Innovation in Challenging Times

By June 30, 2021 No Comments

Innovation in Compound Design
History has taught us that in times of adversity ‘thinking out of the box’ helps companies weather the storm and come out on top. In these challenging times we have seen many companies go online very quickly, change the product mix, harness new channels to reach the end user and many other disruptions to their original business model.

Going forward I do not see these companies disbanding their innovative business methods once this pandemic challenge is under control. What I DO see is companies working smarter and approaching cost control and placing investments for growth, either in the traditional areas of business or the new areas that they have worked in during this time.

Companies that work on more than one area of strategy will come out better than the company that works just one. Companies that are looking to the future will also make assertive and opportunistic moves to advance on their competitors in this disruptive period. They will seek to enhance customer relationships with services, innovate with new products and technology partnerships, build new capabilities or channels to market, grow inorganically.

Looking Ahead with Specialty Chemicals

The chemicals market is built on a closely intertwined supply chain that can be affected in this time. Many companies have business continuity plans in place and have weathered trade wars, political disruption, downturns before. But with the entire world in a disruptive state and the complexity of today’s crisis calls for a new way of thinking about how not only manufacturers in the chemical space do business but also the many distributors and smaller parties down the supply chain to the end user.

This industry relies on the reliability of supply. Specialty chemicals have potentially a limitless range of market oriented and functional products, from pharmaceuticals to the shoe industry to petrochemicals.

Supply Chain unpredictability in these times: How to get over supply issues? Be innovative in compound design

We have seen that supply chains are mercurial and disruptions in the ecosystem causes ripple effects up and down the value chain. Ensuring that one is not seriously affected is something that businesses have to keep in mind. And being innovative in compound design is an area that a company can explore.

When using accelerators sometimes we use more than one. With supply issues if one of these accelerators is not available it will lead to low or no production and as mentioned above, glitches in the supply chain will have an effect on the value chain.

Each rubber needs a different accelerator but what happens if we think out of the box and substitute traditional accelerators – such as an accelerator blend – that is three to four of the accelerators that you would normally be used blended together to make up one accelerator. This would reduce your chances of a stock out. The same accelerator blend could be used in different polymers like EPDM, NR, SBR and NBR for e.g. Devoluc EG3.

Similarly in the processing additives for rubber space we have a product Dispergum ZK which can be used to improve the dispersion of carbon black and white fillers such as silica, calcium carbonate, clays etc. in different polymers.

The result of being innovative in product design will not only fix any supply chain challenges but will ensure that a lower number of accelerators and additives are held in inventory. The positives being two-fold, one carrying a lower number of chemicals in inventory where space can be freed up and two, the holding cost of inventory being reduced.

Going beyond Cost Saving and doing the right thing

Companies may look to substituting a chemical to improve the environmental footprint of their products or manufacturing processes, to better technical functionality or to respond to client demands or adhere to legal compliance. Usually, a combination of all these factors lead to a competitive advantage, saving in costs, meeting export compliances and all this ultimately benefits mankind and the environment.

Substitution provides an avenue for innovation and an opportunity to explore efficiencies along the manufacturing process. You may harness greater efficiencies by looking systematically at how the chemicals are being used in your own process or along your supply chain, what their functions are, and what options might exist for process or product innovation. You may even realise that the function performed by the substance or mixture you are using is no longer necessary if you change your process or the design of your product. This becomes a driver for innovation. Revisiting your materials and production process can also result in more efficiency and can help to reduce the resources you use and the waste you generate during the life-cycle of your product.

In conclusion, re-thinking beyond strategy in these challenging times will help businesses stay in business, grow and be competitive.

IR Tubes Private Limited deals in speciality accelerators, additives used in rubber compounding, tackifier resin for rubber that gives you not only an indirect cost benefit in terms of greater productivity but also better performance.

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