18 December 2018
in the chemicals sector
If you had to pick the most challenging sector when it comes
to logistics, there’s a high chance you would choose the chemicals industry.
The transportation and delivery of both packaged and bulk chemicals presents
unique, complex and high-risk challenges that must be overcome to ensure
The sector is highly regulated and there are many raw
materials and manufactured products that need to be handled in specific ways.
And of course, products are high-risk because they can be corrosive, volatile,
hazardous and expensive to move.
Logistics are a key aspect of the chemical industry as
production and consumption locations are mostly separated. Efficient,
competitive and sustainable logistics are therefore of great importance for
Delivery is crucial. In order to be successful, delivery
options must be agile, flexible and adjustable and as such, provide
opportunities to respond to market changes quickly and effectively.
The state of play
According to the most recent report by the European Chemical
Industry Council (Cefic), world chemicals turnover was valued at €3,360 billion
in 2016, representing a 0.4% increase on 2015.
With 15.1%, the EU chemical industry is second only to China
in sales, and when including both European Union and non-EU countries in Europe
total sales reached €597bn in 2016, or 17.8% of all sales.
But there are several other pressing concerns and trends to
bear in mind with this continued growth. For example
- Longer supply chains due to geographical
concentration of facilities
- More congestion due to a lack of investment in
- An increasing focus on safety and security,
sustainability and reducing emissions.
The question is, how can transport and delivery contribute
positively to the bottom line rather than add additional costs?
Many reports suggest that the logistics function in a large
chemical manufacturer or distributor is regarded as a potential headache and a
costly endeavour rather than an opportunity to add value and leverage
It could be that an event that has safety or reputational repercussions
will immediately turn businesses’ attention to logistics. It may not have been
regarded as a priority or even been on their radar beforehand. But if this has
been their approach, they are missing a real opportunity.
The truth is that chemical companies can improve their
financial success and return on investment by enhancing their supply chain and
logistics capability. The latest technology, implemented correctly, is the best
way to tackle the complexity, volatility and potential disruptions that today’s
chemical industry will experience.
A new solution
Optimising logistics in the chemicals industry requires an
all-round solution that offers a comprehensive suite of front-end application
software, back-end optimisation software and middleware for efficient task
management and tracking.
TouchStar’s logistics optimisation solution provides a
portfolio of components including navigation, job allocation and driver
The core solution includes:
Vehicle-based Application Software
Developed in conjunction with some of the bulk logistics
industry giants, our front-end software facilitates a live connection between
drivers, transport staff, accounts teams and customers. Sharing live data
regarding vehicle position, on-board stock, delivery volumes and pricing,
enables both better operational decision making and a reduction in
Handling the interchange of information in an efficient and
timely manner, TouchStar’s middleware product provides the link between
front-end vehicle-based applications and Back Office Systems. The cloud-based
middleware environment integrates additional functionality from a number of
sources, enhancing and consolidating all applications in one convenient
Our hardware solutions are device-agnostic enabling you to
select the best device for your individual business processes. The range of
‘form factors’ which we can offer our clients is comprehensive and includes
handheld and tablet devices. More specifically we have the ability to interface
with any current operating system from Windows, Android or iOS. Many of our
devices conform to ATEX specification, making them a natural choice for
operation within hazardous chemical environments.
The system has been developed as a scalable electronic proof
of delivery (EPOD) and logistics optimisation solution for any size of chemical
business. Whether you have several vehicles or thousands, the system will
ensure you optimise your work scheduling, reduce fuel costs and improve
customer service levels without adding extra complexity.
Additional options are also available, including vehicle
systems integration to combine core technologies such as GPS tracking, engine
diagnostic reporting, meter and sensor interfacing, RFID and more to ensure
critical data is captured on vehicle location and operation. TouchStar’s
solution is also able to successfully integrate with leading back-end software
packages such as Navision and SAP.
TouchStar can deliver a fully scalable and futureproof
solution that meets both operational and strategic objectives.
To find out more, contact
the TouchStar team now or call +44 (0) 161 874 5050.