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Although commodity and specialty chemical producers face different issues, they share a common imperative: responding to both growing cost pressures and customer expectations. BCG helps companies find innovative ways to meet these challenges.

Economic conditions, shifting value chains and customer requirements, stiffer regulations, and concerns about the environment affect all corners of the $4 trillion global chemical industry—but not in the same way.

Chemical manufacturing and chemical distribution companies are faring better in certain regions and subsectors than in others. European and Chinese suppliers of specialty chemicals are outperforming commodity chemical industry purveyors. And low oil prices have made North America–based chemical production companies less competitive.

Regardless of specialty or circumstance, chemical companies are united by a need to innovate in order to improve the blends that go into final products, get products to market faster, and better meet customers’ requirements. To win, they must focus on strategy, commercial and service excellence, cost transformation, and top-tier data capabilities.

BCG Solutions in Chemicals

BCG’s chemical consulting practice covers the breadth of the global chemical industry, whether it’s working with upstream producers of petrochemicals to optimize their assets’ deployment or helping downstream players with a personalization of their nutrition ingredients. We also help chemical companies deal with commoditization and develop unique offerings with defendable margins.

BCG’s comprehensive approach combines deep knowledge of dozens of chemical industry subsectors and end-user industries with global coverage of key business topics such as operations, engineering, marketing, business development, and change management. The breadth of our experience and work gives us the perspective and ability to advise multinationals looking for effective chemical strategies in multiple subsectors, including in petrochemicals and commodity chemicals, along with niche players in specialty chemicals, differentiated chemicals, chemical distribution, and chemical equipment manufacturing.

BCG’s chemical consulting encompasses:

  • Portfolio strategy and growth work with a focus on corporate, business unit, region, or function
  • End-customer industry understanding and expertise
  • Commercial excellence, including pricing and key account management
  • Operations, including supply-chain management and procurement
  • Cost transformation and full-potential planning
  • Digital, which, for commodity chemicals, focuses on operations and process improvements; for specialty chemicals, on digitally enabled sales and development activities; and for clients of all types, on digital transformation and digital business models
  • Sustainability strategy to address carbon footprints and circular business models

BCG’s chemical consulting team integrates industry expertise with proprietary tools to analyze and forecast upstream and downstream supply, demand, production, trade, and profitability. Our experts employ data analytics to assess an individual company’s performance and draw conclusions to help them make informed decisions when it comes to operations and mergers and acquisitions. We also use our Digital Accelerator Index diagnostic tool to benchmark a company’s digital maturity readiness and competitive advantage.

Because some chemical industry subsectors⁠—like agricultural chemicals and petrochemicals⁠—spill over into other areas, BCG’s consultants work closely with BCG experts in agribusiness and oil and gas. Our chemical consulting team also regularly collaborates with our experts in consumer industries like consumer products, health care, and automotive.

Our Client Work in Chemicals

BCG has proven experience helping chemical companies in five key areas:

Meet BCG’s Chemical Consultants

Our Latest Thinking on Chemicals

The Digital Frontier in Chemical Distribution Networks Hero Rectangle

The Digital Frontier in Chemical Distribution Networks

Companies that rethink and reform their outbound distribution networks gain new sources of revenues, greater sustainability, a more resilient supply chain, and significant competitive advantages over slower-moving rivals.

Andreas Gocke on Innovation in Chemicals

BCG managing director and senior partner Andreas Gocke discusses the challenges today’s chemical companies are facing and explores how they can innovate to overcome them.

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