EPCA on the 4th industrial revolution

Over 2,800 professional from the global chemical business community gathered for the 51st EPCA annual meeting in Berlin at the start of the month. Tackling the theme “The Chemical Industry and the 4th Industrial Revolution: People, Planet, Profit in the Digital Age” the renowned industry event featured numerous business sessions and concluded with the annual closing lunch featuring former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (2007-2016) who outlined his unique perspective on world affairs. He also commended EPCA for its efforts in promoting STEM education, diversity and sustainable and resilient supply chains. After his speech, Ban Ki-moon conferred the awards for the top 5 winners of the European Finals of the European Youth Debating Competition (EYDC) organized for the second year running by EPCA, partnered with PlasticsEurope.

EPCA has long recognized the importance of Logistics & Supply Chains, and the “Supply Chain 4.0 and the Chemical Industry: Are We on the Right Track?” session did not disappoint. Prof. Ann Vereecke, partner and faculty Dean of Vlerick Business School presented the preliminary outcomes of the study on “The impact of digitisation on the Petrochemical Supply Chain” conducted by her team in cooperation with EPCA, investigating the digital technology “appetite” and digital innovation good practices amongst EPCA’s member companies. The results of their study found that “Three out of four [respondents of EPCA study] acknowledge that the petrochemical sector is lagging behind other sectors in terms of digitisation.” Luq Niazi, Global Managing Director, Chemicals & Petroleum Industries at IBM then shared his perspective on the key success factors for Supply Chain digital transformation, not only in terms of adopting breakthrough technologies but also in terms of new approaches to partnerships & collaboration – important areas for the industry to address. A panel discussion concluded the session with the keynote speakers joined by two industry leaders: Dr. Frithjof Netzer, Chief Digital Officer, BASF SE and Klaus Rud Sejling, CEO of Damco, further developing the discussions and engaging with the audience, encouraging agility in order to respond to new expectations arising from more collaboration and more co-creation as a result of digitization.

EPCA have announced the 52nd Annual Meeting will take place in Vienna, Austria from 7th – 10th October 2018 and aims to deliver even more opportunities to meet, acquire knowledge and share experiences.