Chemical Manufacturing: Scarcity of Raw Materials

Published February 26 2019 by Emir Dobraca
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“Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.” Winston Churchill

Although he wasn’t talking about manufacturing, his words still apply. Raw materials scarcity is a real issue threatening the chemical industry. The world’s resources are being drained, geopolitical challenges disrupt supply chains, and natural disasters can upend reliable sources of materials overnight.

Reduce waste, and use what you have to the best of your ability.

At the end of 2018, raw materials like titanium dioxide and various pigments became scarce, causing the price to rise. Examples such as this further solidify why it is imperative that manufacturers understand the importance of waste minimization and efficiently managing inventory. Using resources and raw materials wisely is essential to the success of a chemical manufacturing plant now and in the future – but how?

Companies need technology to keep track of suppliers--to plan ahead and buy when the price is low or well in advance of need. In addition to these strategic tactics, participating in the process of waste minimization of raw material use helps plan ahead when it comes to scarcity. In the old way of doing things, chemical production manufacturers used conventional methods like the’ “use-and-throw away” model - basically throwing away what they didn’t use. Methods like these are no longer viable, and more and more businesses are moving towards re-using and recycling.

Again you’re probably thinking, BUT HOW?

Chemical manufacturers are now embracing technology to more closely track and use all inventory. Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re a chemical manufacturer who has made a large batch of product and poured all of that product into large containers, usually known as drums. Often, the last drum is not completely full and therefore usually is not packaged for sale to customers. When a company has technology that can keep track of these lightweight drums that can’t be sold - right down to the batch number and exactly what’s inside - manufacturers can find and use that leftover product for testing and creating samples. And of course won’t mistake a lightweight drum for a full drum that is ready for packaging.

Technology that paves the way for truly effective sustainable methods:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a technology solution that gives a company the ability to track the weight of drums and ultimately provides full visibility to product inventory. Responsible resource management and waste reduction is crucial in this day and age. Not only is it good for business but it’s good for the planet and the future of the chemical industry… 

Chemical manufacturing is one of the largest segments of the US manufacturing industry, producing tens of thousands of products per year. But how can a chemical company leverage technology to stay competitive? Download this eBook to learn how you can stay ahead.


As an account executive specializing in the chemical industry, Emir helps companies begin their digital transformation. He knows the unique challenges that face the industry, like regulatory requirements, quality controls and traceability, and helps companies harness technology to meet these goals.

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