Last week, the blog spent 2 days at Wilton in the UK, one of the world’s largest and most integrated chemical manufacturing sites. It also contains some of the world’s major companies, including SABIC, Dow, INEOS, Huntsman and Lucite. The mood was downbeat, as one would expect with operating rates at historically low levels.
Critically, however, people were looking forward. Nobody expected that today’s problems would soon be over. In fact, many thought a real improvement was some way off. But this was not plunging them into despair. Instead, they were focused on reducing costs, and managing their business for survival.
This may not be as much fun as planning for growth. But it is definitely as important. And from the blog’s observation during its visit, it is also very motivating. Nobody was talking about giving up, in the face of the most adverse circumstances seen for at least 25 years. Instead, they were working on the basis that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The power of the teams now being created at Wilton could be immense.