Long and Short Term Critical Success Factors

Given the levels of investment in new capacity in recent years, it is apparent that petrochemicals manufacturers need a number of key attributes if they are to achieve long term success


- large, integrated sites with access to advantaged cost feed stocks
- sites with all plant units within close proximity to minimise transport costs
- a unified management structure to minimise overhead
- cost optimisation models to squeeze maximum margin out of every molecule


- coastal or river location with good access and excellent logistics facilities


- reliable technologies
- robust technology with good on-going development support
- low cost (every penny/tonne makes a difference


- for first quartile plants, economies of scale are essential otherwise fixed costs per tonne of product produced are too high


- recognising that major markets are shifting, producers need to be able to quickly move products to those markets offering the best returns

However these long term success factors are relatively static and whilst organisations should look to develop in this direction over time, it is also very important to consider short term success factors.

These short term factors all come down to what I would call ‘smart management’.

This means being able to identify potential issues ahead of time and develop strategies to deal with them.

The strategies will vary from one situation to the next, but I believe that all will require the highest levels of operational capability and by this I mean

• Flexibility - the capability to quickly and effectively respond to market volatility e.g. quick, safe and effective shut down, the ability to move turnarounds at short notice, swift rate changes and swift product changes

• Cost effectiveness – everyone in the organisation understanding that every penny matters AND working together to optimise costs

• Competitiveness – knowing what the competition is doing and being better than them e.g. innovation, workforce flexibility, logistics etc

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