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Dow, a company with $58bn in revenues, employs some 53,000 people globally. From a supply-chain perspective, that translates into roughly 6,000 shipments per day to approximately 45,000 customer points.
At the end of last year, the company announced five new market segments: performance materials and chemicals, infrastructure solutions, consumer solutions, agricultural sciences and performance packaging. Walsh says Dow is accustomed to managing production and the supply chain in “a highly integrated fashion,” utilizing multiple modes of transportation. Following the reorganization, a major goal of the chemicals unit has been to gravitate toward “a more agile market and [greater] customer focus,” she says.
The corporate segmentation represents an effort to acknowledge the broad range of products that Dow makes, with each unit looking to craft its own appropriate supply-chain model. Walsh says the company is aiming additionally to segment its business by customer type, “to enable us to deliver more professionally.”
While its customer profile has been consistent over the years, Dow expects to be working with many new accounts, including some smaller companies, in the years ahead. Those customers will have different needs and demands for each market segment, Walsh says.
“Discipline, operational and functional excellence and business acumen are important,” she says. “Extending that out toward our customers and suppliers on the other end is the next phase. It’s what we’re working on diligently right now.”
To make that happen, Walsh says, Dow is adopting a strong focus on collaboration. It’s moving away from a vertical approach to better attend to the needs of its customer base.
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