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Hottest information about 14th Annual Chemical/Petrochemical Strategic Sourcing Summit

31 January 2019


Procurement Director Indirect & Logistics
Axalta Coating Systems

3 Questions For Frank DelMastro

How will the industry’s technologies look by 2025? How will they effect operations in sourcing and procurement?

I see one of the biggest changes being in the adoption of Mobility & ChatBots in sourcing and procurement functions. While organizations are demanding more, many procurement functions are operating with only a fraction of the resources they had in the past. We must rely on technology to drive greater productivity. Emerging productivity solutions today can be found through greater mobility and through Bots.

Technology can and will streamline procurement transactions. To illustrate this point, moving forward initial interactions around a purchase order will be made through a centralized procurement ChatBot, which would eliminate the non value-add emails or phone calls to category managers. Likewise, a Bot could be used to pull invoice details to verify spend. Using these new generation tools, category managers would get real sample data in seconds without entering data into an ERP system, freeing up time for more value-add thinking.

It is the responsibility of procurement professionals to be on the leading edge of new technologies to enable greater productivity and the ability to do more with less. By doing so, procurement will continue to be a leading function within organizations, both big and small, as new technologies will allow leaders to work on strategic activities that support organizational goals the best.

How to ensure that sustainability is in the center of innovations?

Sustainability in today’s business world is part of every discussion. At Axalta, we set real goals for making our world and the communities we live and work in better and more productive. For example, we have specific allocation targets that are proving to add sustainability benefits like lowered VOC emissions. We outline our specific goals and the progress we have made in our bi-annual sustainability report.

We also seek ways to incorporate sustainable manufacturing processes into our Company. For example, we localize the supply chain close to customers, which helps to reduce cost and energy consumption associated with air and sea freight. In addition, we use a “Right First Time” concept, which creates innovative ideas within the manufacturing process that drives results. Both processes help to improve quality and optimizes resources, which ultimately leads to reduction in waste and lower energy usage.

To make this a reality, it is important to work with customers, partners, and suppliers that share our values and commitment to sustainability. Working collaboratively with sustainably-conscious stakeholders helps to ensure that we can continue to grow our business and develop products that will enable and benefit future generations.

How to capitalize on the situation when your suppliers are also your competitors or customers, and how to create collaborative relations?

Competition and collaboration can co-exist together. When there is a situation where a supplier is also a competitor or a customer, it often creates an opportunity to learn and benefit from one another. We have found that working with competitors and customers often helps identify best practices and drives continuous learning. While these types of relationships have some challenges, such as not infringing on any antitrust or regulatory issues, they can also lead to common industry or customer norms that help making our industry stronger. For example, many companies in our industry are grappling with a shortage in domestic trucking. While we all want to ensure our company is meeting its delivery times, understanding how others in the industry are solving this issue offers terrific perspective. The chance to work together may also help to ensure the health of the entire industry for the long-term.
Developing best practices for this challenge, as well as others that impact multiple companies in the industry, will help us all become more efficient, more sustainable, and drive greater benefits to our industry.

Frank DelMastro is the Global Procurement Director for AXALTA COATING SYSTEMS. Frank is responsible for driving efficiencies across Indirect and Logistics Procurement. Previously, Frank served as the Global Category Manager. Prior to joining Axalta, Frank managed the labor and capital procurement strategies at Sunoco, across all the company’s refinery and petrochemical sites. He began his career as a Project Manager at Hydrochem, supporting turnarounds and planned outages in petroleum refineries. Frank has received a B.A. degree, with concentrations in Accounting and Business Management, from Kent State University and an M.B.A. degree from Villanova University. He is an active board member of the Northeast Chemical Association.

8 January 2019


Head Global Active Ingredient Procurement

3 Questions For Notker Bien

What are some of the factors influencing the supply and demand of different market to rapidly change? How to align your demand planning to such changes?

Investment into capacity over the past two decades has focused on emerging markets, predominantly China and India. The demand side has been volatile and increasingly global. Demand dynamics are influenced by macro drivers (GDP, feedstock prices etc.) and multiple factors at product level (new product introductions, technology shifts, end user market dynamics etc.). Demand planning needs to take into account all drivers at a short/medium and long term level. Scenario planning and service level differentiation can be some of the helpful tools.

What are some of the best case practices to predict changes in different markets?

Market and business intelligence (short/medium and long term) are key to any organisation to take informed decisions. Scenario planning and war gaming can be a helpful practice wherever faced with significant uncertainty.

Based on the recent changes in the Chinese supply market, what should the chemical industry in Europe do to lower the negative influences to the changes, and how can the industry capitalize in the changes?

There are only few market segments in the global chemical industry that are not directly or indirectly linked to the Chinese chemical industry. One critical success factor is to fully understand each relevant value chain, including upstream raw materials, supply/demand dynamics and the specific risk profile. This in combination with close monitoring of existing and emerging policies/legislation, as well as their enforcement enables companies develop effective risk management strategies.

Notker Bien is the Global Head Active Ingredient Procurement at Syngenta. All the chemical raw materials, intermediates and active ingredients for Syngenta`s Crop Protection business globally are in scope. Prior to his current assignment, Notker held a number of other roles in Syngenta (Supply Chain Management, Global Marketing, Asia Sourcing, Global Procurement). He holds a PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry.
Syngenta is a leading agricultural company with 28,000 people in over 90 countries.

22 November 2018


Head of Procurement UK, ME and India
Air Products

3 Questions For Avnish Patel

What are some of the good case practices regarding the value creation strategy management? How to ensure that the value creation strategy is sustainable in long term?

Procurement can create value by developing a closer relationship with the business stakeholders. Ultimately, procurement is responsible for driving cost from the bottom line, working in partnership and driving innovative solutions through supplier relationship management ensuring that value created by procurement is sustained.

What are the top priorities that need to happen within procurement function to improve its positioning within the company?

  • Acknowledgment and acceptance from the top management that procurement can be a strategic function
  • Develop people and softer skills
  • Focus on bottom line but also on internal customer service and supply risks management
  • Become an advisor to the business, drive projects that create value as well as affect the top line.
  • Not being forgotten!

When it comes to the future of procurement, the influence of technological advances is still increasing. How will the industry’s technologies look like by 2025? How will they effect operations in sourcing and procurement?

  • Artificial intelligence will drive more automation and take out all transactional work from procurement
  • I am expecting to see a lot more IT solutions that will provide some very accurate reports on trends that will allow procurement to become smarter in predicting price increases, all type of supplier risks and ultimately help procurement become proactive, which is one of the biggest challenges faced by the function

Avnish heads the procurement for Air Products operations in the UK, Ireland, Middle East, and India. In this role, Avnish has successfully transformed the procurement to a more strategic function and implemented a category structure. In his previous role, Avnish was the procurement strategy lead for a large multimillion project responsible for all capex and site construction spend.
Avnish has held several other procurement positions one of which was to lead the development of a sourcing base in low cost countries such as India, in turn supporting Air Products’ growth strategy. He also developed and led a number of regional/global procurement strategies for heavy engineering equipment. Avnish has an MBA from Cass Business School, FCIPS and holds a bachelor’s Degree in production engineering.

21 November 2018


Procurement Director EMEA
Air Products

3 Questions For Paul Wallace

What are some of the good case practices regarding the value creation strategy management? How to ensure that the value creation strategy is sustainable in long term?

We like to work with the Business as part of the team that helps develop the strategy, identifying the opportunity, discovering the choices available, and then implementing the change. We will then measure the success and sustainability of the actions taking appropriate timely actions as required.

What are the top priorities that need to happen within procurement function to improve its positioning within the company?

We will continue our efforts to demonstrate value added through the function, establishing ourselves at the beginning of an opportunity to be a part of the teams that are innovating ideas and delivering a competitive advantage. We will continue to promote that collaboration wins the day, and we will ensure that internal branding supports this. We want to be seen as the function that people want to engage.

When it comes to the future of procurement, the influence of technological advances is still increasing. How will the industry’s technologies look like by 2025? How will they effect operations in sourcing and procurement?

The question that we will face is how much face to face contact will occur within the next few years, and will we see more people migrating away from negotiating live and instead moving to supporting the advanced tool solutions which ensure that Data Transparency is complete and that are able to satisfy new governance needs. The whole procurement cycle will become more agile, and the cycle time will need to be greatly reduced. Exciting times.

Paul started at Air Products in various Financial Analysis/Manager roles across different divisions of the company and ended up becoming a Regional Business Controller. He then worked in various Regional Supply chain roles before heading up the Supply Chain team in one of the company’s divisions. Later on he added to his Supply chain role the role of a Business Director being accountable for the results of one of the larger divisions of Air Products. After he moved into the Procurement function and was given the task to transform the function and make it more business aligned.



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