perspectives 2015: 180 experts visit Infraserv Höchst

Transformation processes in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry: challenges with many different facets

Perspectives has become the don't-miss industry event for German chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing. This year's turnout was impressive. In fact, the 150-seat auditorium proved to be too small to hold everyone who came, so the presentations were televised in neighboring rooms so everyone could watch them.

If you were unable to attend, you can see the keynote speeches, case studies and expert discussions here. The broad range of topics underscores the sheer variety of challenges involved in purposefully transforming chemical and pharmaceutical enterprises. One thing is clear: There is no silver bullet, but there are many options and considerable room for improvement in various areas.

The speakers: Minds, ideas, perspectives

Sanofi, Vice President Human Resources

Living and working at Sanofi

"Sanofi employs over 110,000 people worldwide. Germany is our most important site after the US and France. Our well-filled product pipeline has generated hundreds of new jobs at our Frankfurt-Höchst site, mainly in production. To successfully fill these positions, we rely on social media, referrals from employees, specialist training and more flexible working models. Our 'Living and Working at Sanofi' initiative allows us to accommodate employees' various needs and life circumstances – which makes us an even more attractive employer."

brand eins, Columnist and Co-founder

Age of the idea economy

"The world has changed: Ideas are now more valuable than products. However, we still think mainly in terms of the erstwhile accomplishments of the industrial economy. We have to change how we think. In today's idea economy, the winners are those people who identify benefits in things that bother other people and can explain the benefits to others. Management is the art of responding gracefully to surprises."

BASF, Senior Vice President – Economic Evaluations

Global production provides perspective

"BASF creates chemistry – and has been doing so for 150 years. Our portfolio ranges from chemicals and plastics to performance and agricultural products to oil and gas. BASF concentrates its manufacturing in highly efficient, integrated multi-user sites. Global resource trends and regional differences in energy costs represent a major challenge for BASF. Luckily, we are in a position to respond to and capitalize on these trends thanks to our global production footprint. And that is the source of our global competitive edge."

DECHEMA, Managing Director

Evolution of the resource base

"We used to believe that the resource base for chemical production evolved in a straight line from coal (past) to petroleum and natural gas to renewables (future). Now, however, this sequential development has been replaced by parallelism, at least when we look at the world as a whole. The shale gas boom came almost as a surprise and involves many issues that are often given short shrift when comparing alternatives. To complicate matters, power is being generated from volatile renewable sources that will open up additional options in Germany and worldwide."

DECHEMA, Head of PRAXISforums

Digitization of the value chain

"Industry 4.0 is a big buzzword right now. No wonder: new Industry 4.0 solutions can and will benefit the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. However, several hurdles must be overcome first. Process analysis, which figured prominently at ACHEMA 2015, will play a pivotal role in connected chemical factories. The industry's premier trade show has demonstrated that we are on track to digitize the entire value chain – not just production – in the next several years. To remain global market leaders, however, companies must become less dependent on water in production. That requires innovative, integrated and sustainable water management – or, put simply: Water 4.0."

Pharma Waldhof, Managing Director

Innovation through transformation

"In 1947, Pharma Waldhof became the first company to produce DNA and RNA on a semi-commercial scale. From these beginnings emerged a company that is now a leading provider of nucleotides, nucleosides and their analogs for various industries such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, nutrition, cell culture media and diagnostics. We joined Boehringer Mannheim in 1979, became a subsidiary of Roche in 1997 and were then sold to the Aceto Group in 2004. For the past three years, we have been undergoing a fundamental transformation that will return us to the forefront of innovation in our market segments."

Provadis School of International Management and Technology, Vice President

From megatrends to business success

"The chemical and pharmaceutical industry is facing evolutionary change. Managing this change is a necessary, but difficult challenge for executives. Companies will require flexibility and a profound strategic ability to learn if they want to manage change successfully."

Sports psychologist for the German national soccer team

Good leadership breeds success

"In a constantly changing, evolving (working) world, good leadership enables people to exceed their self-imposed limits, forges groups into teams and thus lays the groundwork for success: surpassing past accomplishments. That holds true in sports and business alike. Psychologically speaking, leadership that achieves medium- and long-term success in both fields is no longer a privilege; it is hard work that demands courage, empathy and good decisions."

Impressions of a successful event

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