Chemical industry must prepare for Supply Chain 4.0, say speakers at 11th GPCA Supply Chain Conference

Chemical industry must prepare for Supply Chain 4.0, say speakers at 11th GPCA Supply Chain Conference
Published: 18 April 2019 - 6 a.m.
By: Martin Menachery

The chemical industry in the Arabian Gulf must ensure its readiness to face the growing rate of supply chain digitalisation, which will lead to continuous disruptions and create new challenges and opportunities for regional producers to adapt to and respond to a new market reality, said speakers at the 11th edition of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) Supply Chain Conference held during 15-17 April 2019 at the InterContinental Festival City Hotel, Dubai, UAE.

The chemical supply chain is transforming rapidly as global challenges add pressure on chemical players to improve their efficiency and end-to-end supply chain. Against this backdrop, a new set of technological advancements, known as 'Supply Chain 4.0’, is influencing how organisations oversee their logistics, procure materials, and generate value. The move towards greater digitalisation is transforming chemical supply chains, creating new opportunities to make them more agile, resilient, faster and efficient.

In line with the event’s theme ‘Getting Ready for the Future: Supply Chain 4.0’, speakers discussed the key enablers for a successful chemical supply chain transformation ranging from collaboration, technology, digital procurement, value-based sales and operations planning, building local content and more.

The conference began with an opening address by Ahmed Al-Shamsi, SVP, Regional MEAE, Borouge, and chairman, GPCA Supply Chain Committee, and continued with a keynote address by Fayez Al Malki, VP, global supply chain, SABIC. Al Malki called on the chemical industry in the Arabian Gulf region and globally to respond to and address the new generation of disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), advanced analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, process automation and the digital supply chain twins, which will continue to disrupt existing supply chain operating models now and into the future.

In line with the regional aspirations to position the Arabian Gulf region among the top logistics hubs globally, future GCC governments’ visions and long-term initiatives have been launched with the objective to transform the supply chain landscape in the region. In his keynote presentation on day two, Abdulaziz Mohammed Almohawes, head, Authorised Economic Operator, Saudi Customs, highlighted the importance of the Saudi Authorised Economic Operator Programme, a new trade facilitation initiative offering faster and simpler import and export processing in the kingdom.

For his part, Ali A Al-Omeir, business development director, MODON, discussed the programmes and initiatives by the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones to utilise smart technology and attract new investments in the country.

Dr Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary general, GPCA, commented: “Supply Chain 4.0 is not a mere buzzword, it is a necessity and a reality that is right here, at our doorstep.No industry is better placed than the chemical industry in the Arabian Gulf to respond to the immense opportunity created by this rapidly evolving trend. To build more responsive and intelligent supply chains, the industry must leverage the latest technology innovations. It must embrace the new generation of digital procurement, which supports better decision-making and improved performance.”

“A concerted focus on end-to-end visibility will also be needed to manage product and data flows across global supply chains.The chemical industry must develop new service offerings to create greater value for its customers and source goods and services from within the region to boost local content and support the growth of SMEs.Ultimately, chemical players should enact a cultural shift from being efficiency-focused to becoming more value-driven,” Dr Al-Sadoun concluded.

In line with its commitment to building local human capital in the Arabian Gulf region, on 15 April 2019 GPCA hosted the 11th edition of its ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ programme on the sidelines of the Supply Chain Conference. Students from universities across the GCC attended a special seminar comprised of expert presentations by senior industry leaders from City Cement Company, Borouge, and TASNEE, as well as an interactive session designed to build real-life knowledge and experience for the young participants and their peers.

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