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2021 State of the Chemical Industry

The past 12 months have been unlike any other. The changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and other major events, such as the Suez Canal blockage and lengthy manufacturer shutdowns caused by winter storms in Texas, had ripple effects around the world and across industries.

Datacor joined forces with the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) to take the pulse of the industry as a new year began, collecting nearly 200 responses from professionals across job functions and companies. We sought to better understand their experiences, challenges and takeaways from 2020, as well as plans and expectations for both their organization and the industry in 2021.

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Key Findings

The chemical and process manufacturing and distribution industries felt the impact of these challenges as they worked hard to provide many vital products to their customers. While chemical companies have many risk-management processes in place, the previous year challenged even the most prepared—bringing a range of impacts and responses.

  • Improving operational efficiency is the top priority of chemical companies in 2021, targeted in technological investments that can help them “do more with less.”
  • Many companies are looking to grow revenue from existing customers in the year ahead, whether by expanding their product line or taking on new suppliers.
  • Most respondents express a mix of optimism and hesitation about how the new U.S. presidential administration will impact the industry, but have hope for the reopening of the economy.

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