifting resources from one project to another.

To accomplish these tasks, companies like the world's largest chemical company, BASF, are using Sopheon's Accolade solution to integrate information from across the organization into one single source of truth. This central repository provides data on the company’s concepts, ideas in development, projects and products as they are launched. BASF, an $85 billion company with 385 production facilities worldwide, uses Accolade to unite the projects from its six business segments -- Chemicals, Plastics, Performance Products, Functional Solutions, Agricultural Solutions, and Oil and Gas -- into one database. With this integrated view of the information, executives can track and manage the company’s 3,300 research and development activities taking place throughout the world.

2016-12-14T21:01:19-05:00August 1st, 2013|

About the Author:

Mark Adkins
Mark is the founder & president of Smart Hammer Innovation, a management consulting business that helps B2B firms seeking profitable growth through product innovation. Mark is the former Director of Marketing and New Product Development at both Cincinnati Milacron and Kennametal During his career he and his development teams have launched new products that have generated over $1B in sales. Mark currently serves on the board of directors of the PDMA and helped found the Cincinnati Chapter of PDMA in 2000 and the Pittsburgh Chapter in 2010.

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