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Businesses across the globe are placing more emphasis on the digitalization of their operations as digital technology continues to become an integral part of the value chain. The process of integrating cutting-edge technologies into all facets of corporate operations, culture, and consumer experiences is known as digital transformation.
A recent McKinsey survey of the European chemical industry showed that 82 percent of customers in the specialty chemicals sector were willing to adopt digital platforms. As industries rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, chemical players have also accelerated their investment in digitalizing their operations. The EY CEO Outlook Survey 2022 affirmed that digital transformation is the second-most prominent capital issue for chemical players across the globe.
Reflecting on DKSH Performance Materials’ digital transformation initiatives, the following four aspects were crucial milestones in elevating our organization’s digital capabilities.
We created a strong and diverse digital team with the right know-how and expertise organized under a single umbrella, including digital business, digital marketing, digital operations, technology & innovation, and analytics. The team is focused on driving and implementing our digital transformation strategy and is spread across several of the markets we operate in, including Spain, Thailand, Vietnam, and India.
The team is embedded within the business to keep our customer-centric philosophy intact. Their main objective is to grow our business through digital channels and ensure our services are more accessible to customers across a broad range of digital platforms. In order to keep DKSH Performance Materials abreast of new technological developments, the digital team is committed to continually improving the automation of internal and external processes.
The second pillar was to develop a strong collaborative set-up with the Group's IT, supply chain, and finance divisions. Specifically, with IT, we collaborated to ensure that we had the right developers who were organized into the right product teams.
With this unique strategy and shared goals, along with strong support from our Business Unit leaders, we successfully created a single global digital ecosystem of platforms and data to cater to global and local business needs.
Our unique global digital ecosystem connects a market leader ERP with a best-in-class CRM hosting over ten additional integrated solutions, where data flows effortlessly. This unique ecosystem for all our markets and business lines worldwide allows us to digitalize our customers’ experience and drive internal efficiency excellence.
CRM is the heart of the ecosystem and the foundation that allows us to evolve digitally to fulfil our partners' needs. As a key technology to manage our organization’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers, it is strategically very important to make sure it remains the bedrock of our organization-wide digital efforts.
With a focus on giving the best experience to our customers and clients as well as reaching out to thousands of new prospects, we developed a wide range of digital services and solutions integrated with our CRM. We were able to interconnect digital platforms such as marketplaces and social media that bring leads and opportunities directly to the fingertips of our technical sales managers. Concurrently, we developed a customized PIM (Product Information Management) infrastructure to collect, manage, and display our product information for our Customer Portal and our Digital Marketing efforts.
The fact that we efficiently manage global leads, opportunities, and sales data under a unique data platform helps us provide a seamless experience to our stakeholders, including state-of-the analytics and market insights through our advanced visual dashboards.
A key milestone in our digital strategy was providing an online platform that would allow our suppliers and customers to engage directly with our products and services.
We launched DKSH Discover, an award-winning customer-facing portal that provides a one-stop solution for companies to source hard-to-find specialty chemicals and ingredients. Through DKSH Discover, our business partners can experience a convenient user interface with access to products, cutting-edge formulations, the option to compare products by supplier, function, and application, order products online, as well as connect with technical experts in all 53 DKSH innovation centers around the world.
When it comes to digitalization, a quick win is not always the right answer. A long-term strategic vision goes a long way in creating the ideal program for both internal and external audiences. The team is on a continuous journey to improve by seeking feedback and ideas from the business. Once proven impactful in a market, these ideas are rolled out into our digital ecosystem. By listening to our internal teams as well as watching industry developments, we focus on implementing our digital strategies and on further collaboration opportunities ahead.
About the author
Irene Dávalos Cánovas is the Director, Digital and Sustainability at DKSH Business Unit Performance Materials. Irene has over 15 years of experience in digital transformation, marketing, operations, analytics, data management and leadership within multinational companies.