Covestro is pursuing a comprehensive strategic program to seize the opportunities of digitization and set new standards in collaborating with customers. To do so, the materials manufacturer is anchoring digital technologies and operating procedures on central levels: in production, supply chain, research and development, at all points of contact with customers and in developing new business models. Its focus in all these efforts is on the specific benefits to customers. At the same time, all company employees are to benefit from the opportunities of digitization as well. Digitization thus will become a fixed element of corporate strategy and linked to defined financial targets: for example, a new form of online commerce is to contribute up to one billion in sales in two years.
“Digitization and the Internet of Things currently are growth drivers in the chemical industry, and we are actively exploiting their advantages and shaping their development,” says Dr. Markus Steilemann, Chief Commercial Officer. “Because digital solutions are making life easier today in many respects. We are using them, for instance, to support our ongoing human resources development activities. Through digital tools and methods, we want to push boundaries in the chemical industry and, above all, make our customers even more successful in their businesses.”
Comprehensive program: Digital@Covestro
The company is pooling its activities under the comprehensive Digital@Covestro program. Unmatched in the chemical industry, the global Optimized System Integration 2020 project targets digital operating processes in production. Its goal is to make the design, operations and maintenance of global production plants more efficient and transparent. This is to be achieved within the next three years by means of data integration, coupled with the new thought processes and operating procedures associated with it. For example, predictive maintenance is to be carried out in the plants using mobile devices that deliver real-time data.
Online platform for efficient purchasing
Furthermore, a new digital commerce chemistry platform is to be launched in early 2018. Business customers can then efficiently purchase standard products online from Covestro’s range of polymers at current market prices. Materials valued at up to one billion euros are to be sold via the platform by the end of 2019. Designed on the basis of customer needs, it is currently in the testing phase. There are also plans to market certified basic products and services from other suppliers via the new platform.
Communicating with customers on all channels
Covestro is also leading the chemical industry with its plans for fully integrated digital communication with business customers. They are to receive more effective after-sales support, from the first product idea to ongoing service, above and beyond all the digital channels. The first milestones for searching and ordering products are to be reached already in 2018.
Cutting costs for customers with algorithms
In addition to the digital commerce platform, there is for example a new business model called “digital technical services” that is critical to supporting efficient production processes for customers. Together with customers in the foam manufacturing industry, Covestro has been gaining experience for 10 years now with analyzing data to optimize production conditions. Algorithms are supporting the expansion of these services. Customers will be in a position as a result to significantly cut production costs.