During our market research for the Chemicals Sales and Marketing Toolbox, we wanted industry leaders to share their insights with us in order to deeply understand the challenges they are facing in their day-to-day activities.
The last interview within our Digitalization Trilogy of Interviews was with Wojciech Poludniewski*, Group Director, Digital Business at Hempel A/S. He is one of the most knowledgeable people when it comes to transforming a traditional business -in an even more traditional industry- into an innovative, change-embracing enterprise that will be at the forefront of technological innovations.
“The beginning of any change is never easy and many managers figuratively run against walls when trying to convince conservative businesses to make their first steps towards a more innovative business environment. The most important part of any change is to bring as many people as possible on board.”
Being an innovator himself, Wojciech’s number one advice is to make sure that the top management supports your ideas and that they gradually lead their teams towards a positive mindset about the prospected changes.
Additionally, he mentioned that it is essential to not miss the opportunity to become an industry leader due to internal misalignments. “The competition will eventually pick up new trends in technology and quickly get ahead by providing more efficient services and higher quality products.”
There are a few simple steps that could facilitate the process:
- Seek Feedback and Employee Engagement
- Recognize all reactions to change
- Lead Employees by example
- Maintain a Sense of Community
- Train Employees Appropriately
Wojciech has been working with sales and marketing departments and his observation during close cooperation with both, concludes that there are two big challenges:
1. Organizational perspective
“The first one includes changing the management within the company. Chemicals is a very traditional B2B business and needs to adapt quickly to the fast-changing environment of the world in order to stay ahead of competitors” Wojciech says.
2. Technological perspective
It is getting increasingly harder to find skilled resources in the labor market. The chemical industry is not one of the first choices for software developers or AI specialists which means that is relatively difficult to attract talents.
When we asked Wojciech what are his thoughts regarding Artificial Intelligence in the Chemical Industry and whether there are certain regulations that create barriers, he said:
“The coating industry specifically is not as regulated as some other sections of the chemical industry, however, technology is going to be a challenge because it increases every day and so does the expectation of our customers. Technology increases the pressure on the performance of any company. On the other hand, it brings so many opportunities to improve not only the product itself but also the service around it and create a better value proposition through advanced customer-centric digital services.”
*Wojciech Poludniewski was a presenter at the 2018 Chemicals Sales & Marketing Toolbox.