‘It’s Going to Be a Marathon, Not a Quick Race’
Peter Wilkes, managing director, Biesterfeld Spezialchemie
“As always, innovation, no matter how big or small, creates opportunities for some while carrying burden for others. In this respect, digital transformation in chemical distribution seems to be one of these disruptors that will create a separating line between unlimited success and unavoidable failure, at least if you believe in the sometimes too overoptimistic round of experts.
We at Biesterfeld Spezialchemie also got infected by the hype and certainly believe that digitalization will be key to managing a successful future in chemical distribution. But our approach is more focused on the administrative part of doing business, ultimately adding efficiency to the procurement and sales process and making life easier for our partners.
We see that our true contribution in industries’ value chain is not to digitize traditional paperwork as such. Our primary role — being heavily involved in true specialty chemicals — is closely working with partners on product innovation, market development, optimization of customer formulations, providing superior technical service.
Largely, success is based on technical orientation, long-term relationship, trust and confidentiality when working with suppliers and customers. Those things are hard to replace by digital processes, meaning that transforming the chemical distribution model in the way we deploy it may naturally finds its limitations. Certainly, it’s going to be a marathon, not a quick race.”