Digitization identified as key for region to retain leadership in global logistics landscape
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, May 4 2017 – Supply chain optimization took center stage at the ninth GPCA Supply Chain Conference, which took place between 2-4 May 2017 at the Rosewood Hotel in Abu Dhabi. During the event, speakers highlighted logistical efficiency as a top industry priority in the GCC as traditional supply chains across the globe are evolving towards a connected, smarter, and increasingly more efficient ecosystem. Held under the theme ‘Agile and Efficient GCC Supply Chains - The Role of Technology’, the conference brought together industry experts who discussed the benefits of supply chain digitization in a complex and changing marketplace.
In addition to logistical efficiency, other challenges such as nascent infrastructure, complicated protocols and mounting geopolitical risks were also drawn attention to at the conference. Within digitization, the role of technology in enabling petrochemical companies in the region become leading global players and distinct opportunities to leverage technology to improve agility and efficiency of a supply chain were also discussed. The GCC is currently the second fastest growing region in terms of petrochemical production globally after China, growing by 9% per annum between 2005-2015. Going forward, expansions are set to continue, driven primarily by Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE, which collectively plan to add about 14 Mtpa of petrochemical capacity by 2025.
To address these factors, companies are working on several programs, including streamlining documentation and attestation. The role of digitization in enabling this shift was highlighted, with technology making supply chain operations more efficient from the point of view of a petrochemical producer as well as that of logistics providers.
The conference was officially opened by Mohammad Husain, President and CEO, EQUATE, with Ziad Labban, CEO, Sadara Chemical Company, delivering the keynote session on building an agile and efficient GCC chemicals supply chain. The session outlined challenges facing new petrochemical companies in the GCC, focusing on the importance of robust supply chains in enabling growth.
Hosnia Hashim, Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Olefins and Aromatics, PIC and Board Chairperson, EQUATE, touched upon the role of organizational structure in driving efficiencies. She also stressed the importance of business team connectivity, citing that supply chains are the sum of several cross-functional collaborations and emphasizing how streamlining the shipping industry can result in a lesser surplus of empty containers at GCC ports.
Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary General, GPCA, commented: “Through close collaboration with industry partners, including logistics service providers, GPCA has been advancing service standards that enable more sustainable and transparent operations. These are furthering national visions of regional governments and reinforcing the GCC’s position as a distinctive logistical gateway. To remain a competitive global player, a collective focus on investment, innovation, policy and human capital will be needed. GPCA will continue to champion its key initiatives such as Responsible Care® and Gulf SQAS to encourage collaboration across the industry and contribute to the creation of a sustainable regional world-class supply chain network.”
A workshop on procurement on the inaugural day discussed procurement transformation and the prerequisites to embark upon a transformation program alongside key success factors for the implementation of e-procurement platforms. The same day, the conference also hosted the third edition of Leaders of Tomorrow, the GPCA’s latest initiative aimed at building local human capital in the region. The seminar was especially designed for GCC students who wish to pursue a career in the supply chain field, and providing them with key insights into how to build a career in the industry. Leaders of Tomorrow is considered the first official collective initiative, where industry stakeholders collaborate in shaping skills and preparing the future industry leaders with the requisite skillsets to succeed.