Deborah Austin Management services firm Accenture has issued a three-part action plan to help chemical companies weather the worst industrywide downturn in two decades. The plan focuses on the following initiatives, which Accenture says companies must get right to succeed:
Recruit high-quality workers and preserving institutional knowledge in the face of a current "brain drain."
Use new forms of outsourcing as value-creation tools to reduce costs and enhance productivity.
Choose and execute an appropriate business model and execute properly. Most chemical companies that grew successfully employ one of two focused business models, Accenture said. Those models are operator, which features world-scale manufacturing facilities, market share and cost leadership through standardized structures, systems and processes; or solution provider, which demonstrates strengths in brand equity, innovation, client relationship management and flexibility in manufacturing, systems and processes. A third option, which is a hybrid of the other two, presents greater challenges to successful growth. "The industry cannot afford to just wait for the tide to turn. There is a way out, but it will require bold steps," says Don Richards, Accenture managing partner for the chemical industry practice, North America.