Market trends show heightened competition and opportunities for growth

Due to overcapacity, increasing commoditization in petrochemical and chemical markets, and current macroeconomic trends, pricing pressure in the chemicals sector is high, especially in Asia. As a result, businesses that focus on specialty chemicals are diverging further from commodity chemicals providers. In order to capture the most benefit from the attractiveness of the specialty chemicals business, Clariant must pay as much attention to cost and supply chain competitiveness as it does to profitable growth. In addition, as sustainability is becoming an increasingly important buying criteria, it is integral to Clariant’s business strategy. The Portfolio Value Program (PVP) screens the product portfolio for sustainability performance on 36 criteria considering the entire full lifecycle. Clariant awards products that show an excellent sustainability profile based on the PVP criteria with its EcoTain® label.

Digitization will also continue to impact the commercial process for the foreseeable future. For example, multi-channel sales possibilities, advanced sales analytics, and new service models all provide opportunities to increase revenues. In November 2016, Clariant established the corporate initiative Digital4Clariant to explore these new avenues of growth. In a first step, a cross-functional team with people from all Business Units has been formed that now develops a digital roadmap and sets up a project pipeline.

Portfolio Value Program (PVP) >80% of the product portfolio analyzed for sustainability performance

Understanding true needs through continuous dialog

In recent years, Clariant has transformed itself from a mainly product-driven towards a customer-centric company. To deepen customer centricity Clariant launched the Clariant Commercial Excellence initiative in 2011. The initiative focuses on people, skills, and culture while supporting the Business Units in developing actionable commercial growth plans. The initiative also emphasizes continuous improvement of commercial strategies, customer engagement, and sales operations through ongoing dialog with existing customers, new prospects, and additional partners along the value chain. In this regard, Clariant conducted approximately 500 face-to-face interviews with customers in 2016.

An in-depth understanding of true customer needs is a prerequisite for developing compelling value propositions. By appreciating the customer’s »job to be done«, Clariant can offer solutions that improve processes, save time, and optimize overall costs. For example, flame retardant customers asked for features such as low viscosity and consistent quality. Clariant not only met these direct requests, but was also able to capture the actual need beneath the surface: a desire for synchronized supply chains and reduced application costs. Constant and consistent customer dialog was key to this success.

EcoTain® >140 products awarded with the EcoTain® label for their excellent sustainability profile at the end of 2016.

Leveraging customer satisfaction for continuous improvement

As part of the Commercial Excellence Initiative, Clariant runs biannual customer satisfaction surveys. The surveys show that Clariant’s reputation as an »innovative solution provider« has increased steadily over the last few years. In 2016, Clariant received feedback from 2 693 customer contacts (compared to 1 430 in the previous survey) showing strong innovation performance improvements regarding both satisfaction and competitive performance. Of all survey participants, 65% consider Clariant an innovative solution provider, 91% intend to continue business with Clariant (prior survey: 79%), and 81% plan to intensify the business relationship. The net promoter score increased from 29% to 37% in 2016. All of these indicators represent performance above industry benchmark.

The feedback received through the surveys provides valuable »outside-in« information that is used to increase operational, commercial, and innovation performance. For example, based on survey feedback, the Executive Committee incorporated on-time, in-full (OTIF) customer delivery targets into Clariant’s performance review meetings for all relevant staff, including Business Unit heads.

»Once we made the customer need the start of our action rather than the output of our process, we could create real value and true customer loyalty.«

Stephan Lynen Head of Business Unit Additives

Developing compelling value propositions

Once customers’ needs are well understood, insights are either fed back into the Idea to Market phase if Clariant does not have a suitable current offering, or are forwarded to Marketing Excellence professionals who articulate to existing and potential customers the value created with existing offerings. In this regard the Clariant value calculator is a helpful tool to demonstrate and visualize the monetary benefits of using Clariant solutions compared to the next best alternative. Evaluating sustainability aspects and the resulting benefits for customers is also an essential part of Clariant’s value-based pricing approach. Since 2012, approximately 2 000 customer-facing employees were trained in value-based pricing. By carving out the savings or revenue upside in terms of total costs of ownership at a mutually beneficial price point, Clariant can transform value created for customers into profitable growth.

In 2016, Clariant conducted 22 Marketing Excellence projects across all Business Units. All projects targeted capability enhancements that could drive execution throughout the commercial organization in order to deliver on the Business Unit strategies. In the Business Unit Masterbatches in Belgium and the Netherlands, for example, identifying growth pockets and building an action plan in attractive market segments of the food and beverage packaging industry resulted in a sales growth of 31% compared to the previous year. Overall, growth benefits from Marketing Excellence initiatives in terms of additional margin accounted for more than CHF 10 million in 2016. In 2017, Clariant plans to conduct more than 30 dedicated Marketing Excellence projects across all Business Units to further develop organizational capabilities and enhance drivers for growth.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) 37% in 2016, compared to 29% in 2015. The NPS gauges the loyalty of a company’s customers n a scale from –100 (no loyalty) to +100 (high loyalty). An NPS of >50% is felt to be excellent.
Harald Dialer, Head of Clariant Excellence (portrait)

»Stringently and sustainably cultivating commercial skills is indispensable for customer centricity and further building our commercial DNA. Close collaboration across business functions is crucial for this.«

Harald Dialer Head of Clariant Excellence

Steps of the steering process

Find – Identifying & Focusing (graphic)
Find – Identifying & Focusing Value Chain Analysis, Customer Interviews, and Market Modeling are employed to gain clear market insights. The market attractiveness is then assessed in order to identify the growth pockets needed to successfully place offerings on the market.
WIN – Value Proposition & Strategy (graphic)
WIN – Value Proposition & Strategy Identified customer needs, characteristics of products and services, and competitors’ offerings are all considered in order to develop a value proposition. Growth plans then create a shared context and the accountability to deliver profitable growth.
Keep/Grow – Relationship & Selling (graphic)
Keep/Grow – Relationship & Selling Sales professionals capture the value delivered to customers into profitable growth for Clariant. Continued focus on customer needs creates additional value throughout the sales process. Clariant engages in each sale based on value and optimizes pricing constantly.


Business model

In the Market to Customer phase customer needs are transformed into additional sales potential.

business model


>500 Client Interviews
2 693 Customer survey participants


>10 Additional margin in CHF m from Marketing Excellence Initiatives
91% Customers want to continue doing business
81% Customers plan to intensify the business relationship
  • Financial capital
  • Intellectual capital
  • Human capital
  • Relationship capital
  • Manufactured capital
  • Natural capital

Value Creation in Practice Calculating value for the customer

Conventional catalyst Since their first commercial production in the early 1910s conventional ammonia synthesis catalysts are made of magnetite (Fe3O4).
AMOMAX® 10 Using Wustite, a mineral form of iron oxide, AmoMax® shows significantly increased surface area compared to traditional solutions and incorporates proprietary promoters in inter-gran-ulate spaces and within the crystals. This brings significant change to the field of ammonia synthesis.

Value calculation case Energy and cost savings through AmoMax®

Clariant solutions are designed to create additional value – for the customers and for Clariant. Take the example of AmoMax® 10, a highly efficient catalyst to produce fertilizers with less energy compared to conventional solutions.

Reducing energy consumption is not only good for the environment, it also saves costs. Clariant is able to quantify this and other benefits to the customers, supporting mutually beneficial agreements at a price point that allows both the customer and Clariant to capture significant value from the collaboration.

With catalysts, reactions occur faster and require less activation energy than without them. Catalyst improvements are paramount for the energy intensive ammonia industry. Clariant offers the superior catalyst AmoMax® 10 for ammonia synthesis:

  • AmoMax® 10 is based on the iron oxide wustite in combination with the special set of promoters that increase the catalytic activity.
  • AmoMax® 10 shows a significantly higher activity compared to the standard magnetite catalysts.
  • AmoMax® 10 has been installed in more than 100 reference ammonia plants globally.
Watch the AmoMax® movie
More than 100 references since market introduction in 2003 Proven AmoMax® 10
Map – References since market introduction (map)

Quantifying benefits Clariant Value Calculator

The Clariant Value Calculator is an analytical tool based on Clariant Commercial Excellence methodologies. Tailored to the specific circumstances of the intended application, the calculator quantifies the monetary benefits the customer experiences when using Clariant solutions such as AmoMax® 10.

Benefit calculations and value creation for a typical ammonia plant (1 600 metric tons per day)

  • Typical energy savings with AmoMax® 10 of approx. 20 000 kcal/ton
  • Financial savings from lower energy consumption:
    • Approx. USD 170 000 annual savings (based on energy prices of ca. USD 0.015 per thousand kcal, and 350 days of production per year)
    • Approx. USD 1.29 million net present value of savings over the lifetime of the catalyst (estimated as cumulated savings over 15 years, with discount factor of 10%)
  • Additional financial savings are a result of quicker catalyst reduction times and faster restart times after shut-downs

The overall total value creation adds up to approx. USD 2.49 million over the life time of the catalyst.

Benefit Calculations and Value Creation for a typical ammonia plant (1 600 mTPd) in TUSD
Benefit calculations and value creation for a typical ammonia plant (bar-chart)Benefit calculations and value creation for a typical ammonia plant (bar-chart)
Mutual benefits for the customer and Clariant The total value creation over the catalyst lifetime exceeds the purchase price for AmoMax® 10.