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e-Business in the chemical, rubber and plastics industry5.9 Zachem S.A. (Poland)AbstractZachem S.A. is a large company supplying organic and inorganic chemical products tothe chemical and power industry. The case study illustrates how a large state-ownedcompany was confronted with changing market conditions. The main challenge in thenew environment was to abandon a complex and inflexible organisational structure andcreate an efficient information management system. The effort made to adapt to thisnew reality was the creation of a telecommunication infrastructure connecting allbusiness units and an implementation of a business management system. Thesecreated a new information culture and led to the digitalisation of all businessdocuments.Case study fact sheetFull name of the company:Location (HQ / main branches):Main business activity:Year of foundation: 1948Zachem SABydgoszcz, PolandNumber of employees: about 1,400Turnover in last financial year:Primary customers:Manufacturing organic and inorganic chemicalproducts and intermediate productsabout €25 millionCompanies in the chemical and power industriesMost significant geographic market: Poland (65%), worldwide exports (35%)Main e-business applications studied:Case contact person(s):Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)Mr Robert Kalinowski, Director of the ITDepartment at Zachem5.9.1 Background and objectivesEstablished more than 50 years ago, Zachem S.A. is one of the most important chemicalenterprises in Poland and one of the biggest companies of the north-western part of thecountry. The company specialises in manufacturing organic and inorganic chemicalproducts and intermediate products for the chemical, cable and power industries. Its mainproducts include flexible polyurethane foams and toluene diisocyanate (TDI),polyurethane epichlorohydrin (EPI) and allyl chloride (AC). Furthermore, it is also anestablished producer of a wide range of PVC-compounds and a number of inorganicproducts, such as hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, and sodium hypochlorite.Founded as a state company, the firm was of strategic importance for chemicalsproduction in the complex state-controlled industry system. As a result, it evolved into alarge centrally-managed conglomerate producing various types of products in largebatches. However, due to the political and economic transformation starting in 1989Zachem S.A. was confronted with new challenges and had to adapt to new marketconditions. It became clear that the firm was not able to maintain its large size andextensive scope of operations. The company needed to become more efficient andflexible in order to survive in the new competitive environment.181

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