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Digital technologies are affecting all aspects of the chemical industry along the value chain. Frost & Sullivan has divided the impact of digital transformation into seven domains along the value chain. The digital plant concept is just one of these domains. A digital plant uses innovative technology for many specific reasons including predictive maintenance, process improvements, and even new plant design. Many chemical companies are using digital technology and Industry 4.0 concepts to develop visions of a chemical plant of the future. Digital technologies will play a vital role in new product development in the chemical industry through digital innovation. They are also being leveraged by chemical companies in a number of industry niches, to develop digital products. Digital business models being developed by chemical companies include new ways of partnering with clients. In an industry where supply and demand dynamics are critical, digital business models are also enabling real-time demand forecasting and better logistics management. For chemical companies, a connected supply chain is equally important upstream and downstream. Digital sourcing connects chemical companies to energy and raw materials, whilst digital customers are changing the demand for chemicals. Finally, eMarketing of chemicals is limited primarily to regions such as China with fewer regulatory requirements concerning trade in chemicals. In the rest of the world, the primary opportunity for chemical companies is through innovative digital marketing initiatives. Frost & Sullivan’s Chemicals & Materials experts have brought together the company’s knowledge of all these domains, putting their insights into context for chemical companies. The research also provides an overview of which digital enabling technologies will be the most relevant to chemical companies. In addition to this, many chemical companies are beginning to formalise more coherent and connected strategies around the theme of digital transformation. These companies are treating digital transformation as a strategic driver of growth, and are beginning to realise the potential that digital technologies offer. The research therefore contains nine separate sections: enabling technologies, seven domains in the chemical industry being affected, and the concept of treating digital transformation as a strategic growth driver. Each section is broken down into three parts: an introduction to the concept or domain; how it is affecting the chemical industry; and a case study of best practices in the industry. This growth insight, therefore, provides chemical companies with an overview of how digital technology is likely to affect their businesses. The year 2018 will be critical for these companies and those with the most co-ordinated digital strategies will reap the greatest benefits.
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