Chemistry & Life Sciences

Expert Statement: Hans Joachim Müller, Group CEO, Azelis

Prospects for the Chemical Distribution Industry

10.05.2022 - CHEManager asked executives and industry experts to share their views on the prospects for the chemical distribution sector.

The chemical distribution business is a diverse industry that provides customized solutions for important sectors such as pharmaceuticals, paints & coatings, agriculture, cosmetics, food & feed, and automotive. At the center of the supply chains of these sectors, distributors are critical partners for global corporations as well as for SMEs. This role has become particularly obvious and relevant during the corona crisis. But distributors also face many challenges in the aftermath of the pandemic and the current political and economic environment.

CHEManager asked executives and industry experts to share their views on the prospects for the chemical distribution sector. We proposed to discuss the following aspects:

  • What, in your opinion, are the most important lessons learned after two years of operating in a pandemic environment?
  • What will be the most important short- and long-term challenges facing the sector?
  • How do chemical distributors support the chemical industry on its path toward carbon neutrality?

Hans-Joachim Müller: The pandemic pressed us all to adopt new ways of working and living that involved changes that were somewhat uncomfortable, but also changes we all found to be great advantages. This is the case of working from home and becoming more digital than ever before. The implementation and adoption of collaboration tools and other technology — all in the cloud – showed us that we are less dependent of our physical offices than we thought. Our local for local approach has proven to be equally successful in a more virtual environment.
It was thanks to our initial decision to put digital first — even before Covid — that enabled Azelis to roll out its customer experience platform globally, currently covering seven strategic market segments in APAC, EMEA, and the Americas, with new countries launching every month. Covid also accelerated the desire of our customers to get digital access to product information, our formulation expertise, and trends driving the market. To address these needs, our customer portals play an increasingly important role. In a nutshell: our digital strategy has allowed us to keep a closer, real-time connection with customers and principals during the pandemic and will remain to do so.

“Our digital strategy has allowed us to keep a closer connection
 with customers and principals during the pandemic.”

At Azelis, we believe every challenge presents opportunities; let’s talk about the latter. Thanks to this digital acceleration, we can now combine both physical and digital, thus creating formidable synergies for our customers: sharing knowledge more effectively, more efficiently, and building valuable customer relationships. The key is finding the perfect combination between digital and physical, intelligent connections between physical assets, the human touch together with digitalization, that will drive innovation through formulation.
Azelis is proud to play a key role in the supply chain, finding ourselves in a privileged position: between our suppliers and our customers. Our sustainability strategy, Action 2025, is crucial to our corporate identity and business model and has the ultimate goal to reduce CO2 emissions (carbon neutrality) within the supply chain and provide sustainable formulations that help customers become more energy-efficient and increase the recyclability of the products we support them bringing to market, thus fostering circular economy.