Change of government in the USA, Corona, climate change: economic and political uncertainty has become the new normal. A recent study examined how the German chemical industry is dealing with this.

In times when insecurity and uncertainty are the norm in social and economic life, reliable planning capability becomes an impossibility. This also applies to the chemical industry, the third-largest sector in Germany. How does the German chemical industry assess the current situation and how is it reacting to it? The 35th CHEMonitor trend study by CAMELOT and the trade journal CHEManager dealt with these questions in detail. More than 200 top managers in the German chemical industry were surveyed.

German chemical managers see growing uncertainty about the future as a major challenge for their own industry. For their own company, the market environment (88% of mentions) is the greatest challenge in terms of growing future uncertainty and unpredictability. They anticipate political risks primarily in an international context: 94% of the respondents expect polarization among states to increase at the global level.

Positive economic outlook

Nevertheless, the results of the CHEMonitor survey show a high level of confidence among managers with regard to the sustainability of their own companies and the industry: 91% believe that their company’s competitiveness will increase in the world of the new now. Likewise, their economic outlook is optimistic: 28% of those surveyed currently expect stable business development in their own company – 60% even anticipate growth. Companies are convinced that the upcoming challenges in the economic and political environment will make them more competitive. The German chemical industry is therefore moving confidently through the new, volatile now.

Success factors for uncertain times

When asked about the success factors for businesses in an increasingly uncertain and unpredictable environment, the CHEMonitor panel gave a clear answer: 98% of the managers named competent, proactive employees and adaptable corporate structures as key success criteria. In third place, 95% of the respondents named sustainable, value-adding processes and products.

71% of chemical industry managers expect reduced planning capability to continue beyond the coronavirus crisis. The winners will be companies that, on the one hand, implement a clear, sustainable vision and, on the other hand, are able to respond quickly to changes with competent, proactive employees and agile corporate structures. For large corporations in particular, this will pose a challenge.

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