By definition, specialty chemicals constitute the higher value end of the chemicals business. Specialty chemicals markets are created and lost based on the abilities, or lack thereof, of the producer to create differentiation among the available products. These chemicals are generally characterized by their innovative aspects. Innovation is the driver behind better competitiveness, whether innovation takes the form of developing new or modifying existing products or exploiting existing or developing new process technologies to produce such products.
Specialty chemicals are market driven. Getting to the market early to satisfy demand and solidify a customer base is critical to success.
What does this mean to capital spending? When companies do invest in assets, they must do so more wisely, using the Best Practices for project selection and planning. Project teams need to focus on delivering the best value to meet the business need and enable the capital project to result in increased sales and profits, and hence, a higher return to the shareholder.
IPA uses data from our Process Plants Database, which consists of data from more than 11,000 projects worldwide, to evaluate specialty chemicals projects. Over 1,200 projects in our database come from the specialty chemicals sector, including electronic chemicals, coatings, adhesives, sealants, dyes, and others. The database is global and includes projects from the Americas, Europe, and the Asia Pacific regions. We can benchmark and measure risks of all types of projects, from greenfield to revamp to colocated.
Through research, IPA established that trading cost for schedule performance is not necessary. The practices associated with fast schedule performance are also associated with low capital cost. Companies deliberately pursuing a trade-off strategy are at a disadvantage to those companies using Best Practices. IPA’s Best Practices for cycle time acceleration can help clients improve the overall schedule performance by as much as 40 percent without paying significant cost premiums that are typically associated with speed.
IPA has also developed Best Practices to commercialize new technology that are available for all types of innovation, from an introduction of a completely new process to a new configuration of processes already in operation. These practices can help companies minimize the commercial risk associated with the introduction of new technology.