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US election, coronavirus, climate change: How the German chemical industry is handling the New Now

Results of the 35th CHEMonitor trend study are out

Basel, Mannheim – Managers in the German chemical industry see growing uncertainty about the future as a major challenge for their field. Nevertheless, they remain confident about the economic development and future competitiveness of the German chemical industry. Agile structures, competent employees and sustainable products are regarded as key success factors in enduring uncertain times. These were the results of the 35th CHEMonitor trend barometer, a survey of top managers in the German chemical industry that took place from mid-August to mid-October 2020.

In times when insecurity and uncertainty are the norm, reliable planning capability becomes an impossibility. In terms of growing uncertainty about the future and a lack of planning capability, the managers who took part in the survey see the market environment as the source of the biggest challenges for their own companies (88% of responses). 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

The majority of managers expect reduced planning capability to continue beyond the coronavirus crisis. 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. “The German chemical industry is handling the new, volatile now with confidence. Companies are convinced that the upcoming challenges in the economic and political environment will make them more competitive. That might succeed if the industry focuses on new, sustainable products and processes,” says Dr. Josef Packowski, Managing Partner at CAMELOT Management Consultants, commenting on the results of the current CHEMonitor trend barometer.

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. Dr. Jörg Schmid, CHEMonitor Study Director at CAMELOT, summed up the survey results as follows: “What will remain after the pandemic is a high degree of uncertainty about the future. 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.”

A detailed summary of the current CHEMonitor results can be downloaded for free at www.camelot-mc.com.

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