Forming a sustainable catalyst partnership
What shouldyou considerwhen looking for a partner toprocess catalystmaterials for you? These rules canhelpyoudevelop a successful sustainable andprofitable relationship
MICHAEL ROSS Evonik
T he importance of sustaina- bility initiatives continues to grow and is now widely expected in every aspect of run- ning our businesses. Manufacturing businesses are subject to increasing pressure from legislators, NGOs, customers, and shareholders to use less raw material, less energy and natural resources, and produce less waste. Corporate social responsi- bility insists that all businesses are seen to be more environmentally friendly and to leave the lightest possible footprint on the planet. But this ethos is nothing new to catalyst chemical companies. Adding value Now, more than ever, the right catalyst technology represents a great value generator for a range of industries, including manufac- turing, refining, petrochemical, agrochemical, and pharmaceutical companies. Not only can catalysts lower production costs, they can also reduce the environmental footprint of processes in line with today’s needs. Catalysts will play an even bigger role in the future of the chemical industry because of the demand for more responsible manufacture and lower impact on the environment. So, what are the top factors to consider if you are looking for a partner company to process cata- lyst materials for you? In our expe- rience, following these rules will set you on the right path for a suc- cessful sustainable and profitable relationship: Rule 1: Trust Any successful partnership is based fundamentally on trust. For man- ufacturing companies, this is par-
ticularly important because of the amount of critical information that needs to be shared to make that partnership as profitable as possible. Rule 2: Legal clarity As well as trusting your partner, it is important to be sure that confi - dentiality and IP protection walls will be created and maintained, so that proprietary information remains controlled. All projects should be governed by legal con- tracts, including a confidentiality agreement that protects each par- ty’s intellectual property rights and allows for a free flow of information (see rule 3). A collaboration con- tract defines the scope and goals of the project and the commercial conditions. Rule 3: Transparency Information sharing is an essential basis for any successful partnership. Both partners need to be confident that they can communicate fully and regularly to make sure that everyone involved has the informa- tion they need to achieve a success- ful outcome for both parties. Choose a partner that will keep you updated and informed of devel- opments, and take a pro-active approach to communications. You need to know what is going on. This is particularly important when things go wrong – and, as we all know, things always go wrong at some level, no matter how well intentioned everyone is. That is not to say that you should tell part- ners everything: only information that needs to be shared should be shared – but avoid the temptation to keep information back ‘just in case’ or because you don’t fully trust the other partner (see Rule 1).
Rule 4: Speed Once you have made the deci- sion to scale up and commercialise your product, you need to know how long it will take to bring it to market, and that it will be done as quickly as possible. Look for a part- ner with a track record of delivering on time and at pace. Rule 5: Reliability This is basically another expression of trust. You need to be sure that your catalyst partner can deliver on its promises and meet business expectations. Companies that are larger, broader based and mainly back-integrated with a resilient sup- ply chain are less likely to let you down. You need a partner that can deliver on its promises. Rule 6: Expertise and experience Look for a catalyst partner that has a true heritage in the industry. A company that lives, breaths, and speaks catalysts is a must. You need a company that has a history of cat- alyst know-how which will let it adapt to any challenge that needs to be addressed. Choose a company with a repu- tation for scaling up and produc- ing sophisticated catalysts on a commercial scale. A partner with manufacturing expertise is more likely to be successful if you need to scale up your processes and adapt your recipe to enable commercial production. Catalyst recipes can be very com- plex and often what is done in the laboratory cannot be simply scaled up to plant production. Making modifications and adapting the recipe is crucial in most cases and knowing how to do that while achieving the same performance is
62 Catalysis 2022
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