The company's digital transformation portfolio generates recurring gains estimated at around US$90 million yearly, proceeds regularly reported as part of the program Transform for Value. The company has also launched a hub for startups at an investment of around US$150 million in new business models.
SÃO PAULO, Dec. 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Braskem (B3: BRKM3, BRKM5, and BRKM6; NYSE: BAK; LATIBEX: XBRK), the market leader and pioneer in the production of biopolymers on an industrial scale, has been investing regularly in new technologies and digital innovation for more than five years. The move is crucial to further consolidating the company's leadership position in the chemical industry, leveraging its innovative and competitive edge to generate sustainable impact and results.
Braskem has been increasingly investing in digital technologies to boost competitiveness and productivity, drive growth across existing businesses, and accelerate gains in innovation and sustainability. Since 2018, when the company's digital transformation began, Braskem has been making direct investments in technology. This year, around US$7 million were invested in the digital transformation portfolio. "Braskem plans to grow investments to develop and streamline its strategic, operational areas. Our technology spending spans from preparing the entire infrastructure needed for the safe and reliable functioning of our assets to initiatives that transform the industry," explained Daniel Sales, Vice President of Investments and Digital Technologies at Braskem.
Investments made in recent years enabled the company to advance in applications that make the industry smarter, safer, more independent, and more connected. Currently, digital strategies are transforming Braskem's entire value chain, estimated to generate around US$90 million yearly, making up the recurring gains reported through the program Transform for Value. The company already has more than 25 transformational initiatives. It is developing more than 70 digital products for industry 4.0 and the supply chain, commercial, research, and development areas, among others.
An example is using data science to improve decisions, such as predictive maintenance, quality control, and process optimization. Moreover, the operations planning process was impacted by the deployment of data platforms designed to help decision-making, such as demand forecasts. Investments have also been made in products that improve the customer experience using tools based on design concepts and customer experience best practices.
Improvements in people and process management
Braskem developed SPEAR, its own iterative and collaborative approach to managing the inevitable changes in work processes caused by the new digital tools. The method brings greater flexibility and collaboration to market best practices in change management and has been used to drive the adoption of dozens of digital products at Braskem.
An integral part of this digital transformation process has been promoting agile working methods and acquiring skills associated with developing digital solutions. Over 3,000 team members gained data science, agility, and design thinking knowledge in five years. Braskem has developed most of these solutions in-house, with its teams working in quick feedback cycles, which enables them to learn and adapt to changes efficiently. The development cycle for digital products - from conception to deployment of the new solution - is shorter than a year, which often enables the company to capture the benefits quickly.
"Our team members have been an important part of this digital transformation movement. They are invited to get involved directly in developing digital products that will transform the way they work or to send suggestions for problems to be solved through new technologies and acquire new skills for future work. One example is that our specialists have already developed more than 100 machine learning models in recent years," said Guilherme Baeta, Chief Digital Officer of Braskem.
Investments in innovative businesses
Apart from investments in digital innovation, Braskem is diversifying its investment portfolio by creating new business models and incubating internal startups, developed from ideas generated within the company. The mission of these digital businesses is to anticipate market changes that affect the company and the industry in general. More than half the startups under development are linked to the company's commitments to sustainable development.
An example of betting on innovative new businesses is the launch of Oxygea, a startup hub that will receive approximately US$150 million in investments. The initiative will foster disruptive innovations through different mechanisms for interacting with startups, always focusing on sustainability and digital transformation. The hub is based on two pillars: Venture Builder, a tool for structuring and incubating new businesses, including those conceived inside Braskem, and Corporate Venture Capital (CVC), for investments in more mature startups. Of the total amount, US$50 million will be allocated to the incubation arm and US$100 million to the investment arm.
One of Oxygea's main goals is to create and accelerate the development of new solutions and products that are inexistent in the market. For this, it plans to foster entrepreneurship and innovation while strengthening Braskem's relations with the ecosystem of startups focused on sustainable technologies. The hub will allocate funds to ideas with transformative potential considering their competitive advantages.
The company also has Braskem Labs, its startup acceleration program, which reached its eighth edition this year. Its goal is accelerating businesses that create positive social and environmental impact through chemicals and plastic across diverse industrial and economic sectors. Since its creation in 2015, over 110 startups have been accelerated, and around 30% have struck business deals with Braskem or co-sponsors. Last year, 45% of the solutions accelerated by Braskem Labs focused on the circular economy. Braskem Labs is a partner of Quintessa, an impact accelerator that is present in all phases of the program.
Another notable initiative is the partnership with AgTech Garage, a hub of agrotech located in Piracicaba, one of Brazil's most important agribusiness regions. The company will connect startups with other AgTech Garage partners to foster the development of sustainable and innovative plastic solutions for agribusiness through open innovation.
With a strategy centered on people and sustainability, Braskem is engaged in contributing to the value chain to strengthen the Circular Economy. Braskem's 8,000 team members dedicate themselves every day to improving people's lives through sustainable solutions in chemicals and plastics. With its corporate DNA rooted in innovation, Braskem offers a comprehensive portfolio of plastic resins and chemical products for diverse industries, such as food packaging, construction, manufacturing, automotive, agribusiness, health and hygiene, and more. With 40 industrial units in Brazil, United States, Mexico and Germany, Braskem exports its products to clients in over 71 countries.
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