What opportunities does digitalization offer us...?
The systematic development of a digital sales model is a direct opportunity with interesting scaling and success potential. The extended range with lower processing and acquisition costs are obvious advantages and quick wins.
The days when only data necessary for immediate business was created in the company’s own ERP system so as to simply handle the operative business as efficiently as possible are long gone. The professional collection and management of data along the value chain (e.g. delivery data, product/material data, market data, customer & application data ...) and the intelligent combination and evaluation of this data using advanced technologies can lead to decisive competitive advantages, higher customer benefits and of course to completely new business opportunities. One example with great potential in our eyes could be the smart combination of digitalization, recycling, and the circular economy.
Of course, the optimization and automation of operational processes remains one of the biggest levers digitalization has to offer. If all core processes (first priority) as well as support processes (second priority) are regularly put to the test that, in the sense of an end-to-end logic, goes beyond the company's boundaries, vertical and horizontal interconnectivity offers an enormous potential for efficiency gains. In B2B trading companies, the automation of logistics processes along the value chain and digital connections with customers, suppliers, warehouses, and forwarders in particular continue to offer enormous opportunities for optimizations in both costs and services.
Many B2B industries and their trading companies are still very traditional or even conservative: a slightly old-fashioned brand image, no established online sales channels, a lack of cross-company transparency in the supply chains with regard to conditions and order processing, hardly any digital marketing and no digital services often still characterize industrial practice. This offers numerous opportunities for differentiation from the competition. Trading companies in particular can reinvent and position themselves as an innovative, long-term partner by means of comprehensive services for customer and supplier networks. This can also increase their appeal as an employer for young professionals, a particular challenge and task for distributors, since talent is scarce and demanding.
And what risks come with digitalization...?
Along the polymer value chain, and especially in the trade sector, it is no secret that there is a high pressure on margins, especially in the commodity sector. This is intensified by the continuing trend of globalization and increasing price transparency due to the boom in e-commerce and constantly improving market information platforms. Any company that fails to use digitalization in a targeted and systematic manner in its corporate strategy, whether to become more efficient, reduce costs, or even to differentiate itself from the competition in the long term by offering innovative services in addition to its product portfolio, sooner or later risks losing its competitiveness or even its market position.