SABIC/bp sign agreement to drive a circular economy
Latest collaborations between bp and SABIC will see the two organisations work to increase the production of certified circular products. The process takes used mixed plastics to be used as feedstock to reduce the amount of fossil fuels needed at SABIC’s petrochemical production site in Gelsenkirchen (Germany).
“SABIC is committed to helping to create a new circular economy where plastic never becomes waste. Advanced recycling allows us to increase the production of more sustainable materials and use our planet’s resources wisely, whilst reducing the use of conventional approaches such as landfill and combustion. Advanced recycling has a crucial role to play in the current recycling mix as it can capture value from plastic waste streams that have traditionally been ignored or discarded. We continue to increase our collaborations with upstream suppliers and downstream customers, and this new initiative with our long-term partner bp takes us one step further to achieving our vision,” commented Fahad Al Swailem, Vice President, PE & Sales at SABIC.
Certified circular polymers
The use of certified circular polymers are a key part of SABIC’s Trucircle portfolio. The Saudi Arabian multinational chemical manufacturing company, produces certified circular polymers by using advanced recycling to convert low quality mixed and used plastic into pyrolysis oil.
As part of the partnership the oil will be processed by bp’s Gelsenkirchen refining site and used by SABIC in its Gelsenkirchen polymer plants to produce certified circular products.
Both bp’s certified base chemicals and SABIC’s certified circular polymers have been recognised by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification plus (ISCC+) scheme which certifies content and standards across the value chain.
“This is an important milestone in our vision of achieving up to 30 percent of our ethylene and propylene production from sustainable, recyclable raw materials by 2030. It is a fantastic achievement on the part of the Gelsenkirchen team, after more than a year’s preparation, to set up the new initiative with our partners at SABIC. At the same time, it is what bp’s recently announced Net Zero strategy is all about,” added Wolfgang Stückle, Vice President Refining and Specialities Solutions Europe & Africa at bp.
Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.