02/14/2022 by Christine Griffith
The chemical industry serves as support for many other industries, like agriculture, automotive, construction, and pharmaceuticals. According to an American Chemistry Council report, 96 percent of all manufactured goods trace back to chemical manufacturers. Chemical manufacturers often process raw materials into refined products used in other industries or within the chemical industry. However, raw materials costs have been rising recently, along with additional operating costs in the chemical industry.
As chemical manufacturers face increased expenses, many find it more challenging to remain profitable. How can chemical manufacturers better manage their operating costs? In this blog, we’ll take a walk through what chemical manufacturers are currently facing and how they can better manage their operating expenses.
Raw materials costs have been rising in recent years. Part of the cause for increased prices is because they’ve gotten scarcer as the demand has risen for them. For example, raw agricultural materials have increased 117 percent since 2000, rubber has seen an increase of 359 percent, and steel is up 167 percent.
Crude oil, which many chemical companies use for energy and other materials, is up 250 percent since 2000. Crude oil prices are the most important ones to watch because it affects so many different markets. For example, many basic ingredients originate in the oil and gas fields and then travel through a global supply chain to make materials like plastics, packaging, fertilizers, lubricants, paints, and much more. Additionally, higher energy costs mean higher operating costs for the chemical industry.
The strength of long, global supply chains continue to be tested. From the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to battling intense weather and labor shortages, prices for logistics operating costs in the chemical industry have skyrocketed. Chemical supply chains have had their weaknesses exposed, from their dependence upon the volatile oil and gas sector to their global shipping networks. It’s caused additional cost as many of the materials needed to operate are out of stock due to shipping congestion and backlogs. According to a survey done by the National Association of Chemical Distributors, 85 percent of chemical industry distributors reported at least one imported item out of stock.
Interestingly enough, skyrocketing logistics costs are beginning to outweigh other operating expenses for chemical manufacturers. Finding better management and control in your logistics may be the thing to keep your chemical company cost competitive. As a result, a growing trend among chemical manufacturers is turning to outside help for their logistics. Many chemical companies find that using a third-party logistics company (3PL) makes a lot of sense. It helps them free up resources to focus on other aspects of their business. Here are some ways working with a 3PL can help you manage your operating costs.
We all know the stress and workload of finding a carrier to move your freight, especially for chemical manufacturers who need carriers that know how to handle their products safely. Capacity can be limited when looking for a hazmat certified, or tanker endorsed carrier for a decent shipping rate. Outsourcing your transportation is one solution to that problem.
3PLs will take over the responsibilities of finding and vetting qualified carriers. A 3PL should make sure carriers have the proper credentials, insurance, and experience for your freight. Take control of your time and let someone else take on the workload so you can gain time for the rest of your business.
Working with a 3PL also offers you access to their technology services, like shipment tracking, automated workflows, and detailed reporting. By replacing your manual processes with logistics technology, you’ll find more visibility into your supply chain. And that visibility can help you find efficiencies to help you manage your operating costs. While the technology itself can be an extra cost alone, most 3PLs offer you technology applications along with freight arrangements. Additionally, you’ll have experts you can rely on to help you navigate those applications.
All chemical companies are focusing on streamlining their operations, whether they choose to outsource their logistics or not. Many companies are turning to transportation management systems (TMS) to optimize their transportation networks.
A TMS can help your business gain visibility into your supply chain, create new efficiencies, and automate your manual workload, so you can better manage operating costs.
When using a 3PL, you often have options to choose how you want to integrate your TMS. Trinity Logistics offers you customer integration and a specialist to work with you every step of the way. No matter what option you choose, you gain the visibility and automation you’re looking.
In business and life, there are certain aspects that you can manage and control. As a chemical manufacturer, you must manage those costs that you can control and plan for those variances in costs for those you cannot. Logistics is one operating cost you can manage when you choose to partner with a 3PL.
And you don’t have to look too far to find one. Trinity Logistics is well-versed in the chemical industry and understands your complicated market. Our Team of experts is here to help you find the quality carrier you need while offering technology to help you create efficiencies. We can help you gain control over your logistics costs, so you can make room for those other unknowns.
If you’re ready to get a handle on your operating costs in the chemical industry, let’s get connected.
Author: Christine Morris
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