Speakers at the 13th Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) Supply Chain Conference held last month (May 17-19) in Dubai agreed that the supply chain of the future needs to be more sustainable and resilient to prepare for and mitigate future disruptions.
The Covid-19 pandemic, threat of climate change and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have sent shockwaves across global supply chains and threatened to transform existing logistics models, compelling business leaders to take heed and adopt new ways of thinking.
"The crisis brought on by the pandemic forced companies to shift their focus to innovation and restructuring efforts, to ensure business continuity by building resilience and agility," Saleh Al-Suwaiti, CEO, FAHSS-TUV, and Chairman, GPCA Supply Chain Committee, said in his address.
Today supply chain decarbonisation is at the forefront of conversations, as governments and businesses alike pledge their support to carbon neutrality, he added.
Dr Abdulwahab Al Sadoun, Secretary General GPCA, said chemical supply chains are operating in an increasingly complex landscape disrupted by global forces beyond the chemical industry’s control.
"From geopolitical tensions to the impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, rising global trade protectionism and nearshoring by numerous countries across the world, supply chain leaders are facing a challenging task. As a result, staying proactive and agile will be some of the key factors that will help insulate companies from future risks," he said.
"On the other hand, key imperatives such as customer proximity, adopting supply chain digitalisation, acting on sustainability and truly understanding the impact from the environment, social and governance (ESG) agenda means that companies cannot wait any longer for these trends to arrive," he added.
Al Sadoun said to stay competitive, chemical industry leaders must capitalise on the opportunities ahead to grow their agility, collaborate with their customers and partners, and drive down their impact on the environment with the right investment and technology.
"Lastly, they must focus on developing their talent and equipping them with the skills they need to solve challenges they are yet to face."