5 Challenges in Chemical Manufacturing and Digital Solutions That Help Solve Them

02.17.2023 | By Mark Speyers

The chemical industry may not be the most high visibility industry in manufacturing, however it is one of the most impactful ones. The chemical industry is often feeding the supply chain and as a mission critical industry, leveraging digital transformation technology should be a priority on all areas of the business.

Manufacturing excellence solutions like the ones SymphonyAI Industrial provides can provide significant impact for the chemical industry to consistently improve production.

We’ll examine five critical issues that chemical manufacturers are encountering today as well as available solutions within a digital transformation to assist their production.

#1 Low Sustainable Efforts

Sustainability and decarbonization in manufacturing are progressively becoming less of a competitive advantage and more of a critical concern. From chemical waste, plastic, and emissions, to labor efficiency in the workplace- maintaining adequate sustainable practices is a clear need. Chemical manufacturers are structuring their objectives around environmental, social, and governance responsibilities to support regulatory ESG goals.

Managing ESG compliance processes and embedding it into day-to-day practice can be cumbersome if managed manually and/or on paper. By leveraging a connected worker platform like Proceedix, chemical manufacturers can support sustainability goals while inherently improving their organization’s operational efficiency. Streamlining processes through the utilization of advanced technology helps to generate increased value for manufacturers over time. Chemical manufacturers can improve their ESG objectives by integrating a connected worker software that promotes environmental and operational sustainability in their business. Please visit this article to learn how a connected worker platform helps achieve ESG goals.

#2 Ensuring Compliance

The desire for sustainability is not limited to only environmental sustainability but can also be impactful in a regulatory setting. Emerging regulations and standards within the chemical industry contribute towards the difficulty of ensuring ongoing compliance.

With these challenges in mind, the investment in deskless technology allows for higher potential at a both operational and employee level.

Traditional approaches for executing workflows (paper, excel, etc.) do not sufficiently guarantee compliance due to poor traceability. With turnover rates increasing, ensuring technicians are guided and trained consistently is key. Additionally, with manual workflows, it is difficult to validate that instructions were correctly followed or even the right version used.

Digitizing allows for a rich data pool to be built as tasks are executed, so organizations can quickly react and improve. This access to real-time data at task level increases the visibility of each line’s efficiency. A connected worker platform like Proceedix automatically logs data from executed procedures, significantly reducing manual entry and admin time by up to 70%. Proceedix also provides a closed loop for worker feedback and suggestions for improvement on each procedure. By providing our technology vs. paper, you can help to attract and retain skilled labor by making their jobs easier, reducing admin time, and ensuring continuous improvement.

#3 Adoption of Innovation

It is no secret that adoption of advanced technologies improves innovation within an organization. However, many organizations fail to get their workforce to effectively utilize new tools or processes.

A recent Forbes survey showed that “Ninety-eight percent continue using spreadsheets, including Microsoft Excel, even while adopting digital transformation strategies. In fact, half (50%) of those surveyed say they use paper-based systems for ‘the majority’ of processes”. This illustrates how critical it is to ensure a new technology appeals to seasoned employees, while being easily adopted by new employees. Technology can also pave the way to closing the skill gaps that the industry is seeing more frequently.

A connected worker platform like Proceedix ensures innovation remains “sticky” in your organization by prioritizing a simple and clear UI, and features that provide value to your management and users from day 1.

Proceedix offers visual and intuitive workflows, that are presented step-by-step with the ability to enrich with media or other contextual cues. This helps to ensure compliance, strengthen reliability of assets, and support employees with training and reduction of either learning or admin time.

Integration within Proceedix also provides an untapped connectedness with IoT, MES, and wearable technology. Additionally, execution data from workflows allow for a new level of traceability within a manufacturer’s operations. All of the data can be easily visualized inside your PowerBi or Tableau instance to understand trends, worker efficiency, and more.

#4 Optimizing Operational Performance

Various factors make optimizing operational performance difficult if managed manually.. Management of paper forms that then must be entered into spreadsheets or an additional data warehouse can be error prone and cumbersome. Routine procedures like sampling for pathogens, validating and recording dispense weights, or quality inspections are often still done manually on paper. Digitally transforming this data means it can be captured once in Proceedix, versus across multiple touch points. This can help strengthen and drive data-driven decision making to extend product inventory and generate long-lasting growth.

The other side of operational excellence is ensuring the equipment producing the products are maintained in a highly regimented fashion. Automating your Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) strategy and guiding your technicians becomes highly streamlined when digitized. Thus allowing you to be more pro-active and less re-active.

A connected worker platform like Proceedix helps with the reduction of maintenance time and costs. Proceedix’s advanced Action Management system allows for two-way communication so operators are alerted in real-time, allowing maintenance to be completed more efficiently. Whether documenting repairs, connecting to manufacturing execution systems, or providing highly detailed data, automation and integration with Proceedix allows for operational and maintenance processes to become more streamlined.

#5 Dependency and Shifting Labor Demand

In an industry with dynamic demand and substantial industry dependency, chemical producers need to develop a more structured process to mitigate risk, especially in a complex environment. As demand rises, so does the dependency on a competent labor force.

In today’s environment, training, guiding, and understanding the productivity of your team is more critical than ever. An over utilized workforce is just as costly as an under-utilized one–over utilization can drive employee burn out, while an under-utilized employee may feel the need to look elsewhere. Proceedix can help ease the onboarding process by maintaining up-to-date guidance and procedures – all while transparently gathering a rich data pool of worker activity on a near real time basis.

Chemical producers also generate an enormous amount of data, yet may not be fully optimizing this wealth of information for their business. Detailed data derived inside Proceedix can be leveraged to yield more impactful changes to help optimize performance. Harnessing an execution platform like Proceedix will allow chemical manufacturers to cater to this demand with an improved time to market and management of capacity and inventory.

Procedures executed in Proceedix can easily connect to an ERP system to keep material consumption accurate, while also providing insights on the actual people who are doing the work. Data from every workflow’s execution is fully traceable and can be used to forecast production and schedule turnaround times more accurately.

Proceedix is a Symphony AI solution that helps guide businesses to the next level of their digital transformation journey. Let Proceedix demonstrate the measurable improvements digital transformation can have to help you limit the most prevalent challenges for the chemical industry today.

Written by:
Seth Ludeman
Senior Solutions Architect at SymphonyAI Industrial

Latest Insights

convenience fuel retailing Fuel Retail Analytics
05.17.2024 Blog

Shopper Analytics Give Convenience Retailers Fuel to Increase Loyalty and In-Store Sales

Retail / CPG Square Icon Svg
Using vertical AI to solve specific business problems

Using vertical AI to solve specific business problems

AI Square Icon Svg
Introducing SensaAI for Sanctions

Introducing SensaAI for Sanctions

Financial Services Square Icon Svg